Readers talk 2013 revenues

For many readers, 2013 was a marked improvement over recent years—and grounds for optimism in 2014
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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—The security industry may not be recession-proof, but it does appear to be resilient, if the latest SSN News Poll is any indicator. Most readers say business held steady in 2013, and there were more reports of robust growth than of lagging revenues.

“Our company is a network of third party monitoring stations, and our dealer network grew tremendously in 2013,” said Kristin Hebert, dealer relations, Acadian Monitoring, based in Lafayette, La. “We had a record year and are really drawing some attention in the industry as real players in the market.”

Randall Sigler, CEO of Atlanta-based 1Choice Solutions, said his company posted major growth in 2013. “As an installations labor only company, we have seen 300 percent growth both in clients and projects, and have expanded our number of completed installations to 36 states,” he said. “We expect a 600 percent growth for 2014 based on current client commitments.”

According to poll results, 47 percent of readers held steady with respect to top-line revenue in 2013, while 55 percent said bottom-line revenue was similar 2012. 

Craig Wohl, president of C.W. Security Service in Dublin, Pa., said the early part of 2012 was “down significantly,” and that while he expects modest recovery from that, the company will still be down about 25 percent for 2013. He expects new contracts coming in in the second half of 2013 to help drive the company’s recovery. 

Wohl was not the only respondent who was bullish about the prospects of 2014. Nearly half of readers (48 percent) project stronger revenue numbers for 2014, while only eight percent expect their business to take a turn for the worse. 

“2013 saw our top-line revenues down about 3 percent, but our real concern for the year was our gross margin, which was also down 3 percent and is more difficult to turn around,” said Curtis Nikel, president of CONTAVA, an integration company based in Edmonton, Alberta. “Looking at the year, however, the downturn took place in the first six months and work was being done to turn these around. We are seeing improvements, and are predicting 8 percent top-line growth and 3 percent improvement to gross margins.”

Several respondents said certain political realities could have negative consequences for their businesses. “We saw a good deal of projects get ramped up for bidding purposes, but the funding went to other items which were greater priorities,” one reader said. “There’s too much uncertainty in Washington and with how their actions will further impact the economy.”

A few readers were worried about adverse effects from the Affordable Care Act. “The new health care program caused out companies to lay off 25 percent of our people because of added costs,” one reader said. 

The industry may not be at full strength but, judging by the responses, 2013 was more a step forward than back. “2011 and 2012 were the worst years I have ever had,” according to another reader. “By comparison, 2013 was much better, almost as good as the two preceding years together, although not the best year ever. I expect 2014 to get even closer to that mark.”