John Larkin wants engineers to throw away their hard-bound catalogues and use SureSpec.info. SureSpec, Columbus, Ohio, is an online catalog library that provides product information from manufacturers in the fire, security, suppression and HVAC industries. It has more than 3,700 site subscribers and 90,000 hits per month, said Larkin, SureSpec president and founder.

SureSpec launched in April 2003 with 12 fire alarm manufacturers, but now lists 90 manufacturers from several industries. “It has taken off on so many different roads since then,” Larkin said. He also added more search features, including comparisons available with the premium membership. In January 2005, the site was receiving 10,000 visits per month, but currently the site gets 90,000.

“What sets us apart is we went directly to manufacturers to ask them to allow us to use their material,” said Larkin, who prides himself on the site’s up-to-date manufacturer information. “When they make a change, we make a change,” he said. It took 14 months to launch the site and convince manufacturers that his approach would work, but he eventually got the site started.

Now word of mouth has helped the company average four new manufacturers and 40 new site members per month. About 70 percent of the site’s 3,700 members use the free standard service, but once they get on board, many switch to the paid premium service. For 2006, he plans a software upgrade so engineers can access the site through a PDA. For more information, visit www.surespec.info or call (614) 403-2479.