This month we are pleased to speak with Josh Allen, co-owner of Alarmco, Inc. Alarmco is a provider of Security, Surveillance and Fire Alarm systems based out of Bradford. They also provide service contracts, consultation services, as well as other services described below.They are located at 989 Mink Hill Road, in Bradford, Vermont and can be contacted at (802) 222-4245. Visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AlarmcoVT . Their WEB site is currently under construction but will be updated soon at www.alarmcovt.com.
Tell us a little bit about how the company started and what you do.
My father originally started the company in 1993 so we’re in our 23rd year of business.
My business partner Craig (Bania) and I bought him out in January. Craig was a coworker of mine at a previous job. Our primary business is fire alarms, security and surveillance cameras but now we have branched off into other things like telephone systems, data networking and other low voltage options like audio/visual and home automation. We actually do quite a bit of other stuff. For example, we are putting in a complete surround sound system for Valley Floors. We recently put in an access control gate for Topsham Hill Campground, which is new for them,and a fiber optic network for Camp Lochearn. Almost all of the low voltage stuff can be tied together in some way. Even when trends change, we are so diverse that we can do a lot of different things.
What are your biggest business challenges?
Probably one of the hardest things is the rate at which technology is progressing and keeping up with all the new products. Also, one of the fears moving forward is finding qualified staff especially with River Bend having closed their Electronics Technology and Residential Wiring program. Finding someone trained and willing to learn this field will be a challenge for us going forward. I do look forward to getting someone out of a technical program that we can offer a career to. I did the Co-Op program through River Bend when I was there and worked for my father’s company. There is a lot of value in that training. College is not always the answer. I am the perfect example. I own three businesses.
Who are your customers and what is your service area?
We do everything from low-end residential right up through high end residential and commercial. We cover all of Vermont and New Hampshire. We are doing a project right now in Bennington, Vermont and we also have a project in Colebrook, New Hampshire. Most of our business is within an hour of Bradford. The nice thing about Bradford is that it is pretty central and you can get just about anywhere within an hour. We service all types of businesses including a lot of convenience stores and a lot of banks.
How many employees does Alarmco have?
We have five full-time employees and one part-time secretary. Our employees have a wide variety of skills. Craig and I have nearly twenty years in the telephone business and we have been through a lot of schooling and training. One of our employees is a Master Electrician and two are retired military service members that were trained in electronics.
Any advice you can give on running a successful business?
As an employer, after working in corporate America, I realized that putting my employees first is going to build a better quality business. If you treat your employees well and take good care of them, your company will automatically grow. Great customer service is also very important. Being able to respond quickly to a customer within an hour versus putting them on a schedule several days out goes a long way. We service an average of 400 customers and 70% of our work is return business.