Elevating Electronic Security With Art Beaver of Security Systems of America

Art Beaver is the Founder and CEO of Security Systems of America, ranked one of the top 100 security companies in the country by SDM Magazine. Art has been in the security space since 1971 and has grown his business to a team of over 70 professionals. He earned the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Electronic Security and Technology Association.

Art Beaver
Tune In
Google Podcast
Amazon Music

Elevating Electronic Security With Art Beaver of Security Systems of America


In this episode…

When it comes to securing your home, can you design a system built to fit your needs and budget? How can you monitor and control your business’ security?

Art Beaver has created an enduring enterprise across generations. Through the evolution of security technology, controlling your home or business is simplified and budget-friendly. Art and his team install customizable automation, access control, and smart home control for your safety and security. You can customize your security needs to fit your lifestyle and specific needs, whether for home or business.

In this episode of the Key Insights Show, Scott Johnson sits down with Art Beaver, Founder and CEO of Security Systems of America, to discuss the evolving security system technology for homes and businesses. Art talks about the accessibility of customized security, why meeting customer expectations is crucial for success, and the opportunity for growth from referrals.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Art Beaver talks about being an entrepreneur in the security systems space and the evolution of security equipment
  • Why residential security is more accessible and offers more control than surveillance 
  • Art details the competitive nature of the security business and why it’s crucial to exceed customer expectations
  • How to engage with your community and the value a referral brings to your business
  • Art shares who he admires in the security industry and his thoughts for the future

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Key Marketing Group.


At Key Marketing Group, we specialize in getting more inbound leads for B2B companies. Our proven process works time and time again to drive more potential customers to your website — and get them to contact you. 


More leads in as few as 3 months. Get started today

Episode Transcript

Intro  0:02  

Welcome to the Key Insights Show where we feature CEOs and how they’re thriving in today’s market. Now, let’s get started with the show.

Scott Johnson  0:13  

Scott Johnson here, I’m the host of this show where we talk with CEOs about challenges they’ve overcome and how they are thriving in today’s market. This episode is brought to you by Key Marketing Group. At Key Marketing Group we specialize in SEO for the security industry. Our proven process works time and time again, to drive more potential customers to your website and get them to contact you get started today by going to keymarketingroup.com. That’s keymarketinggroup.com. Today’s guest is Art Beaver, founder and CEO of Security Systems of America. Art started the business in 1972, and has grown it to a team of 70 professionals. He’s earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the electronic security and Technology Association. And his company for the last 15 years has been listed as one of the top 100 security companies in America. Art, Welcome to the show. Thanks for being here.

Art Beaver  1:07  

I’m very happy to be here, Scott.

Scott Johnson  1:09  

So how’d you get started in the security business?

Art Beaver  1:12  

Well, I, you know, somebody said, who you were in the security industry back in 1972. And I said, Well, let me let me say what wasn’t called the security industry at that time. Basically, it was 1000s of entrepreneurs across the United States that knew at least one thing, that they could install a security system for their customers in their home to prevent burglary. And and that was the long and short of it. That was the mission, should you choose to accept it. And I accepted it because I thought it was the greatest marketing concept I could ever imagine.

Scott Johnson  1:44  

What did a security system look like in 1972?

Art Beaver  1:48  

It was the the components weren’t? First of all, we hadn’t yet invented the smoke detector, we hadn’t yet invented the passive infrared motion detector, which is used widely today. So the equipment was rather crude, and not necessarily reliable. But we were able to make it work because we kept things moving along in technology. And that, of course, the technology is what was drove drove the whole industry from that point on.

Scott Johnson  2:16  

Yeah, and everything was hard wired back then. Oh, yeah.

Art Beaver  2:23  

There’s the one of the technologies that came about in the late 80s was wireless. And that was such a change in our operation. Because first of all, I love the fact that we could get our technicians out of the crawl spaces out of the attics out of the basements of American homes, and have a clean uniform on install a system and three hours instead of hard wiring the whole building in three days. So it was a it was a game changer. Let’s put it that way.

Scott Johnson  2:52  

Yeah. And you know, I’m kind of showing my ignorance here. But I thought nowadays, things were still hardwired quite a bit, or maybe is it just a portion of them now?

Art Beaver  3:02  

A portion? Yes, there are some equipment that does really lend itself to hardwire. Because let’s face it, you’re eliminating a battery device if you can hardwire it. So if it’s convenient to run a wire 10 feet and eliminate a battery operated device, I think that’s makes sense.

Scott Johnson  3:20  

Yeah, like I have a ring doorbell. And I started off with battery. And it was such a hassle because the thing would died after replace it after, you know, like a month. And that would just get lazy. Just leave it not installed. So I wish I would have hardwired that. But so it sounds like even when things are hardwired now it’s infinitely easier than when they were hardwired back then.

Art Beaver  3:38  

Oh, yeah. Yes, absolutely.

Scott Johnson  3:40  

Yeah. What other changes have you seen as far as we’ll start with residential security systems?

Art Beaver  3:46  

Well, the offering that we have today, I probably couldn’t even imagine it three years ago. That’s how much technology is moving today. Today, we have an offering with a panel that goes on the wall, or it could go on a coffee table, it has a seven inch touchtone screen. And from that you can arm and it has a built in camera, which will take a picture of anyone who armed with this item, what code they use and what time it was. And that of course is sent over the system to the customer cell phone or laptop or whatever mobile device they have. And the other thing is it’ll disarm the picture of the individual who disarm the system will also be recorded. Now that might not sound like a great thing. But when the homeowner says who came into the house and who it was, it’s a very satisfying thing to see that instead of just guessing or not knowing that anybody’s come in, even if they do have a code. 

Scott Johnson  4:45  

Yeah, so as far as residential security you know, I remember before it was you know, typically cameras on the outside especially for you know, the bigger houses and things like that. Nowadays, it seems like there’s more cameras on the interior, me person kind of privacy nuts, so I feel weird about having that I’m sure it’s encrypted and secure and all that. But are you what percentage of home residential installs? Do you think, you know, just ballpark with with your company? are they wanting cameras on the interior as well?

Art Beaver  5:12  

Oh, I would say probably 50%. Or maybe higher. And don’t forget, people have dogs, they have animals in their house, they’d like to be able to go look, if they’re at work, they’d like to see how things are going in. And he’s not tearing the couch apart and things like that. There’s a lot of reasons that people want interior cameras. 

Scott Johnson  5:30  

Yeah. In the house. Has there been major, you know, hacking or breaches of people kind of bad guys looking through those? Or is the technology pretty locked in where that hasn’t really been an issue in your industry?

Art Beaver  5:42  

A was it? It was initially there was some equipment that was easily compromised. But that’s been pretty much rolled out at this particular stage.

Scott Johnson  5:51  

Yeah. Cool. And you mentioned before we were, you know, we started recording that the some statistics on percentage of homes that have residential security now, compared to previously, can you kind of talk about that a little bit? 

Art Beaver  6:06  

Yeah, it’s when I used to read the articles showing the penetration rate for security systems and residential, it was always at 19, 20% 21%, up to about three or four years ago. And now it’s jumped to 25, 26 27%. So what has happened is people are starting to sell or to do their own security system, do it yourself market. So that has increased the penetration rate right there. And the other thing is, because it’s no longer a burglar alarm. Now, it’s a lifestyle product. It’s a product that customers want not only to prevent burglary, but they like it because they can control their heating or air conditioning and door locks remotely. So that has helped increase the penetration rate. So I think we’ll be probably up to about 30% A year or two.

Scott Johnson  6:55  

Wow. And are these typically in in higher end homes in nice areas, middle class or, you know, kind of more urban? Or where are you seeing this big growth? Or is it all the above?

Art Beaver  7:07  

Well, you know, you mentioned that and back in 40-50 years ago, most of our customers, which was the country club set, and they know who people that could afford it, systems were often to do every window and door and a house were hardwired could be three $4,000. Today, it’s three or $400, a freight drop, and that’s allowed people in the working class neighborhoods to have a security system. It’s not only the wealthy, that used to be 3040 years ago. 

Scott Johnson  7:40  

Wow. So for your company, SSA Security, are you mostly residential? Or what’s your kind of red commercial split?

Art Beaver  7:48  

It’s about 60 40-60, commercial 40%. Residential.

Scott Johnson  7:53  

Okay, so you got started in residential? When did you really jump into commercial

Art Beaver  7:59  

work? 20 years ago, we’ve jumped into the commercial marketplace. And it you have to remember from a standpoint of revenue, you’re going to have more revenue from the commercial marketplace, the buildings are larger, there’s more devices needed than in a home. So the commercial marketplaces got more revenue than residential market. But all in all, we’re pretty close to 50/50. I say 60/40 commercial because of the advances now we have an access control, and cameras, so you know, you could take a commercial establishment and want they might want 12, 15, 20 cameras, it’s quite, quite different from a residential market.

Scott Johnson  8:41  

Yeah. And a lot of recurring revenue as well beyond the install. 

Art Beaver  8:45  

Well, yeah, simpler. There’s revenue from patient is, unless it’s monitored would be for like, maintenance contracts. and I both served, but we run our own monitoring station, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So all our customers can be monitored, as well as have us install a system are part of an encompassing all encompassing company in that respect.

Scott Johnson  9:11  

Yeah, so I’d like to change gears to a minute for your growth. So you know, after talking to a number of commercial security CEOs, there seems to be different sort of plateaus that the companies either kind of fight their way through or they just kind of stay at the main levels, just that I see. Are you no one, you kind of have to do it yourself, or maybe as a couple contractors that help and he just kind of stays at that level. Then you get the ones that have maybe 10 techs, the owner is still doing a lot of the sales, maybe they have a rep and a good amount kind of get stuck there. Then you have kind of, you know, the ones that burst through, they have a sales team, they do marketing and they kind of hit 30. I mean, you’ve grown well beyond that. What would you kind of attribute your growth to like what you as far as you know, operations and sales and kind of not getting stuck at those plateaus? 

Art Beaver  10:05  

Well, if you want to go back to the very beginning, I mean, anybody tell you, you need to have low overhead to get established in the marketplace, whatever your footprint ends, if it’s just one state or two states or three states, whatever your footprint is, you have to have a low data in your costs that if you’re going to be competitive and competitive is what it’s all about. We’ve had huge companies enter this business, telephone companies enter this business, they exit it as well. So they found it to be too hard or too competitive a marketplace based upon their organizational structure that they have. So the smaller companies, like we consider ourselves a small family owned company, we’re flexible, we’re more flexible, if we have an issue, we have a problem with the product that’s coming into our area, we make an effort to have a light product to meet that expectation, so that we’re not having to sell one offering at one price, we make many offerings at different prices all to fit the customer’s needs. And that’s the whole point, you can have a system that you pull out of a box and start mountain sensors all over the house and think you’ve got a security system. There are a lot of people that want professionally installed security. And that’s our big opportunities that way I look at it.

Scott Johnson  11:24  

Yeah. Interesting. So as far as new sales, and of course, you know, reputation is going to be big being around that long. Do you have sales reps doing, you know, outbound calls and things like that or,

Art Beaver  11:36  

we’re still knocking on doors, Scott, we have two or three salesmen today that are out knocking on doors in areas that are maybe 50 miles from our office, or wherever they are, they work a territory, and it’s not a hard sell, we find customers that have storefronts, or have businesses that would love to have a reliable economical system for their store. So we got door knocking, and of course, we, because of the number of customers we have now we’re very lucky and fortunate to have referrals. And referrals are one of the keys to growing the business.

Scott Johnson  12:11  

Yeah, I mean, referrals are my favorite sales channel. They come to you, that’s great. And also means you’re doing good work. What have you guys done as far as online marketing, you know, ranking in search engines and things like that?

Art Beaver  12:24  

Yeah, well, we, of course, we have a website. And that has been a good source of revenue. And, and we’ve expanded that keyword. So when people look up cam, live cameras, or whatever they are looking up, we have keywords there to direct it to our, to our website, because we have the ability to do so much different things for different customers. And that gives us an opportunity to design a system instead of just selling a you know, simple system.

Scott Johnson  12:59  

Yeah, well, I love that you have three strong sales channels, you have your outbound essentially door knocking, which I love, you know, like, it’s funny, you know, a few years ago, just for my company, we’re doing lots of email marketing and digital stuff. And then we switched to something more quote unquote, you know, old school, which is just picking up the phone and cold calling, and then sales spike, it’s funny how cyclical this stuff is, but you can’t be you know, human interaction. So, yep, sorry, you can add something.

Art Beaver  13:27  

No, I just gonna say, Well, you’re right, we do have, we do call, we look for business lists where new companies are moving into our area. And that’s a great source, because in some cases, they may be required to put a fire alarm system and their occupancy level requires it. And we are the we are a leading supplier of fire alarm installations here in our area. And not to mention security or video. So or access control for that matter. 

Scott Johnson  13:57  

Yeah, I was speaking to a different security company owner, and he was saying he gets notified for all new construction, and they call mail, you know, the whatever company behind it, and just show up, and he said they get a lot of sales that way.

Art Beaver  14:12  

Yeah, that that is because a new a new business is going to have to have something that we can provide in one of those areas. And cameras have taken off such a great amount in the last few years that hardly any business wants to be without them. Not only for this thing, what’s going on but for liability purposes. They want to make sure nobody slipped in fall and and when they didn’t, you know the camera could catch it and see what to pack. And both it’s an IT cameras provide a lot of safety and security for a business owner.

Scott Johnson  14:46  

Absolutely. Yeah. Well, in one trend I’ve seen more and more is more kind of temporary surveillance set up and construction sites. It’s highly profitable, you know,

Art Beaver  14:57  

well as because the materials put on because struction site might turn up missing by morning.

Scott Johnson  15:02  

Yeah. And with the cost of materials now, I mean, that’s a huge asset. Absolutely. Yeah, I was speaking to one, agency owner shout out to Blue Eyes Security and Secure where they use AI in their surveillance surveillance for construction sites. And it picks up on if someone because you don’t want to get notified every single time, you know, a bird flies by or something, but it’s smart enough to realize, okay, this person, they stopped, they looked they came back. Okay, you need to notify a live person.

Art Beaver  15:30  

It’s pretty cool. Exactly. And that goes residential and commercial.

Scott Johnson  15:35  

Yeah. Oh, okay. Yeah. And so kind of going back to what I was saying earlier, you know, with the three strong sales channels, outbound referral in inbound, I find that those plateaus I mentioned earlier, you know, the small guys they typically rely on, they have one sales channel often referrals, the guys to get stuck at kind of the 10 to 20, employee range, they usually have to, you know, whether it’s outbound plus referral, or inbound plus referral, and the guys that break through that, like you guys have three strong sales channel to kind of help because every sales channel, whether it’s, you know, outbound referral, whatever, is going to have peaks and valleys, just natural cycles. And by having three, that’s how you get that long term steady growth.

Art Beaver  16:15  

Yes. And and what has also happened in terms of growth is our expanded territory, we’re now able to reach further out than we did before. So we’re able to take in a little new territory every, like we’ve put up branch office about 7080 miles from Pittsburgh to handle some major areas out that way. And other ones, we can reach him if we can put a system in reach it and travel time of two or three hours. So that’s, that’s within our our area that will pursue it.

Scott Johnson  16:49  

Yeah, absolutely. Well, it helps your location to I mean, there’s so much population. I mean, I know some people that are in a city and there’s nothing, you know, three hours outside of it.

Art Beaver  16:57  

So right, right, yeah. Great. So

Scott Johnson  16:59  

who’s someone in the industry right now that you kind of really respect what they’re doing?

Art Beaver  17:05  

Well, someone I respect and I have always respected him as a fellow named Ron Davis. Now, Ron Davis is currently co founder of gray Graybeards R Us. And he is written several books on security. He’s often called to be keynote speakers at different conventions. He writes a column for the security and industry magazines. And he’s a personal friend, and I’ve known over four decades. And it’s always good to have somebody you could call to see what their thinking is on whether it matches your thinking on things that we’d like to proceed in the future. Yeah. Ron Davis, gray Graybeards R Us. Great guy. been through it all. security companies, own monitoring companies. And now he is doing mergers and acquisitions.

Scott Johnson  17:57  

Wow, a lot of those in the security industry. I mean, that that always fascinates me the family owned business for 50 years. Because I mean, of course, you’ve been approached, you know, 100 times to be acquired.

Art Beaver  18:08  

Yeah. And luckily, we made a move many, many years ago to transfer the company to the second generation. And this possibilities, it may even go further to the third generation, but we have that possibility. But right now, we’re in the second generation and it’s a good springboard for what we’ve done for this generation to take off further into the security industry.

Scott Johnson  18:32  

Love it. Yeah. I mean, there’s something so fulfilling, I would love to, you know, pass along, you know, my company to my daughter one day, so Well, thank you so much. We’ve been talking with Art Beaver of Security Systems of America. Where can people go to learn more about you and your company are all

Art Beaver  18:48  

on our website? Probably the best way? It’s SSA security. www.ssasecurity.com.

Scott Johnson  18:55  

All right. Thank you so much.

Art Beaver  18:57  

Thank you, Scott.

Outro  19:02  

Thanks for listening to the Key Insights Show. We’ll see you again next time. And be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.