A New Beginning
After returning from vacation to a home that had been burglarized by a neighbor's son, Roger Walker recalled an article he had read about security alarm systems. That article, the experience he had of being the victim of a burglary, and being laid-off (before they called it downsizing) led to Rampart Security Systems' beginning.
Security Systems Trends. Prices vs. Service
Roger's former employer, Montgomery Wards, had suffered as its customers began to value the lower prices from competitors like Walmart and K-Mart more than the quality customer service Wards had provided. The marketplace split into segments. A discount tier of stores started up and lured consumers with lower priced, disposable goods. We won't get into a judgment here of whether that was a good thing or not; there are certainly arguments both ways. The fact is that service mattered less to part of the marketplace. Department stores with higher quality, but costlier goods persisted by paring down the number of stores and changing their focus.
The same sort of transition has taken place in electronic alarm systems.
The electronic security alarm industry began back in the 1800s. Back then, alarms were false-alarm prone and required frequent service. Only wealthy people could afford them. Companies thrived by simply providing good service and a reliable product.
When Roger started Rampart, there were a handful of alarm companies in Kansas City. He had competition. Some of the same names are in the business today, but some have sold out, waited for their non-compete clauses to run out, and started back up with their original names. Rampart Security Systems has never sold an account. Never sold out. Our customer service is consistent.
Back in 1981 alarm systems cost about 1% of a home's value. Since then they have gone down in price for a number of reasons. More alarm manufacturers exist today, more parts are sold, and the equipment costs less to make. Technicians salaries have risen, but alarm systems are easier to install now. It used to take days or even weeks to install a typical system. Labor saving devices have helped, as have improved designs and better components. Some companies today use only wireless equipment (a trade-off of higher cost equipment for less skilled technicians). We still prefer to hard-wire when it is possible. We believe it is a better investment for you. The wires we run can be used later with new equipment. Wireless equipment requires battery changes, and if the parts are discontinued may not be replaceable without buying a new system. Our skilled technicians make hard-wiring the best option, and they make it look easy.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, mass-marketers introduced "free" or nearly-free package pricing. They lease equipment to home and busines owners and of course require a contract for the lease term. After the term is up, the leases auto-renew if not cancelled a month prior to the end. Rampart Security has matched competitors lease deals when asked, but almost always sells the systems outright to the home or business owner. For about the same price as a lease installation.
The trend toward "bundling" continues in the telecommunications marketplace. Phone satellite tv and and cable tv companies offer bundled rates for home phone, cell phone, internet, and cable tv and satellite tv services. For a while, utililty companies tried to get into the alarm industry. They bundled alarm monitoring with electrical bills locally. However, the type of service and complications of alarm systems differed enough from their regular business that they ended that experiment. A music supplier got into the business for a while as well. Many companies that do low-voltage electrical wiring try to do security. They often have no idea about how to make the system work best for the user, are not prepared to help you maintain or service your system, or solve false alarm problems if they occur. Alarm systems are our specialty.
Within the next 10 years, 30% of all homes in the U.S. will be without a landline telephone. The traditional way to monitor and get response for alarm systems has been through the telephone lines. Phone lines had some vulnerabilities to tampering, and we have had the option of cellular back-ups to combat any tampering issues. With fewer homes installing landlines now, we often use digital cellular communicators as the primary way to monitor alarms. There are other options. Rampart Security prides itself in educating our customers about the options. You'll find more materials regarding this under the "shopping tools" tab on the menu.
Rampart Security Systems encourages you to compare it with any of our competitors. The national mass-marketers' monthly terms are now approaching $40 and $50 per month. Rampart Security's monthly rates are much lower. Homeowners now call us to compare bids and find that the "free" packages with the necessary additions cost them the same or more than a custom designed system from us. Beyond the initial costs, we think that maintenance costs are particularly important. Check out our "free service" policy.
Rampart Security Systems values
Roger's belief that service is the key to success persists here at Rampart. We know it is true because we get calls from other alarm companies' customers every day asking us to service their alarms.
Roger opened the company in 1981. Since then we have provided free service calls* to our monitored customers during our regular business hours. Rampart customers not only get free service calls, but they get the guarantee that we will use reliable equipment. If we don't it will cost Rampart more in labor.
Rampart has always been competitive in monitoring quality and price, too. Rampart's monitoring cost was $20 per month in 1981. That was our rate for monitoring until 1998, when new customers rates became $22.50 per month. We value customer loyalty so much that our customers from before 1998 still pay just $20 per month. Do you know any other company that values loyalty that much?
Our central station is local, U.L. certified, and 5 diamond rated by the CSAA. We are proud of both designations, especially the one from CSAA. Central stations with high turnover cannot get 5 diamond certified. This means our central station operators are more experienced and better trained.
What to expect from us
Local companies still provide custom-designed systems, but national companies have dominated the marketplace. That trend is not likely to reverse itself. And that's ok with us. Our customers are people who demand more. Rampart Security does not strive to become a national company or to serve millions of customers. We know that plenty of people in our area need security systems (and our other services) and require the high quality service we offer.
From before Rampart Security's beginning here in Kansas City, Roger Walker believed that service and quality were key to success. That is what is behind Rampart Security. Not volume sales and numbers of customers.
Service. Quality. Security.
*Free service calls include labor only, not parts. Regular business hours only. Reasonable charges apply after hours and weekends.