For security integrators, recurring monthly revenue (RMR) services aren't merely extra revenue but a necessary way to smooth the income valleys between project installations. RMR is vital when the economy falters or a pandemic shuts down operations.  

Integrators who use RMR to cover fixed costs, such as payroll and rent, have greater stability in difficult times. It even changes how they go to market. Integrators with a high level of RMR can pass on projects that don't fit their business plans. Without adequate RMR, integrators are dependent on finding one project after another to survive. 

Cloud-based RMR Services

Integrator-provided cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) applications eliminate many upfront costs of onsite servers. Hosted and managed services often enable users to afford more robust systems. Typical services include security system data backups, updated software and preventive and corrective system maintenance.  

Embedded integrator staff often plays a significant role in a successful RMR plan. Working eight hours daily at a client's site, an integrator's employees may update access control badges, manage security subcontractors or monitor remote locations. If there is a system emergency, a technician is already on site. 

Cyber hygiene is another good source of RMR. Integrators are ideal for maintaining an accurate inventory of what security devices are installed and where and for removing those no longer needed. Integrators can change system passwords, update anti-virus software and more. As cyber breaches increase, every integrator should offer clients these services.  

Other RMR-generating services include touchless mobile access and elevator dispatch credentials, biometric workstation logins, weapons detection, gas and fire monitoring and tailored weather and news updates for nationwide or global operations. 

RMR Targets

An array of RMR services will likely benefit virtually any size organization's security operations. Smaller organizations lacking IT departments are ideal RMR clients, as are enterprise organizations with multiple unstaffed remote sites.  

While federal agencies are typically early adopters of new technologies, they have been slow to accept many hosted services due to certification and cyber requirements. Also, many agencies already have robust in-house teams in charge of their security function. However, as the hosted system concept continues proving successful with private enterprise, the government will come aboard within 5 to 10 years.  

How Much RMR?

Based on many factors, the right amount of RMR will vary somewhat from one integrator to another. RMR ranging between 18% to 25% of total revenue is a good target. However, before increasing RMR, ensure the accounting staff is prepared to bill for the monthly services. Those integrators already offering subscription-based services, such as alarm or central station monitoring, are well set. Also, review client contracts to ensure they cover any liabilities resulting from extra integrator-generated services. 

Also, ensure the sales team is trained to sell recurring services. Integrators often incentivize RMR by paying the sales staff a higher commission than project sales. 

Competition From Manufacturers

RMR also is enticing some security product manufacturers. A few compete with integrators, directly selling end users subscriptions to internet-based access control and video surveillance servers. Some now charge integrators monthly or yearly fees for access to door readers or cameras with subscription fees going to the manufacturer.  

One last thought: By delivering long-term value through RMR, integrators create a stronger bond with their clients. That's important in a competitive and ever-changing security industry.