Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
Brink's Expands Home Systems Profile
A recent trend has seen several larger builder/developers form new subsidiaries to pursue revenues from direct partnerships with satellite TV providers, local telephone companies and Internet service providers, among others.
The debate over who is best positioned to capture the recurring monthly revenues from electronic services entering the home is getting murkier by the day.
A recent trend has seen several larger builder/developers form new subsidiaries to pursue revenues from direct partnerships with satellite TV providers, local telephone companies and Internet service providers, among others. It is a particularly appealing strategy for those builders with deep pockets and a focus on developing ''customers for life.'' Meanwhile, large subcontracting firms like Brink's Home Security are also getting into the business as a high-tech outsource option within the reach of most home builders.
With an eye toward those recurring revenues, the Irving, Texas based home security company announced Monday, Nov. 13, that it has now formed a separate division to offer a range of technology options to home builders under the banner of Brink's Home Technologies. The new division will formalize and vastly expand the reach of a current initiative to offer structured wiring, home theater, multi-room sound systems and security to its client list that now numbers more than 200.
Most of those 200 builders currently contract with Brink's for only home security services, but over the past couple years, many have begun adding home technology services as well, says Shawn Lucht, vice president of national accounts for Brink's. Within the next 12 months, says Lucht, the new division will expand into most of the top 50 metropolitan markets nationwide.
Lucht sees the question of how best to profit from the growing desire for ''wired'' homes as one of priorities and core competencies. The very largest builders in the industry, he says, are in a better position to absorb the sales training costs, and the installation training costs to run a successful home technology division. But Brink's is confident that the vast majority of builders are looking for a qualified partner to offer them a technological edge within their respective marketplaces.
"I think that there are absolutely going to be builders who select do it all and many will be successful at it," explains Lucht. "But many builders just don't have the wherewithal to get their people up to speed, but they still want to be able to offer these options to their buyers."
Brink's Home Technologies will target builders who close on 75 or more homes each year by offering them varying levels of sales support during the design phase of construction. The program is set up to offer this group the choice of having their sales and design-center representatives supported by Brink's personnel or have Brink's provide the information directly to the buyer. It is a formula that has proved successful on a trial basis with several builders.
"Our relationship with Brink's offers our buyers one-stop shopping for their wiring needs," says Jeremy Koster, division coordinator for MI Homes in Charlotte, N.C. "The partnership has eliminated the guess work and frustration our sales and building teams were faced with and has helped us meet the needs of a growing ''high-tech'' market sector."
According to Lucht, Brink's has already inked a profit sharing deal with Direct TV for the new customers it delivers to the service. The company also has revenue sharing agreements with a number of DSL and Internet service providers. That said, Lucht points out that there is plenty of financial incentive for builders who partner with Brink's. He cites a pricing structure that will enable builders to increase their margins by offering high tech options without a lot of risk.
The full list of Brink's Home Technologies products and services includes: