The 2024 SDM Industry Forecast Study (a report published every year since 1982), in addition to the opinions of an industry panel made up of four security dealer and integrator companies of varying sizes and geographic locations, shows a group of industry professionals looking at a more familiar landscape than the past few pandemic and post-pandemic years. While still concerned about what the economy may or may not do in 2024, they seem confident in their ability to weather that as the security industry has many times before.

Respondents to this year’s Industry Forecast, published in January but conducted in November 2023, are realistic about 2024, with predicted expectations changing little from the past year. This year’s report has 58 percent of respondents expecting an increase, with 35 percent predicting revenues will stay the same and 7 percent predicting a decrease, essentially unchanged from last year’s report.


Status Quo

Security dealers and integrators were asked: How do you expect your overall company revenue to change compared with 2023?

The number of respondents to SDM’s Industry Forecast Study expecting revenue growth in 2024 declined by just 1 percentage point over last year, with the same percentage predicting it would stay the same as last year. Among those anticipating an increase, the expected mean increase is 16 percent, down 2 percentage points from last year’s mean of 18 percent. Seven percent expect a decrease. // SOURCE: SDM 2024 INDUSTRY FORECAST REPORT

Aaron Simpson

As a founder and president/CTO/CFO of Stone Security, AARON SIMPSON has been intimately involved at every stage of the process that has led to Stone’s success with more than 40 percent growth year over year. Simpson has been responsible for project design, installation and support throughout the Mountain States, nationally and dozens of international sites. He also plays an active role in Stone’s day to day operation as the Stone team has grown to 170+ members. Stone was ranked No. 84 on the 2023 SDM 100 and No. 18 on the 2023 SDM Top Systems Integrator’s Report, and was named SDM’s 2020 Systems Integrator of the Year.

Jeremy Bates

JEREMY BATES serves as president of Bates Security. His family’s company is based in Lexington, KY, and has five offices in the Kentucky and Florida markets. The company is serving primarily a commercial customer base but maintains a very strong residential business. The Bates Security team has grown the company over the past several years to No. 32 in the SDM 100 rankings. Bates Security also ranked No. 36 on the 2023 SDM Top Systems Integrator’s Report. Bates currently serves on the ESA Board of Directors. He is a past president of the Kentucky ESA and the Sonitrol National Dealer Association. Bates Security is the proud recipient of the 2018 SDM Dealer of the Year Award.

Mike Botten

LVC Companies’ Sales Manager MIKE BOTTEN oversees the sale, design, and installation of fire and life safety, structured cabling, communications, and security systems. Headquartered in Minneapolis with a national security division and regional offices in northern and southeast Minnesota, Western Wisconsin, and Phoenix, Arizona, LVC is a full-service technology provider that has delivered customized solutions and exceptional service for more than 40 years. Botten’s sales leadership and unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction is a driving force behind LVC’s impressive growth (up 12 percent since 2021 and 75 percent since 2013). LVC was ranked No. 96 on the 2023 SDM 100 and No. 22 on the 2023 SDM Top Systems Integrator’s Report, and was named SDM’s 2018 Systems Integrator of the Year.

Justin Stearns

With a career spanning two decades in the field of security integrations, JUSTIN STEARNS brings a depth of practical knowledge, innovation and experience to the industry. Currently serving as the vice president of Chimera Integrations in Syracuse, NY, Stearns has played an instrumental role in the company’s recent recognition on INC 5000’s list of fastest growing businesses with president of Chimera, Casey White. Most recently, Stearns and White have purchased a cybersecurity company and are in the process of launching it as AlchemyCore, for which Stearns will serve as president. AlchemyCore will be the first cyber reseller program focused on the integrations industry, closing the loop between physical and cyber security for integrators. Chimera Integrations was ranked No. 70 on the 2023 SDM Top Systems Integrator’s Report.

Comparing the 2023 report predictions to the actual reported numbers from this year’s report, last year’s prognosticators were pretty prescient. While 59 percent had predicted an increase, in reality 54 percent realized that expectation, just 5 percent off. The previous year expectations and reality were 17 percentage points apart. Of those who thought revenues would stay the same, 35 percent predicted that scenario, and 38 percent experienced it.

One possibility for this increased accuracy is the welcome return to “normalcy,” even in the face of an expected downturn that so far has failed to materialize. In fact, this year’s panelists all reported above average years in 2023.

“We had our best year ever in 2022; it was a banner year for us and we are fortunate to be on par with that this year,” says Jeremy Bates, president of Bates Security, Lexington, KY.

Mike Botten, sales manager at LVC Companies, Edina, MN, shared similar thoughts. “This has been a good year in 2023. We did reasonably well in 2022, but we are expecting to close this year at a 12 percent growth rate.”

Stone Security, Salt Lake City, and Chimera Integrations, Syracuse, NY, are each expecting even higher growth for 2023.

“We typically grow at 30-40 percent and that continued,” says Aaron Simpson, president and chief technology officer for Stone Security.


Dealers & Integrators Rate the State of the Market

Security dealers and integrators were asked: How would you rate the current state of the market for each of the following areas?

Video surveillance remained the top market segment for producing sales in 2023, staying steady at an average of 3.8 out of 5, the same as the last two years. Following video surveillance was access control, then monitoring, also the same as last year. However, looking beyond the mean numbers at the percentage of those describing these markets as “very good or excellent,” the big winner was managed services/cloud-based services (up 7 percentage points). On the other end, the biggest drop was perimeter and outdoor security, with an 11 percentage point drop from last year. // SOURCE: SDM 2024 INDUSTRY FORECAST REPORT

Justin Stearns, vice president of Chimera Integrations, says 2022 and 2023 were both great years for his company, with 42 percent growth over last year.

While the latter two companies are likely on the upper end of growth for most companies, the majority of respondents to this year’s Industry Forecast — illustrated in the graphs here and on SDM’s website at — reported growth at similar levels to 2022. In this year’s survey, the predictions for revenue changes in 2024 are nearly identical to those of last year, showing that they don’t anticipate any wild cards.

Perhaps this is in part a reflection of consistency over the past few years. As was the case last year, those surveyed for the Industry Forecast reported very similar numbers to last year when asked about both revenue and RMR. Their total annual revenue increased by an average of 18 percent, 1 percentage point higher than the previous year. RMR grew at exactly the same rate as the previous year (73 percent); and the growth of 20 percent was also 1 percentage point higher than the 2023 report.


Average RMR Increases 20 Percent

Security dealers and integrators were asked: How do you expect your overall company revenue to change compared with 2023?

Among companies that generate recurring monthly revenue, 73 percent reported an increase in their RMR in 2023 over 2022, the same as last year. The average amount of the increase was 20 percent, versus 19 percent last year. The median dollar amount, however, jumped from $60,000 in 2022, to $75,000 in 2023. This table shows the distribution of RMR in various dollar ranges, comparing 2023 with 2022. // SOURCE: SDM 2024 INDUSTRY FORECAST REPORT

This generally reflects a group of security dealers and integrators that feel on solid and familiar ground with what they need to do to succeed going forward.

“We have lost some employees, to be honest. But then, some of those employees have returned because they see the grass is not greener.”
— Mike Botten

Even the continued threat of an economic downturn seems to be less of a worry for both Industry Forecast respondents and our panelists. While it still tops the list of factors expected to impact sales (positively or negatively), the percentage of respondents citing it as a factor fell dramatically from 44 percent last year to 26 percent last year. The next biggest predicted factor is crime, which rose 10 percentage points over last year.

“It feels like Déjà vu all over again,” says Botten of his company’s economic concerns. “If you listen, it is coming. We felt the same way last year, and it has been a great year. Interest rates could be a factor, but it could also lead to more RMR opportunities. Our focus is internally on our processes to make sure we win and mitigate the issues that may happen.” For more on this year’s panelists’ outlook on the economy listen to the podcast. And be sure to check out “The Panel Talks” sidebars to learn more about what our panelists have experienced in 2023 and anticipate for the coming year.


The Panel Talks Economic Impacts

SDM spoke with our panelists about the impact the economy might have in the coming year, which also encompassed a discussion on how it will impact finding, training, retaining and paying employees. Listen to what they had to say here.

SDM: How did your company’s 2023 recurring monthly revenue (RMR) change compared with 2022? And how do you expect 2024 RMR will change compared with 2023?

Stearns: We had 100 percent increase in RMR this year. We are only 6 years old, and we made a huge expansion in 2021, and we’re starting to realize the fruits of that labor. So that is where a lot of this came from. And that’s really associated with cloud services. More than anything, monitoring accounts grew by like 1,000 percent, which is a lot.

Someone at Watchman Security said, “If it’s not reoccurring, it’s not occurring.” I really like that saying he coined. But everything we do has some sort of RMR associated with it. So if we have 50 percent growth in revenue, we should have at least 50 percent growth on RMR as well.


Bates: We’re having a good year. The larger we get, though, the harder it is to move that needle. As we reported on the SDM 100, we hit the $1 million mark in RMR last year. So that was a banner time for us. We typically will not even sell anything unless it does have RMR attached to it. But we’re probably trending 5 to 6 percent growth before it’s all said done this year.

Botten: Being a bit more of a mature, traditional alarm integrator, we are really investing in our managed services and focus on recurring revenue. For many years recurring revenue to us was either a service contract on the fire alarm side of the equation, or traditional monitoring. We were a little late to the game based on our diversity. So this year has been an investment and a focus on getting our agreement process set up for people that we’re doing manage services for. So as far as a percentage growth, I don’t have that available for you. But it has been a huge focus for us as an investment, not only in paper, but people and in processes so that we can survive. Because if we don’t, we won’t survive in this current change in the market. So to us, it’s an investment in 2023, so that we can grow again in 2024 on this side.

We are focusing on three fronts. Obviously cloud native for access control or cloud access control and hosted access control would be one portion. Health monitoring either through VMS or access control partners, or third party, that’s item two. And probably most importantly, is lumping it all together into an agreement that is actually enforceable — like a monitoring contract. Up to that point, we really didn’t have it. It was more organic.

As far as the process, it’s been quite painful. We went through a whole managed services educational class through PSA. We’re retooling our salesforce. But I think we’re keenly aware that if we don’t do this we won’t be in business for 43 years or 44 more years. So that’s how critical it is to the future of LVC Companies.

Simpson: We saw pretty steady growth in RMR. It’s an initiative and a focus we’ve had over the last five or so years. Still, there are some challenges in getting people to move over to some of those more SaaS-based products and solutions. But again, it has been steady growth. You know, as time goes on and bigger pipes are available out there for our customers to get videos straight up to the cloud, that will certainly help in that in that aspect. But, moving into 2024, we have a lot of really good momentum there, a lot of really exciting things. I actually expect to see significant growth on our end.

We also see most new startups are expecting more of a cloud and SaaS-type experience from their solutions. So they’re not coming in looking for on-prem like people have done historically, So it does seem like a lot of the newer customers we are bringing on are hitting in that area.


Top Business Challenges: Increasing Sales & Attracting Talent

The factors security dealers and integrators feel will be major challenges to their companies in 2024 (ranked among top three)

Increasing sales took the top spot this year, rising from fourth place and 11 percentage points over last year. Other concerns with big increases include generating RMR, up 12 percentage points; keeping up with customer demand and competing effectively, both up 11 percentage points; and keeping up with current technology, up 9 percentage points. Notably, supply chain issues, which were the top concern for 2023, fell 35 percentage points to just 19 percent, and ongoing COVID-19 issues came in last place with just 2 percent expecting that to be a factor. // SOURCE: SDM 2024 INDUSTRY FORECAST REPORT

Industry Forecast respondents’ biggest perceived challenges for 2024 also saw a shakeup. Supply chain issues, which ranked far and away as the top concern for 54 percent of survey respondents last year, fell precipitously to just 19 percent in this year’s survey. Instead, the top challenges are expected to be increasing sales, finding and retaining employees — a perennial top concern but also down 11 percentage points — controlling costs, and generating recurring revenue.

Speaking about supply chain issues, Simpson says that not till late in 2023 did his company see the issue diminish. “It seems like the security industry is the last one to catch up,” he says. “In our experience it was not until late October that we were really out of the woods. Then we were able to get back on track and not have all the additional overhead that went along with that.” Bates also noted that supply chain issues have eased for his company as well.


Economic Conditions Still Top Influencer on 2024 Sales

The factors security integrators think will have the most impact on sales of security systems by their companies in 2024

Economic conditions stayed on top but fell 18 percentage points to below 2022 levels, indicating a normalization of concerns. Crime rose sharply by 10 percentage points as a perceived factor, and capital spending by business continued to climb. Respondents were asked for the first time about supply chain disruptions, but just 8 percent predict it will have a big impact in 2024. The factors cited in this list could have either a positive or a negative effect on sales. // SOURCE: SDM 2024 INDUSTRY FORECAST REPORT

"I’m cautiously optimistic. We are shooting for the stars, but I don’t suspect we will do less than 30 percent."

With supply chain mostly out of the way, this year’s panelists were much more interested in discussing the issue of attracting talent. “Workforce is still a major issue, especially with how fast we are growing,” Stearns says. “We do a fairly good job of retaining talent. We haven’t lost a lot of people. But our company is just six years old and we have quadrupled in the last three years.”

Simpson adds, “We have really weathered the workforce issue quite well. We really haven’t lost many people and some have left and come back. We have always gone overboard on our benefits and have created an environment where people can really stay and have retirement plans.”

Bates feels like the situation is getting a little better lately, although two of his branches have been impacted more than the others. “We have about 120-ish employees. I feel like we are doing pretty good getting seats filled. In the old days, you just put an ad out and you would attract many candidates. Now you can’t just do that. My team has learned to be much more intentional in how we go about this. We were much more laid back and now we are more assertive.”

Botten does see the desperation across the industry, however. “We have lost some employees, to be honest. But then, some of those employees have returned because they see the grass is not greener.”


Managed/Cloud-Based Services Currently Offered

The specific managed/cloud-based services currently offered by security integrators

Managed access control not only retained its spot as the top managed/cloud-based service currently offered by SDM Industry Forecast respondents, it rose 10 percentage points over last year. Video surveillance as a service also grew by 13 percentage points, taking second place, and access control as a service grew by 14 percentage points to rank third. Remote video monitoring fell from second place to fourth, but stayed steady at 62 percent, the same as last year. // SOURCE: SDM 2024 INDUSTRY FORECAST REPORT

SDM: What is one factor you feel will most significantly affect sales of security systems by your company this year?

Simpson: Certainly I think what’s going on in Washington and the upcoming elections will impact our customers and their appetite for spend. Interest rates, as the government continues to make changes there, money gets more expensive and that impacts our customers and their ability to get money. Their ability to have access to cheap money is certainly going to be a major impact.the same direction at the same time and we will all end up where we want to be.”

sales forecssting

Stearns: I think our biggest concern right now is competition from MSPs, and then manufacturers selling direct to businesses. Self-install is a really big deal, so that’s another thing we’re trying to get behind right now. MSPs are selling direct to schools and for a lot of municipalities and places that have their own IT department, it’s plug and play. We’re noticing MSPs selling access control more and more. So that’s an interesting trend that we’re trying to stay ahead of and beat the curve on. We’re just competing more and more with MSPs and less and less with just integrators these days. So for us, that’s our biggest concern. But there are a lot of lot of fish in the sea. New York is a big state, and we cover all of it.

I don’t think finding customers necessarily is our biggest concern. It’s really just that hidden competition and just more and more people doing self-installs. So how do we realign our go-to-market strategy, our installation strategy, or our selling strategy to align with customers’ expectations.

Bates: Listening to the team talking here, one thing with us is we have for the last 6 or 7 years grown from one office to five offices. The focus all those years for us has been just grow, grow, grow. So our theme this next year is focus on the basics, and we are working to make sure that we have the best operation in place. We’ve ironed out a lot of the kinks. So now we are doing a lot of things to really prepare for stronger growth going forward. Included in that would be increasing our installations, providing best service and monitoring services and managed services to our customers. We are investing more in our sales team. So even if it is a slow economic year, or there’s a downturn next year, it’s up to us to be successful.

Botten: We’re really looking to align our internal platforms with our manufacturing partners, with the intent that we’re going to meet what we expect the customers’ needs to be, and their new appetites for cloud. We are going to utilize our expertise, and make it a simple process and work on that relationship to mitigate our worries about the economy.

As much as the customers think they know, we still need to steer them in the right direction. And it’s never been more important than it is now to be the voice of reason and the trusted expert as we navigate away from traditional security offerings and go to cloud, cloud native and manage services. So for us, it’s an internal alignment to get the basics handled and take care of our customer. That’s the biggest impact we see in sales for 2024.

For Stearns the most effective way to combat the issue comes down to the hiring side. “We hire on eulogy values not resume values. I like hiring outside of the industry and thinking about alchemy of how to transition those skills to what we do. Having a family environment is one of those core values. If we all row the same boat in the same direction at the same time and we will all end up where we want to be.”

When it comes to the market strengths, one interesting trend coming out of the Industry Forecast survey is the rise of access control, and particularly managed services around that. While video surveillance and video analytics remain the top two predicted growth areas for 2024, both managed services and access control rose 8 percentage points over last year. Monitoring rose 13 percentage points.

Looking at the RMR side, access control-related services made up two of the top three services security dealers and integrators are offering, with access control as a service rising 14 percentage points.

SDM: What are the biggest growth opportunities you see for your company in 2024?

Botten: For us, it’s going to be that managed service, traditional service and cloud offerings that are in alignment with our initiatives right for a recurring revenue, which leads to the long term sustainability and viability of our organization.

Simpson: Data centers; certainly we see a ton of demand there. Also mobile solutions like trailers, and really anything on the mobile side, mobile security solutions that are out there. With our managed services as well, I think we will continue to see more and more demand for the kind of system as a service where they would like to get in with just an opex-type expenditure. So we continue to look for solutions around that because we see the demand continues to grow there, and I think there’s a huge opportunity on that front.


Bates: Video is the future of the industry. And then, obviously, we’ve been strong on managed access for a very long time and I expect that to continue. But our focus is on video now.

Stearns: I see a lot of synergy with what the other guys are saying here. But I think what’s interesting is we’re trying to chop away at hardware as a service, going back to that kind of OpEx expenditure instead of the CapEx. So how do we do that in a palatable way. I think, our differentiator as integrators, what we do best is that single pane of glass, hardware as a service, and really offering just proactive surveillance systems with really intelligent access control systems that communicate together.

And that just make everybody’s lives easier. I think globally, everybody’s having staff issues, or at least in North America. So when we think about managed services our pitch on that, if you will, is staff augmentation. So now, both from the IT departments and the facility departments between our door hardware division, integration division, and our cyber division, we can really augment these places that just don’t have the budgets to have full staffs to properly manage and implement an access control system and a surveillance system to the level where they start seeing a significant ROI.

“So, really, the biggest impact is going to be in our head. I don’t care if there’s going to be a recession or a great recession or whatever it turns out to be; it’s all about our attitude and how we approach things. Someone’s going to be successful. It might as well be us.”
— Jeremy Bates

This trend was echoed by Stearns in the panel discussion. “I thought surveillance was going to be largest revenue and it continues to be access control. We are getting huge access control projects. What we do best is a single pane of glass. Our biggest focus is globally everyone is having staff issues so managed services is staff augmentation.”

Looking ahead to 2024 the Industry Forecast panelists all agree they are in a pretty good position going forward.

Bates anticipates another 6 percent growth. “We have been in business about 50 years,” he says. “We used to have 30-40 percent growth but now shy away from being that bullish. I would be happy with 6-7 percent.”

LVC is in a similar situation, Botten says. “We are feeling moderately confident, but guarded. That is determined by the uncertainty of what the economy is going to hold for 2024. We anticipate between 5-7 percent growth rate. We are also about a 45-year-old company. We expect similar growth on services side. We do a lot of our work through the construction side of the equation. We are a multi-siloed company including fire alarms and structured cabling. A lot of what we drive off in this market is construction and we are seeing some layoffs throughout the construction side. Electricals do a lot of purchasing. We are not seeing as many projects getting put through the budgetary phase, so there is a little less momentum on the private side and a lot of it has to do with the economy.”


Revenue Change Expectations for 2024

Among those who currently offer the following products/services, respondents were asked: Compared to this year, how do you expect your company’s revenue in each of the following categories to change next year?

More than two-thirds of respondents expect their company’s revenue to increase within the video surveillance category in 2024, down 5 percentage points but retaining the top spot. Video analytics rose 7 percentage points and stays in second place. Managed/cloud-based services, access control and monitoring also grew over last year in predicted increase, all over 50 percent. Intrusion, smart home, fire and perimeter and outdoor security all fell from last year’s expectations, with smart home experiencing the biggest decline at 19 percentage points. More than 20 percent of respondents expect a decline in that market in 2024. // SOURCE: SDM 2024 INDUSTRY FORECAST REPORT

Simpson says Stone does expect a 30 percent growth year in 2024. “We are very optimistic about what is coming this year. Certain verticals are moving at faster pace than others. Data centers is one.”

Not surprisingly for a young company, Stearns is more bullish, but with a caveat. “With the trajectory we are on we are still expecting 40-50 percent again, and we are just getting better at doing it; but we do a lot of new construction so I have to agree with Mike,” he says. “People are not purchasing like they used to and they are waiting for things to balance out. So there is a fair balance of new construction and retro and we try to keep that balance in check.

“I don’t see the inability of getting material being an issue next year. I do think manpower will be an issue. In Syracuse, where our headquarters is, I think in the next 5 years there is only about 20 percent of workforce in the entire area capable of completing the work. We’ve got some huge projects coming through with New York State, not to mention with the cannabis industry rising and really just getting off the ground. That’s a huge market for us. Healthcare is huge for us. Plus our recent acquisition with a cyber company has been good and had a lot of synergy there. So I’m cautiously optimistic. We are shooting for the stars, but I don’t suspect we will do less than 30 percent.”

SDM: What do you view as your company’s greatest competition in 2024?

Stearns: It’s easy today to get involved in international sales from our homes. The same is true in the software markets. Upstate New York is usually 5 to 10 years behind the rest of the world, at least 5 years behind the rest of the country, especially the metropolitan areas. But now a lot of these companies are popping up, and we have all these hidden competitors that we didn’t know about just stepping into our neighborhoods and taking and cherry picking these large projects. Not to mention you’ve got the big cats that are usually not that hard to compete with, but they still try to go after staff or customers, so they are still a concern. But there’s just more competition coming from every direction. I think it’s not one specific competitor. It’s the fact that anybody can sell all of these hosted systems from anywhere in the world, and then just find somebody local to throw in the wire and the controller and program it remotely. So, whereas maybe 20 years ago you open up a phone book and see you’ve got five or 10 or 15 competitors. Now, you don’t know how many you have or where they’re going to come from.

Botten: I would say it’s not a traditional competitor, but competition with the economy. What is the economy going to do, I think, is the hidden competitor for us is as we refocus and retool. How do we offset if the economy doesn’t perform as we would like it to. And then that limits our ability to add new opportunities. That is what we identified as a competitor for 2024.


Simpson: I’d have to agree a little bit. I don’t think I would have ever talked this way before going through the last few years of having such a dramatic impact that was imposed by situations as well as the government. But if government can stay out of the way and just let us run our businesses the way we want to, and make those decisions and stop toying with interest rates that would certainly help.

Referencing just some of the other companies out there, we’re getting to the size where we’ll drive this spec, or we’ll be the one in the front in the driver’s seat on an opportunity. But then have other people jump in that are willing to drop their price to bare bones, pricing out into margins that aren’t sustainable just to win the business. So we do see that. I see them as the ankle biters that are out there that just want to come in and win because they want to get in that position. I’m not overly concerned on any of those, but those are where I hit.

Bates: I view ourselves as our biggest competition. And I think everything that’s been mentioned so far on this question that we’ve talked about does matter and can impact us. But it is incumbent upon us not to get distracted by things that don’t really matter, that don’t further the ball in providing the best customer service, providing the best installations, staying on top of technology, and keeping my team trained as best possible.

So I think if I don’t do a good job staying on top of those things, that’s where I’m going to start falling victim to my competition. In my almost 29 years now running this business, I’ve seen different things come through that when I was much younger, used to scare the living daylights out of me, like I don’t know how we’re going get past XYZ with these competitors or different changes in the economy or in the market. But we kept our heads down, worked hard and you know what? We have grown every single year, including during the great recession, during the shutdown, and what have you. So as far as competitors out there, I don’t want to be cavalier, but we have a very big piece of the pie, and as much as I would love to own the entire pie, I need to be happy with carving out our piece of the pie and making sure that I’m running our business well.

Looking ahead, Bates summed up his company’s approach — and likely that of many others, based on the Industry Forecast numbers — this way: “We always coach our team that it’s up to us to be successful. Somebody is going to be successful. Somebody is going to be buying security services, and it might as well be from us. So it’s up to my team to make sure that we’re doing the best we can in all areas and maintaining the reputation that we have, so we can get the referrals and so that we can continue to grow our business.

“So, really, the biggest impact is going to be in our head. I don’t care if there’s going to be a recession or a great recession or whatever it turns out to be; it’s all about our attitude and how we approach things. Someone’s going to be successful. It might as well be us.”

SDM: How has the whole workforce conundrum impacted your business? And what are you to attract and retain employees?

Simpson: You know, we’ve really weathered it quite well. We really haven’t lost many people. And we’ve actually had a few instances where we’ve lost a few people for a dollar or two to here and there who end up coming back when they realize what the alternatives are. So I think some of the things that we’ve done to keep and maintain really good talent is we’ve always really gone overboard on our benefits. We’ve tried to create an environment where people can really stay and create a career. They can have retirement plans, exceptional healthcare, everything they may need. And then there are a lot of other perks that go along with that, which is being at Stone certainly include company culture. Our employees have a lot of ownership over what they do and enjoy where they come to work day to day. So I think, due to that, we’ve just really weathered it. So we’re feeling good about the talent pool right now.

Bates: We’re in five different locations right now and three have done really well, but two have had bigger hits with employees that we lost early on during the great resignation. But I feel like it’s been getting better lately. We’re almost fully staffed. I have, I think, three open technical positions, and another support position. So I feel like we’re doing pretty good by getting our seats filled.


We have learned to be much more intentional. And how we go about this is to be much more assertive and aggressive in in our approach — not like closing tactics aggressive, but just aggressive in in our overall recruitment. We do referrals, and some of our best seem to be people that are recommended by other employees. They know the type of company we are, and they wouldn’t recommend their friends and family if they didn’t like working here. But I think also having a good culture, having good benefits and then also having advancement opportunities are important. And it sounds like all of us are growing so I think we all just have opportunities of fast growing company.

Botten: There’s been pretty high level of competition with our competitors trying to attract our existing workforce. And there’s some desperation, I think, across the industry. Because we’re union, they’re trying to put packages together to incentivize people to leave our friendly shores and go to a new island. And some of it has worked out, and some of it hasn’t. We have lost some employees. There is a sense of desperation for qualified technical talent.

We have a really strong track record of longevity within the organization. Obviously, we’re a union contractor so our wages and benefit packages are strong. And we try to really connect with the operations team, project management, sales and the technical field staff about what our vision is going forward to try to retain talent.

Stearns: One thing that is really big for us is hiring our core values. What I always say is we hire on eulogy values, not resume values. That’s really important to me, in fact, because resumes are typically marketing anyway. A good conversation is going to tell me what I need to know. Obviously, if you are trying to find a trained technician that’s a very technical set of questions.

I actually like hiring outside of the industry and just thinking about the alchemy of how to turn their skills into useful skills for Chimera and what we do. I wouldn’t have a good resume if you asked for it. I didn’t go to college. I barely graduated high school. But I bought about six businesses and I’m doing all right.

So really having a family environment is one of our core values. You are family. If you are here, you are not going to suffer, as much as we can alleviate that suffering, and we’re all in it together. So row the same boat in the same direction at the same time, and we’ll all end up where we want to be. And then, most importantly, we work to live. We don’t live to work, and that’s a really, really important part of our culture. We just want everybody to live their best lives. And then part of that is, you have got to work to do it. So let’s figure out a way to make that palatable and fun and profitable.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is based primarily on a report produced by Clear Seas Research, “SDM Industry Forecast,” produced in November 2023. To learn more about the report or to purchase, visit

Clear Seas Research is a full service, B-to-B market research company focused on making the complex clear. Custom research solutions include brand positioning, new product development, customer experiences and marketing effectiveness solutions. Clear Seas offers a broad portfolio of primary, syndicated research reports and powers the leading B-to-B panel for corporate researchers, myCLEARopinion Panel, in the architecture, engineering, construction, food, beverage, manufacturing, packaging and security industries. Learn more at




SDM’s Industry Forecast Survey tracks how security dealers’ and integrators’ total revenue is distributed among types of services. Together, almost 50 percent of revenue comes from sales and installation — across both residential and non-residential segments with the non-residential portion, down 3 percentage points from last year. // SOURCE: SDM 2024 INDUSTRY FORECAST REPORT



Security dealers were asked to indicate the one residential market segment where they expect to see the highest rate of revenue growth for their companies in 2024.

The results of SDM’s 2024 Industry Forecast Study show that security dealers are looking even more to existing middle-market homes for their residential sales, with that category coming back strong after a few years of decline. High-end homes continue to hold the second spot. New construction is a distant fourth place, falling 10 percentage points from last year. // SOURCE: SDM 2024 INDUSTRY FORECAST REPORT


5 STRONGEST NON-RESIDENTIAL MARKETS: Commercial, Retail, Industrial, Education & Critical Infrastructure

Security dealers and integrators were asked to indicate the one non-residential market segment where they expect to see the highest rate of revenue growth for their companies in 2024.

The dealer and integrator channel expects its top most prolific segments in 2024 once again to be commercial office space, with retail and industrial rounding out the top three. Education remains in the top 5, down 5 percentage points from last year; and critical infrastructure broke into double digits this year, rising 5 percentage points. // SOURCE: SDM 2024 INDUSTRY FORECAST REPORT


Average Monthly – Residential: $149

Security dealers were asked to indicate the average monthly monitoring price of the residential systems their companies currently monitor.

The average monthly monitoring price of residential systems among respondents to the study nearly doubled from $80 last year; however, the median price of $40 is likely more realistic and just $1 higher than last year. Of those surveyed, the “more than $50 category” once again grew, up 8 percentage points after going up by 9 percentage points last year, suggesting more companies are raising their monitoring prices. // SOURCE: SDM 2024 INDUSTRY FORECAST REPORT


Average Monthly – Non-Residential: $557

Security dealers and integrators were asked to indicate the average monthly monitoring price of the non-residential systems their companies currently monitor.

Dealers and integrators’ average non-residential monthly monitoring fees continued to climb to $557, versus $427 last year; The median price, which is likely more realistic, rose another $5 after rising by the same amount last year. Due to the broad nature of types of conditions that can be monitored for a non-residential subscriber, the prices charged by security companies are distributed across a wide range of categories, but for more than half of respondents their average non-residential monitoring fee is at least $56 per month. // SOURCE: SDM 2024 INDUSTRY FORECAST REPORT


External Capital Usage

Security dealers and integrators were asked: Do you currently or are you planning on utilizing external capital to support your business this year?

Fewer companies used external capital in 2023, with 24 percent indicating they currently use it (down 9 percentage points from last year. Just 15 percent plan to use it in 2024 (down 2 percentage points). The majority don’t use or plan to use external capital and the rest don’t know. // SOURCE: SDM 2024 INDUSTRY FORECAST REPORT