Conversation on board flight leads to new business venture
by Sheri Kell
business@mdjonline.com
November 11, 2012 12:37 AM | 4231 views | 2 2 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
John Loud, CEO of Loud Security Systems, stands at his business in Kennesaw. Loud, a Massachusetts native, relocated to Powder Springs in 1991 to become a flight attendant with Delta Airlines, but would not stay in the airline industry for long after a chance meeting with a Delta passenger.
John Loud, CEO of Loud Security Systems, stands at his business in Kennesaw. Loud, a Massachusetts native, relocated to Powder Springs in 1991 to become a flight attendant with Delta Airlines, but would not stay in the airline industry for long after a chance meeting with a Delta passenger.
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KENNESAW — Today, Loud Security is a well-known business in Cobb, with 42 employees and projected fiscal 2012 revenues of $4 million.

And founder John Loud started the company the way a lot of entrepreneurs do — at home in his spare hours, while also working full-time at another job.

The Massachusetts native had relocated to Powder Springs in 1991 to be a flight attendant with Delta Airlines, a job he took while attaining his commercial pilot’s license. Ironically, it was a license he earned but did not use for long because of a passenger with whom Loud had a chance conversation.

“A passenger talked to me about businesses that have recurring monthly revenues,” recalls Loud. Intrigued, he did some research and found that the three top businesses in this category were money managers, insurance agencies and alarm companies.

Loud says he attended a state alarm association show and learned where to buy equipment. And in 1995, he took out a personal loan for $20,000 to start Loud Security. With residential construction booming, he assembled start-up alarm packages that he gave to Realtors to use as a gift to the home owner at closing.

“My real cost was $500 per home — all in hopes of getting a $25 monthly (monitoring) check,” Loud said.

He says it only took him six months to pay off the loan. In 2002, he moved out of his home and into 3,703-square-foot offices in the Barrett Commons office park off of Roberts Road near Barrett and Cobb Parkways.

This year, the company expects revenues of $4 million.

He says it was the references from real estate agents that garnered him relationships with builders and allowed him to identify customers.

“I marketed to the five people involved in home sales: the builder, the inspector, the insurance agent, the mortgage lender, and the real estate agent,” said Loud.

From 1999 to 2008, his firm worked with 40-plus builders who wired new homes as an upgrade to the house plan. Loud said in addition to the wiring necessary for the alarm system, they offer wiring for intercoms, and whole-house audio and theater systems, which are common in high-end homes.

Then, as Loud describes it, “the world changed.” The once-booming residential housing industry came to a halt. “It was hold and freeze,” said Loud. “We had to redevelop ourselves.”

He credits northeast Cobb commissioner JoAnn Birrell for her “Keep it in Cobb” campaign, which helped him regroup and implement a full-scale marketing campaign to local homeowners.

Loud said his firm re-engineered its website, began running cable television advertising, and implemented advertising programs with the Braves and little league fields county-wide; as well as marketed themselves at every festival and home show.

While the marketing campaign has been successful, he says Cobb still has plenty of room for growth.

“There are 85,000 registered alarm users in Cobb — we have 6,000 total monitoring customers, and they are not all in Cobb,” he said.

The company recently bought a 10,000-square-foot building in the same complex and moved into remodeled space. The company has grown to 42 employees and Loud said second quarter sales are up 84 percent over the same quarter last year.

He says 30 percent his business now comes from commercial and municipal contracts. His company monitors the security systems in The Strand, the Marietta History Museum, the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art and Marietta Diner restaurant. In the last 45 days, he has also signed contracts with several builders, including John Wieland, Beazer and D.R. Horton.

Loud says his firm is now ranked seventh in size in their category in the metro area and he projects revenues this year to be $4 million, besting last year’s $3.3 million.

R.J. Patel, founder of Kennesaw-based Prestigious Cleaning Team and a past president of the Kennesaw Business Association, said is a friend and client of Loud’s.

“John is a smart man because he hires people that are smarter than him,” Patel said. “He has super people and if I have issues, they are there.”

Loud said his company focuses on one thing: “Protecting people and their stuff.”

Comments
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JoEllen Smith
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November 17, 2012
John is a strong community-oriented person and he attends all the local small business events. I really do believe in Commissioner Birrell's "Keep It In Cobb" program and am thinking of switching companies just because he's a Cobb biz. Think of this, he changed locations twice as he grew, always getting a bigger space. All that property tax is going to us to help support our schools, libraries, public safety etc.
Mark Zangari
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November 12, 2012
I was dealing with an Atlanta based company, but made the decision to "Keep It In Cobb" and switched to Loud. I am extremely pleased with their service and just renewed my annual contract. I've also visited their new facility and was very impressed. Congratulations to John Loud and staff for the growth of your company.
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