Story by Donna Reges Hall
Security and technology ensures the future of local business
These two words are all that is needed to encapsulate the excitement and energy of Power Home Technologies, according to CEO Ben Brookhart.
“Everything we do, when someone does well or needs encouragement, it’s always ‘Boom Baby!’ It means great job! That’s awesome! It’s our statement, our signature.”
Brookhart has reason to be excited. His company, which specializes in home security systems, started in an apartment in Richmond, Va., in 2004 with three employees and today has grown to over 17 locations and over 250 employees. The company is now on the West Coast and plans on continuing to expand to more locations.
Ninety-five percent of Power Home Technologies’ business is in residential security, installing monitor alarm systems, and the other 5 percent is small business security, along with CCTV (Closed Circuit Television system). The company’s headquarters are in Raleigh, and they are also fully licensed to operate in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Colorado, as well as their newest addition, California.
Brookhart says that his typical client is usually a new homeowner who is either purchasing a new construction home or someone who has just moved from out of town and bought an existing home.
“We’re very lucky here with the economy and with all the locations,” he says. “The Southeast has really been a great market. Our business has continued to grow every single year. That’s one thing about security, our business thrives when the economy is down because crime is up, and it thrives when the economy is good because more people have things they’re buying and want to have protected. We win both ways. “
Brookhart describes his company as a highly motivated sales organization that is full of great people that have goals. He says his job is to help them hit those goals and to achieve the success they want in life. It’s a tightly knit group.
“I’ve got the best employees and the best team,” Brookhart says. “That’s what PHT is all about. We are like a family. We barbecue together, we go to sporting events together, we do a lot of things.”
Brookhart is proud of his Power Home Technologies’ inclusion on the Inc. 5000 list.
“That is one of my biggest accomplishments for the company,” he says. “Making the list in 2009 and hitting 305 out of thousands and thousands, and to follow it up the next year, even though we were further down, we still made it.”
It was a circuitous route that led Brookhart into the security system business. From Indiana originally, he played college baseball at a small school in Michigan, but his career was cut short by a shoulder injury during his sophomore year. After finishing that season, Brookhart earned a two year associate degree in business and decided to leave the Midwest. He settled in Charlotte where a cousin lived and pursued sales since he knew he liked talking to people.
Brookhart was hired by Craftmatic Beds but just before starting that job, he happened to talk with his cousin’s best friend, a commercial property manager, who had recently signed a lease with a large security company called West Tech Security. Brookhart took the friend up on his offer to make an introduction.
“The next day, I called the West Tech office at 9 a.m. and a gentleman by the name of Greg Stokes, who became my mentor, answered the phone,” explains Brookhart. “We started talking about basketball. I’m from Indiana, he’s from Alabama. One thing led to another, and here we go, I put my suit on and I go for an interview. Two hours later, I walk out after I’ve signed new hire paperwork to do full commission sales knocking on doors selling security systems, which I knew nothing about. I walked out of there and said to myself, ‘what did I do?’ But I was so excited about the opportunity because Greg Stokes, the general manager, had gotten me excited. He showed me a lot of opportunities.”
Brookhart worked for West Tech Security for two years until they were bought out by ADT. In 1997, at the age of 20, he says he knew there wasn’t any further opportunity to grow, so he decided to start his own company. Brookhart relates advice his father once gave him, “Son, if you always do what you’ve already done, you’ll always have what you’ve already got.” He says this motto has pushed him to try and always accomplish new things.
“Power Home has been in business for seven years,” explains Brookhart. “Prior to that, I had a previous company called Select Security Services. I sold Select Security Services and thought I was going to get out of the business, and I quickly found that you can’t really get out of this business, because it keeps bringing you back in. The group of people who bought my company didn’t really run it properly and they ended up going out of business, so it gave me an opportunity to get back into the business and all the sales reps that had worked with me wanted to come back, so it was like divine intervention.
Because Power Home Technologies’ employees work on full commission doing door to door sales, not an easy feat, Brookhart feels a serious responsibility to keep them motivated.
“Our business is all about people,” he says. “All of our security consultants are full commission, so to hire somebody and to sit them down and let them know that they’re basically unemployed everyday they walk into the office, you have to have a really dynamic person in that office that is always encouraging, motivating, uplifting, and keeping that rep excited about that opportunity.”
Brookhart says the door-to-door nature of his company capitalizes on people’s interest in home security by making things easy for them.
“Security is everywhere,” he says. “People talk about it, they think about it. They procrastinate though. They see the commercial on TV and the husband may look to the wife and say, ‘Honey, don’t you think we should get one of those?’ She might say yeah, but then they don’t do anything about it. Until we come up, knock at their door and offer them a promotion to have our system installed at low to no cost, and then they just pay a monthly service. We do around 800 installs a month.“
Power Home Technologies goes to great lengths to get the best employees and to ensure that they are trustworthy.
“Absolutely every sales rep we hire goes through a complete background check, local and nationwide, fingerprints, drug testing,” says Brookhart. “We want to make sure that when we hire somebody and we train them to go and talk about security and they’re in somebody’s home, they are licensed with the state. Most states have regulated the security business. North Carolina has the private protective services so each one of our reps has to be registered through them. That’s very important. There’s a lot of companies out there that don’t do that and they just hire anybody off of the street. We take a lot of pride in having great quality, career-minded people working for us and that’s shown with the numbers that we produce.”
Like himself, Brookhart says that many of his best sales reps are people that come in having never sold anything in their lives.
“They come from a different industry; they come in and they believe in the product and then with the support of the management team we motivate them, we encourage them,” he says. “They come into our office everyday knowing that they are going to be uplifted. They’re going to feel great about who they are and what they’re doing, and that’s what we want. We want people to want to come into the office and sit down and talk to the manager and have them tell a story that makes them laugh, makes them smile, gets them excited, because once they walk out of that door, that’s the real world and they’re going to hear “no” a lot of times and it just takes the one yes to make that sale that day.
Brookhart’s energy and passion for his work are evident, and he spreads this enthusiasm around liberally.
“My most important job is being in touch with my management team and my sales reps. I can’t be everywhere, but I go around and I do sales meetings and I encourage everybody and try to motivate them, and get them excited about life and tell them my story. I let them know that they can accomplish anything they want to if they put their mind to it, and that failure is not an option. Your worst enemy is yourself. You can do anything you want to do as long as you believe in who you are. We also have a saying that we tell our reps to say everyday: ‘I love myself, I love myself, I love myself.’ When you say that three times, guaranteed you will always smile. A smile just changes everything about how you feel.”
Brookhart says the future holds amazing new developments in his field.
“We’re really excited about the technology in the industry right now. When we talk about home security you think about a keypad, a motion detector, door contacts, and that’s traditionally the way it has been for years,” he says. “Now there’s a lot of new products out there that get the customer more involved in their security with home automation services and energy efficiency savings.”
Power Home Technologies is aligned with Alarm.com, a company that uses Z-Wave technology to give off an alarm signal via cellular transmission. This is an important offering since many people do not have home telephone lines these days. Z-Wave technology also offers the ability to control many home features from one’s Smartphone, including locks, lighting, and thermostat settings.
“The technology has really brought the name of our company full circle, because when we started this company, I knew that we were going to be more than just a security company,” explains Brookhart. “At the time that is all that we were offering, but I knew somewhere down the road we were going to be more than just a security company. That’s why we left security out of our name and we left Power Home, and we are Power Home Technologies. We bring technology to your home and we offer you the best innovative products that are out there.”