When it comes to supply and demand, Signal 88 Security is short on the former and has an overabundance of the latter, but the company hopes this situation will balance itself out with the help of veterans who are transitioning into civilian life.
The vision of Signal 88 Security, since its founding in 2003, is to provide a full suite of world-class and industry-leading security services for residential, commercial, retail and institutional customers because, quite simply, safety is a basic human right and need. The company began franchising in 2007 and now has over 300 territories covered by roughly 125 franchise partners in the United States, Canada & Australia.
“We are a physical deterrent, so when we deter people from committing crime, it creates peace of mind for our customers” CEO Reed Nyffeler said during a recent interview from the company’s headquarters in Omaha, NE.
Even though Signal 88 has a presence in 35 states (plus operations in Canada and Australia) its current franchise partners cover only about 10 percent of the available territory that the company has to offer in the United States. Nyffeler said about 90 percent of the country is still up for grabs and the company needs to fill those spots because it has an abundance of clients in new markets requesting service.
“We’re actively seeking new franchise owners because we currently have more client demand than we have franchise owners,” Nyffeler stated.
Potential franchisees don’t seem to be aware of Signal 88, the CEO lamented, citing numerous comments he’s heard from franchisees saying they wish they had known about the company earlier.
Nyffeler credits the demand for Signal 88’s services to several recent events — particularly mass shootings — that have left people feeling highly insecure even when they’re at home, work, school or out in a social setting like a movie theater or an athletic event.
“It’s one of our core needs to feel secure,” the CEO said.
Being a core need means that security is a stable industry that, aside from adopting better technology, will change relatively little and will definitely not disappear, Nyffeler said. In fact, in the current global climate, demand is only likely to rise.
However, not all security is the same.
Nyffeler said he conducted a competitive analysis prior to founding Signal 88 and saw there was a need for greater professionalism and localized ownership through franchising in the security industry. It also seemed to be an ideal fit for veterans who are transitioning out of the military or police service, which is why the company is keen to welcome veterans aboard.
“Instead of serving their country from another country, they can now serve their community where they grew up and where they wanted to return to and serve the people they really know,” he said.
One of the most compelling reasons for entrepreneurial-minded veterans to give Signal 88 a look, Nyffeler noted, is because among all the franchise opportunities available to them, security is the closest match to their existing skill set.
“I would be hard pressed to find any other concept that really serves the military community more than ours does if they really want to get into business because it truly is their skill set and their passion,” the CEO noted.
Along with a business opportunity that has increasing demand, Signal 88 also offers veterans a sense of community, as they will be in an environment that has a strong veteran presence.
In fact, Nyffeler said he’s certain that most, if not all, of Signal 88 franchisees, even if they are not veterans themselves, have members in their organization who have military experience.
The Right Fit
Veterans’ experience lends itself well to the qualifications Signal88 looks for in new franchise partners. The company wants team captains, which Nyffeler described as people that other people look to for leadership and direction; people who are willing and able to make decisions and people who others will follow willingly.
Signal 88’s clients are looking for direction about how to keep their establishments safe, employees are looking for direction in their career and the company as a franchisor is looking for someone who can take direction and veterans fulfill all of those needs, Nyffeler said, adding that they should also have high energy, a positive attitude and be personable.
Once Signal 88 has found these natural leaders, the company does everything it can to help them succeed, using what Nyffeler described as the company’s comprehensive support program. This program is known as the SOAP Box, with SOAP being an acronym for sales, operations, administration and promise.
For sales, the company has national accounts with clients who they have good working relationships with and they pass these opportunities along to franchisees to help them get some initial contracts. The company also employs a team of regional managers to assist franchisees in making decisions around new contracts, prospecting calls and more.
Operationally, Signal 88 has a hiring and training process to help franchisees procure employees. But, the company is only involved in the hiring process as much as the franchisee wants. The company also employs a staff of operations professionals at the corporate level to support the franchise network globally.
To assist with administration, the company performs billing and payroll for their franchisees.
“That is huge because that is where a lot of small business owners really bog themselves down, dealing with the local tax laws and the payroll processing and minimum wage compliance,” Nyffeler said.
On top of that, Signal 88 offers its own in-house payroll financing service using the franchisees’ receivables that they can use if necessary.
Finally, the promise part of the equation is the guarantee that the company will always do its best to support its franchisees.
To entice veterans, the company offers active duty and honorably discharged veterans a 10 percent discount on the franchise fee.
The Signal 88 Difference
The way Nyffeler sees it, Signal 88 is in two different industries: franchising and security.
For franchising, the company offers the utmost transparency for its franchisees, making sure everyone knows what is going on at all times. The company embraces technology, meaning it’s always on the leading edge of industry trends and provides its franchisees with a solid business to business model with high demand.
For its clients, Signal 88 offers the ability to interact with local ownership. Many major security businesses often don’t even have a representative a client can speak with in a state where they operate. But, with Signal 88, clients and employees alike are guaranteed to be dealing with a local owner. This local ownership model gives the company the ability to make quick adjustments in various markets rather than waiting for decisions to be made from some other location that may not be familiar with localized needs.
With its comprehensive support program and sense of community it offers to veterans, it’s only a matter of time before Signal 88 is able to fulfill the overwhelming demand for its services.