Holmes Security Systems in Fayetteville, NC is honored with three awards in 2014, acknowledging that a local hometown business can succeed when competing with national rivals. President Stephen Wheeler shares the processes that got them there.
Start With A Family Business
Holmes Security began 47 years ago as a branch of the original Holmes Electric Company, which was opened 108 years ago by Wheeler’s grandfather, who was an electrical contractor. He was able to offer consumers affordable quality and a high level service and he established that standard to last.
Adapt To Change And Stick With Principles
As one might imagine, technology has changed greatly and while the offerings are different, the basic principle is the same. Customer service must rise to a new level.
The original point of entry contacts on windows and doors are still there, but because direct access landlines are declining rapidly, the contacts now are wireless. The units now are mostly self-contained. A wall unit might now have a keypad or touch screen, a built in siren and its own form of communication.
Get Ahead Of The Curve
Holmes has updated their network and transferred their customers into it. At the same time it has updated its accounting and central monitoring station systems.
Holmes is the only company in Eastern North Carolina that owns and operates a local monitoring center. This was done for two reasons, one as mentioned before, to move away from direct lines and two, mainly better protection for their local customers than a monitor in another state.
Adhere To High Performance Standards
Holmes has a UL certificate as does any high risk company, a bank, a jewelry store, etc. What that means for customers is that Holmes’ staff is trained more intensely and equipment has to be redundant on the monitoring side. Holmes’ monitoring is backed up with three different generators and all of their receivers are redundant as well.
UL comes in and audits Holmes once per year. There are actual field tests on accounts to see if they are operating correctly and there has to be 100% security compliance. The company must also demonstrate a fast response time.
Stay On The Cutting Edge
Ask anyone with a cell phone or other hand-held device if it’s challenging to keep up with changes in technology. Since Wheeler knows that customer safety is reliant upon modern equipment, he steers his company toward the best. Honeywell is the #1 name in security in the world. Holmes is a Honeywell dealer and is probably in the top 10% of all their partners worldwide. This is good. Wheeler wanted better.
Holmes became a First Alert dealer which is a small subset of Honeywell dealers. First Alert training offers a more intense approach, using different equipment and helping Holmes maintain a higher knowledge level than the typical dealer. That participation reflected well this year for Holmes.
Holmes Security attended the 2014 Honeywell Dealer Convention and was again awarded the coveted Honeywell Circle of Excellence award. Holmes has won this award 5 out of the last 7 years. Next year the focus will be on marketing new technologies, such as Honeywell’s Connected Home.
Expand To Help More Customers
Holmes Security opened a branch office in Wilmington, NC in 2000. In 2015 it will grow north to Jacksonville, NC and south into South Carolina markets.
While the company has never looked at big acquisitions, Wheeler is selectively looking for good companies that might want to partner or merge with Holmes as it grows.
Product expansion is on the horizon as well. Commercial accounts historically have been a larger part of its business, but in the past five years or so residential accounts have made up half. In 2015, residential accounts will rise to be 60 percent and the balance in commercial accounts.
No doubt this growth mode is one of the reasons Holmes was recently honored as Business of the Year by the Fayetteville/Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce.
Wheeler steers the family owned business to community service which involves families including golf tournaments and spaghetti dinners. He also likes to work with projects where Holmes can donate needed equipment. For example, Holmes has helped build houses for the military, specifically Wounded Warriors and Extreme Makeover Home Edition where they brought in specialized equipment from Honeywell for those contributions.
When a real estate company chose to help a low-income day care center, Holmes supplied the security and camera system. The donations are magnified by company participation. Usually there are installers and programmers involved, but there have been up to as many as 15 employees to pitch in and help.
Add this to the exceptional work performed and the combination led to Holmes being recently honored in the oldest North Carolina newspaper with the Fayetteville Observer’s Readers’ Choice Award for Best Home Security Company in the local area.
Remember From Whence You Came
Through it all, Wheeler stays grounded and remembers the company’s roots. He recently told the industry publication Security Systems News, “We’re just a small family business. We are more of a traditional company, surviving in this changing world, adapting to new technology, adapting to what consumers want.”
The evidence would indicate that Wheeler and his company are not just surviving, but thriving.
For more information on Holmes Security Systems, visit their website at: http://www.holmessecurity.net.