Complete Fire Protection now ‘complete’
BALTIMORE—Complete Fire Protection expanded its focus last summer, transforming from a company that concentrated on fire extinguisher and kitchen hood work to being a full-service fire alarm, life safety company, said company VP Michael Ferro.
“Complete Fire Protection—it is complete,” Ferro told Security Systems News. “We do sprinkler, we do fire alarm, we do design, consulting, we do everything. … But our main focus, we like to say, is service.”
And it’s that service component—such as maintenance, inspections and 24/7 emergency service—that is helping the company thrive in the down economy, said Ferro, who said he led the expansion of the company, which is based here, when he was hired five months ago. “We stress service, good service,” he said. “We do quality service for quality money.”
“Our gross profit margin is around 46 percent,” Ferro told SSN, saying the industry average is 30 to 33 percent. “Our GPM is up, we keep it up and that’s because of the work we do.”
Complete Fire focuses on property management clients who manage high-end multi-unit residential properties or multi-unit commercial properties, he said. “We like big,” said Ferro, an 18-year industry veteran who previously worked for Siemens and other large companies.
He said property management clients manage multiple sites and “I’ve found they take care of their properties.”
“That’s what we focus on because of the quality of the account,” Ferro said of the eight-employee company, which he said was founded by president Dave Lipscomb several years ago. “These are people who care about life safety, who want good work and want to make sure stuff is right and not cut corners.”
Among Complete Fire’s clients are three high-rise towers in Philadelphia, each with 865 condos, and a 200-acre business park with 26 commercial buildings in Maryland, he said. From its Baltimore office, the company services that state, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, some of New Jersey and Washington, D.C., Ferro said.
He said that in this economy, the company doesn’t do a lot of installation work because he contends larger companies are doing it for cost, a price Complete Fire can’t accept. “I’ll do a lot less install work than most people because I’m not going to give the work away,” Ferro said.
He said working for cost means a rush job where quality is compromised, and he said he won’t accept that in life safety.
“I don’t just take any job,” Ferro said. “If you want something done and done right, you call me.”
He said that’s a reason why Complete Fire is a Silent Knight by Honeywell Farenhyt authorized distributor. “They stand behind their product and they put out quality stuff,” he said.
Ferro said that in this economy, fire companies shouldn’t use the “hard sell” and try to get customers to buy new equipment when what they have can be fixed.
“You’ve got to go in there and give these people preferred service,” he said. “You have to say, ‘What are your needs?’ and give them a couple of different options. You can say, ‘I can install it, and it’s going to cost ‘x,’ but I can fix it for this and I can save you a ton of money.’ You have to be creative today.”