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How many service techs?

Discussion in 'Security Alarms' started by JW, Sep 26, 2006.

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  1. JW

    JW Guest

    I know that service requests are on-demand, but if you were building a
    department, how accounts do you think one Service Tech could handle?
    Someone told me there was a "rule of thumb" one tech per _____ accounts.
    Never heard of a standard like this and wondered if any of you have? What
    do you think is feasible? The business has been around for decades and
    services lots of older equipment. Thanks for any insights.
     
  2. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    I guess it depends on how well you installed the system and taught the
    clients how to use the system (you know those people with the glazed over
    look standing by the keypad while you're trying to teach them).

    One or two techs can handle 500+ accounts easy.


    |I know that service requests are on-demand, but if you were building a
    | department, how accounts do you think one Service Tech could handle?
    | Someone told me there was a "rule of thumb" one tech per _____ accounts.
    | Never heard of a standard like this and wondered if any of you have? What
    | do you think is feasible? The business has been around for decades and
    | services lots of older equipment. Thanks for any insights.
    |
    |
     


  3. 2 techs. (plus owner on-call for things like thunderstorms) should be able
    to handle 1000-1500 well-installed accts.
     
  4. DA

    DA Guest

    JW wrote:

    It does not work this way. There are just too many variables such as how
    far from the home base the locations are, how bright the techs are and so
    on. You usually grow it by hiring one tech and then after you get into
    situations where you'd want him to go to two places at the same time too
    often you hire the second one.




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  5. Bill

    Bill Guest

    It depends on if you have at least one very bright service tech or not and
    your company's service policies.

    If you have one very knowledgeable service technician who understands
    electronics like inductance (lightning, nearby radio stations to alarm,
    shielding of alarm wiring in some situations, etc.), and human nature (what
    people are doing which can trigger false alarms i.e. customers or customers
    of business accounts), etc. And one who also will go to all ends to
    investigate repeat false alarms and other problems. Then that service
    technician will *fix* repeat problem accounts. So no additional service
    calls are required. Need fewer service technicians with someone like this.

    If however you have a bunch of ding dongs. They will go out and not fix the
    root problem of these systems. So you have repeat service calls again and
    again and again to the same accounts. Need more service technicians.

    And if you have a company policy to fix repeat false alarm accounts no
    matter what the cost, even eat the cost of repair if necessary, and give
    full support and leeway to the bright service technician to fix the
    problem - take as much time and materials as is necessary. Then repeat
    problems will be solved once and for all and you will need fewer technicians
    over time.


    "JW" wrote in message
     
  6. tourman

    tourman Guest

    Yes, I agree. I know that with 1000 plus accounts, mostly all
    residential, 75% installed by us, a staff of two has absolutely no
    problem with same day (or next day or subsequent days with customer
    permission) response for service. And when the second "tech" is not
    servicing, he is installing ( we try to keep it down to two installs a
    week maximum), while the first "tech" (me) does the office work. And we
    both answer calls from clients as they come in to either of our cell
    phones.

    Now if you're doing heavy commercial, or industrial, I would have no
    idea what ratio would be applicable. However, my guess would be many
    more techs would be necessary.

    Also, my experience is that "takeovers" (done by either "tech") seem to
    dramatically increase service time required per account (a good reason
    to inspect any and all takeovers beforehand and reject the "rejects" so
    to speak...)....I turned away two today !!

    Lately, I've come to sense another "rule of thumb". The work necessary
    to keep two "bad" accounts going is the same as the work to keep 100
    "good" accounts happy.

    Definition: Good account....pays bills, doesn't needlessly trip his
    alarm, keeps his account calling list current, reads his friggin manual
    before he calls, gives you enough notice of door and window changes
    necessary, doesn't bring animals into the home before he calls you, and
    who has a system that was installed properly at the beginning by a
    professional in the business

    Bad account...the opposite of all of the above and likely a whole lot
    of other reasons I haven't thought of..

    RHC
     
  7. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    Don't turn away the crappy takeovers if they are willing to:
    Submit to credit check
    Submit to IQ test
    And are willing to pay to remodel the system.


    | Yes, I agree. I know that with 1000 plus accounts, mostly all
    | residential, 75% installed by us, a staff of two has absolutely no
    | problem with same day (or next day or subsequent days with customer
    | permission) response for service. And when the second "tech" is not
    | servicing, he is installing ( we try to keep it down to two installs a
    | week maximum), while the first "tech" (me) does the office work. And we
    | both answer calls from clients as they come in to either of our cell
    | phones.
    |
    | Now if you're doing heavy commercial, or industrial, I would have no
    | idea what ratio would be applicable. However, my guess would be many
    | more techs would be necessary.
    |
    | Also, my experience is that "takeovers" (done by either "tech") seem to
    | dramatically increase service time required per account (a good reason
    | to inspect any and all takeovers beforehand and reject the "rejects" so
    | to speak...)....I turned away two today !!
    |
    | Lately, I've come to sense another "rule of thumb". The work necessary
    | to keep two "bad" accounts going is the same as the work to keep 100
    | "good" accounts happy.
    |
    | Definition: Good account....pays bills, doesn't needlessly trip his
    | alarm, keeps his account calling list current, reads his friggin manual
    | before he calls, gives you enough notice of door and window changes
    | necessary, doesn't bring animals into the home before he calls you, and
    | who has a system that was installed properly at the beginning by a
    | professional in the business
    |
    | Bad account...the opposite of all of the above and likely a whole lot
    | of other reasons I haven't thought of..
    |
    | RHC
    |
    | Stanley Barthfarkle wrote:
    | > | > >I know that service requests are on-demand, but if you were building a
    | > >department, how accounts do you think one Service Tech could handle?
    | > >Someone told me there was a "rule of thumb" one tech per _____
    accounts.
    | > > Never heard of a standard like this and wondered if any of you have?
    What
    | > > do you think is feasible? The business has been around for decades
    and
    | > > services lots of older equipment. Thanks for any insights.
    | >
    | >
    | >
    | > 2 techs. (plus owner on-call for things like thunderstorms) should be
    able
    | > to handle 1000-1500 well-installed accts.
    |
     
  8. Frank Olson

    Frank Olson Guest


    You do credit checks??
     
  9. tourman

    tourman Guest

    Why would I need a credit check when I get all my money for the systems
    up front ? And why would I want to spend any time at all to "remodel" a
    crappy system, when I've got people virtually lined up for takeovers
    who have perfectly good systems as is ? My son's time is better spent
    installing new systems from scratch that I know will work properly.

    No, frankly, I'd rather "cherry pick" the accounts I want to take
    over....

    IQ test ? Now that's a novel approach....should be mandatory....at
    least to ensure they have the mental capacity to use the alarm
    responsibly...

    RHC
     
  10. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    nah.


    | Crash Gordon wrote:
    | > Don't turn away the crappy takeovers if they are willing to:
    | > Submit to credit check
    | > Submit to IQ test
    | > And are willing to pay to remodel the system.
    |
    |
    | You do credit checks??
     
  11. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    I don't do credit checks...that was just a funny.

    I just did a 2750.00 "take-over"...why walk from money? Took me a couple of
    days to sort it all out, but was well worth it. The system is now
    topnotch...I made a few bucks and have a solid system and happy monitored
    client.



    | Why would I need a credit check when I get all my money for the systems
    | up front ? And why would I want to spend any time at all to "remodel" a
    | crappy system, when I've got people virtually lined up for takeovers
    | who have perfectly good systems as is ? My son's time is better spent
    | installing new systems from scratch that I know will work properly.
    |
    | No, frankly, I'd rather "cherry pick" the accounts I want to take
    | over....
    |
    | IQ test ? Now that's a novel approach....should be mandatory....at
    | least to ensure they have the mental capacity to use the alarm
    | responsibly...
    |
    | RHC
    |
    | Crash Gordon wrote:
    | > Don't turn away the crappy takeovers if they are willing to:
    | > Submit to credit check
    | > Submit to IQ test
    | > And are willing to pay to remodel the system.
    |
     
  12. tourman

    tourman Guest

    Your post leads me to believe something that I have suspected all
    along. Full prices for systems in the US are considerably higher than
    we charge or can get in Canada. I know that is a generalization, but
    modifying a system for $2750 is about double what we can get for even a
    large system hereabouts even starting from scatch. I doubt that even
    ADT would charge those kinds of prices around here !

    I'd take that one too because the work would be well worth it at that
    pricing level.

    RHC
     
  13. Jim

    Jim Guest

    I'm finding that in recent years that more jobs are falling into the
    $3000.00 and up range, just for security installs. Then, on top of
    security there's the possibility that one or all of of the following
    things will be added ..... like ..... telephone, Cat5 LAN wiring, CATV,
    intercom telephone, whole house audio, and/or surround sound and
    entertainment system layout, setup and programing. Right now I've got
    one house (I have no idea what the house will be worth when it's
    finished) with 73 windows and 10 doors. In addtion to security, I'm
    doing all of the above. Total job $13,000.00 and there will be some
    overruns. Customer buys all the enterainment and audio hardware
    himself. Only equipment I supply is for security and possibly the whole
    house audio speakers.

    Another home that's in progress is a $3.5 million home ( pretty high
    price for around here, but it's not as big as the one above...... only
    52 windows and 5 doors) where the builders alarm that came with the
    house, consisted of 5 door contacts, two PIR's, two keypads, one
    speaker on first floor in a 10,000 sq ft home. The homeowner told them
    not to install the panel and keypads. I'm adding detection on every
    window ( both wired and wireless) Doorbell intercom, various CATV and
    Cat5 LAN, telephone, whole house audio and surround sound and
    entertainment set up. I didn't have to break drywall up to this point
    but now they want the whole house audio speakers in the ceilings, so
    I've got no choice but to "notch" to get around the headers, to get to
    the ceiling bays. Security will total about $5000.00, the rest of the
    job I'm pricing as I go. I figure it will land in the same price area
    as the one above. It's a "smaller" house but since construction is
    completed, there's lots more labor.

    I have to say, however, if it wasn't for the fact that I've got a
    sufficent number of accounts, at this stage, that these kind of jobs
    don't do much to add to the equity of my company. These people don't
    pay anymore per month for monitoring than someone with a $1000.00
    system. But the challenge is super and the prestege of being chosen to
    do these high end jobs, because of good referrals, is a great feeling.
     
  14. tourman

    tourman Guest

    I can definately see your point here. It's very satisfying to be good
    at what you do and just as important, to be known to be good at what
    you do. These days I get a lot of satisfaction when I hear clients say
    they've heard good things about my service quality etc. Most people
    only say the bad things and the good goes largely unsaid.

    Early on, I did a number of the larger homes, but dollar for dollar, at
    our acceptable rate structures around here, I found that it simply
    wasn't worth the time to do them. A while ago, one of my customers came
    to me with the plans for a 8000 square foot mansion he's building, and
    asked me to quote the security system. To make a long story short,
    after all was said and done, I turned the job down simply because for
    what I would earn at the prices around here, the time and driving
    involved for a full weeks work was simply spent better elsewhere. The
    company that I recommended that did choose to do it, came in only
    slightly higher than my quote, but they have a large staff and are
    simply better able to do it than my company of two people. If I had
    messed this up, or not given the level of service the client expected,
    it would end up as a blight on my reputation.

    Since that experience, I've learned to pick and choose the jobs
    carefully. You can't be everything to everybody. Super large homes are
    not in my market niche. Nor are commercial accounts.

    There is also another side to this issue for me. Tax rates are such up
    here that beyond a certain point, you end up virtually working for the
    tax department rather than for yourself. I've backed off work because
    of it to such an extent that I only do enough work to keep the company
    running smoothly and pay my son's salary. With over 1000 accounts, the
    monitoring revenue is such that one of my greatest challenges is to
    keep Revenue Canada's greedy hands out of my pocket ! Once my son
    takes on the business full time, he can decide how he wants to take it.
    Me ? I'm going to take it easy and start to enjoy life more.....

    RHC
     
  15. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    This was a pretty big house, with a pretty big casita "guest" house. 8
    keypads, 8 pirs, 14 glassbreaks, 4 partitions, 5amp aux power, 4 backup
    batteries, driveway annunciator, I think it has 40 zones, AnyCell backup,
    the original install was 6200.00 and that was almost 10 years ago. Had the
    factory refurb the main board then replaced all 8 smokes, changed a few
    keypads, totally redid all the zoning and expanders...blah blah blah.

    My custom homes are going in at about 3100-6000 price range right now.
    Custom specs are a tad lower. Then we got structured wiring, a/v, central
    vac, intercom, and bada bing we're at 18K.

    I don't compete with the lick&sticks or the big guys anymore, and I take
    only jobs that are fun and I make money on...screw the rest.



    | Your post leads me to believe something that I have suspected all
    | along. Full prices for systems in the US are considerably higher than
    | we charge or can get in Canada. I know that is a generalization, but
    | modifying a system for $2750 is about double what we can get for even a
    | large system hereabouts even starting from scatch. I doubt that even
    | ADT would charge those kinds of prices around here !
    |
    | I'd take that one too because the work would be well worth it at that
    | pricing level.
    |
    | RHC
    |
    | Crash Gordon wrote:
    | > I don't do credit checks...that was just a funny.
    | >
    | > I just did a 2750.00 "take-over"...why walk from money? Took me a couple
    of
    | > days to sort it all out, but was well worth it. The system is now
    | > topnotch...I made a few bucks and have a solid system and happy
    monitored
    | > client.
    | >
    | >
    | >
    | > | > | Why would I need a credit check when I get all my money for the
    systems
    | > | up front ? And why would I want to spend any time at all to "remodel"
    a
    | > | crappy system, when I've got people virtually lined up for takeovers
    | > | who have perfectly good systems as is ? My son's time is better spent
    | > | installing new systems from scratch that I know will work properly.
    | > |
    | > | No, frankly, I'd rather "cherry pick" the accounts I want to take
    | > | over....
    | > |
    | > | IQ test ? Now that's a novel approach....should be mandatory....at
    | > | least to ensure they have the mental capacity to use the alarm
    | > | responsibly...
    | > |
    | > | RHC
    | > |
    | > | Crash Gordon wrote:
    | > | > Don't turn away the crappy takeovers if they are willing to:
    | > | > Submit to credit check
    | > | > Submit to IQ test
    | > | > And are willing to pay to remodel the system.
    | > |
    |
     
  16. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    Right on the money dood.

    I will sell the a/v stuff too though, but only stuff I can get a fair markup
    on, otherwise I tell the buyer if they can get a better price go for it and
    we'll just install it on T&M. Sheesh, what I make on connection cables is
    more than I'd make on a DVD or A/V reciever!!




    |
    | tourman wrote:
    | > Your post leads me to believe something that I have suspected all
    | > along. Full prices for systems in the US are considerably higher than
    | > we charge or can get in Canada. I know that is a generalization, but
    | > modifying a system for $2750 is about double what we can get for even a
    | > large system hereabouts even starting from scatch. I doubt that even
    | > ADT would charge those kinds of prices around here !
    | >
    | > I'd take that one too because the work would be well worth it at that
    | > pricing level.
    | >
    | > RHC
    | >
    |
    | I'm finding that in recent years that more jobs are falling into the
    | $3000.00 and up range, just for security installs. Then, on top of
    | security there's the possibility that one or all of of the following
    | things will be added ..... like ..... telephone, Cat5 LAN wiring, CATV,
    | intercom telephone, whole house audio, and/or surround sound and
    | entertainment system layout, setup and programing. Right now I've got
    | one house (I have no idea what the house will be worth when it's
    | finished) with 73 windows and 10 doors. In addtion to security, I'm
    | doing all of the above. Total job $13,000.00 and there will be some
    | overruns. Customer buys all the enterainment and audio hardware
    | himself. Only equipment I supply is for security and possibly the whole
    | house audio speakers.
    |
    | Another home that's in progress is a $3.5 million home ( pretty high
    | price for around here, but it's not as big as the one above...... only
    | 52 windows and 5 doors) where the builders alarm that came with the
    | house, consisted of 5 door contacts, two PIR's, two keypads, one
    | speaker on first floor in a 10,000 sq ft home. The homeowner told them
    | not to install the panel and keypads. I'm adding detection on every
    | window ( both wired and wireless) Doorbell intercom, various CATV and
    | Cat5 LAN, telephone, whole house audio and surround sound and
    | entertainment set up. I didn't have to break drywall up to this point
    | but now they want the whole house audio speakers in the ceilings, so
    | I've got no choice but to "notch" to get around the headers, to get to
    | the ceiling bays. Security will total about $5000.00, the rest of the
    | job I'm pricing as I go. I figure it will land in the same price area
    | as the one above. It's a "smaller" house but since construction is
    | completed, there's lots more labor.
    |
    | I have to say, however, if it wasn't for the fact that I've got a
    | sufficent number of accounts, at this stage, that these kind of jobs
    | don't do much to add to the equity of my company. These people don't
    | pay anymore per month for monitoring than someone with a $1000.00
    | system. But the challenge is super and the prestege of being chosen to
    | do these high end jobs, because of good referrals, is a great feeling.
    |
     
  17. Nomen Nescio

    Nomen Nescio Guest

    Crash Gordon said:
    Different strokes, but I've never understood this. Why the hell would an
    alarm company want to install a central vacuum system? Yeah, you can make
    a couple bucks, but you could also make a couple bucks installing their
    lawn sprinklers, changing burned-out light bulbs, and so on. The very last
    service call I would ever want to see is a complaint that their vacuum
    cleaner isn't working.

    - badenov
     
  18. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    Why? They're not that hard to install, they're a gimme since we're their low
    voltage contractor...why walk away from a gimme? You want someone else to
    get the vac...then they might get the other low voltage stuff too.

    Service? I've got close to 400 central vacs out there and have had maybe
    100(?) service calls over 20 years; far less in proportion to alarms. No
    biggie, and we get paid. Oh, by the way, while you're here you may want to
    have your alarm serviced or add that extra motion detector you've been
    wanting?






    | Crash Gordon said:
    |
    | >My custom homes are going in at about 3100-6000 price range right now.
    | >Custom specs are a tad lower. Then we got structured wiring, a/v, central
    | >vac, intercom, and bada bing we're at 18K.
    |
    | Different strokes, but I've never understood this. Why the hell would an
    | alarm company want to install a central vacuum system? Yeah, you can make
    | a couple bucks, but you could also make a couple bucks installing their
    | lawn sprinklers, changing burned-out light bulbs, and so on. The very
    last
    | service call I would ever want to see is a complaint that their vacuum
    | cleaner isn't working.
    |
    | - badenov
    |
     
  19. Jim

    Jim Guest

    That's part of the reason I don't do vacuums. ( service .... how the
    hell would you ever be able to fix a bad tube connection?) But mostly,
    I never wanted to deal with stocking, transporting and handling the
    tubing and the accessories. Which, by the way, is somewhat the same
    reason I don't supply the audio equipment for surround sound or whole
    house audio either.

    ONE... it's too available on the Internet ... sometimes at a lower
    price than I can buy it for and TWO, ....... If something goes wrong
    with it or if they don't like the "sound" of it .... or their brother
    in law got one from Radio Shack for half the price and it sounds better
    ....... it's * their * problem. Last thing I want to be called back
    for is because Opra's face looks pink.
     
  20. Crash Gordon

    Crash Gordon Guest

    yah those are all legit concerns...but never had anyone say it didn't sound
    good.

    finding a leak in central vacuum is pretty simple, same troubleshooting
    techniques as alarm stuff..divide and conquer. I use a stethascope to listen
    in the walls...but I tell ya...I've done around 400 and have only had pipes
    get separated a couple of times, usually from AC guys crawling in the attic.
    So ya ask questions of the homeowner and go from there - and never had one I
    couldn't fix.

    I did just recently have a housemaid sabotage the central vacuum...because
    she didn't like/understand it..so she kept breaking or losing parts to the
    electric head...and I think she intentionally ran over the vac hose with her
    car and crushed it.

    On the audio stuff, yep...if it;s cheaper on the net I tell them to buy it
    and have it delivered and we install by the hour. No biggie. If there's a
    problem we'll go (by the hour) and disconnect it, but the buyer will have to
    deal with returning it themselves, when they get it back we'll go back out
    (by the hour) and hook it back up. Ain't much profit in the equipment,
    except for high end AV and Plasmas/DLPs though.

    The only pain in the butt is keeping up with model changes and how the crap
    gets hooked up ( I HATE that part, so I leave it to my other guys to deal
    with that).


    |
    | Nomen Nescio wrote:
    | > Crash Gordon said:
    | >
    | > >My custom homes are going in at about 3100-6000 price range right now.
    | > >Custom specs are a tad lower. Then we got structured wiring, a/v,
    central
    | > >vac, intercom, and bada bing we're at 18K.
    | >
    | > Different strokes, but I've never understood this. Why the hell would
    an
    | > alarm company want to install a central vacuum system? Yeah, you can
    make
    | > a couple bucks, but you could also make a couple bucks installing their
    | > lawn sprinklers, changing burned-out light bulbs, and so on. The very
    last
    | > service call I would ever want to see is a complaint that their vacuum
    | > cleaner isn't working.
    | >
    | > - badenov
    |
    | That's part of the reason I don't do vacuums. ( service .... how the
    | hell would you ever be able to fix a bad tube connection?) But mostly,
    | I never wanted to deal with stocking, transporting and handling the
    | tubing and the accessories. Which, by the way, is somewhat the same
    | reason I don't supply the audio equipment for surround sound or whole
    | house audio either.
    |
    | ONE... it's too available on the Internet ... sometimes at a lower
    | price than I can buy it for and TWO, ....... If something goes wrong
    | with it or if they don't like the "sound" of it .... or their brother
    | in law got one from Radio Shack for half the price and it sounds better
    | ...... it's * their * problem. Last thing I want to be called back
    | for is because Opra's face looks pink.
    |
     
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