Scott McQuarrie got started in the security industry in 1990, working for Honeywell. After a couple of years, he decided to start his own security company, installing alarm systems, camera systems and card access, with a lot of large commercial business. Then he got into system design and completed airports, government facilities, classified work, military bases, as well as thousands of businesses and a lot of homes.
He sold that company and started an online company called EZ Watch Pro in 2004 and grew that into a large national supplier of video surveillance equipment. Scott McQuarrie sold that company to Honeywell in 2010. He then decided to come back into the market and purchased Backstreet Surveillance in 2016, where they do professional system design for homes and businesses. They package the system, ship them out to the customer and they install it themselves. If they need any help, they call Backstreet and the support technicians help them with anything they need.
In what free time he finds, Scott enjoys gold prospecting in the desert in Nevada and New Mexico. He likes the idea of being in the middle of nowhere, alone, the solitude of it all, let’s him clear his head some. It’s also good physical work, too.
How did you get started doing surveillance and what inspired you to purchase Backstreet Surveillance?
I have an Electrical Engineering Degree, so I was hired by Honeywell as a commercial sales rep, I did system design and large commercial designs. I have quite a knack for it and did them quite well. Each design has to be completely unique for the business, so you have to have the knowledge and apply it to each customer. Having knowledge of these systems and designs for over a decade has allowed us to beat customers expectations as we provide these unique systems and apply it to the average person them and allow the do-it-yourself install. This is a high-quality service and we know the clients feel the same.
How do you make money?
We make money by pre-packaging video surveillance systems and selling them to end users for easy install.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Because of my experience, and having worked within the industry, we were profitable in about two months.
When you were first starting out with Backstreet was there a time that you doubted it was going to work? If so, how’d you handle it?
Luckily, the business model is the same as my previous company, so I was confident that it would work. The only challenge that I really found was Google. Because we are an online marketing company, Google had the lion share of our advertising. I left the market in2010 and when I joined again in 2016, we found that Google had really taken a hostile stance towards small businesses. It was very hard to cost effectively drive traffic to our website. We have no figured out the best route possible, but that certainly was a challenge at the beginning.
How did you get your first customer?
Online marketing, pay-per-clicks.
What is one marketing strategy, beyond referrals, that you’re using that’s working really well to generate new business?
There are many ways to grow our company. First of all, video surveillance system as a whole can grow around 30 percent in the first year. Once someone purchases a system, they are finding other ways to use the cameras and really see the value, so they will continue to add to their system. Because of the quality of the service, we do well with referrals.
Second of all, we drive around two thousand people a day to our website through pay-per-lick and display advertising on Google and Bing. As you can see, our website provides a lot of education information, which tends to have people come back to educate themselves some more. Our YouTube videos are very successful, we have almost gotten four million views. The videos include examples of our client’s experience and how the surveillance has helped as well as educational videos on how to install and the benefits. We also have an email marketing program that people have opted in, we’ll blast specials that have going on and that works well too.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
I would say selecting future products and projecting where the market’s going to go.
What do you think makes you successful?
I really enjoy the security industry and love what I do, which is always a key to success. People rarely leave the industry once they get in and build tenure. It’s a respected industry, its valuable and there will always be a need for it. When the economy is bad, people are buying security and surveillance to protect their assets because crime may have risen. When the economy is good, people are building and expanding their office. It is rarely unstable.
The thing I like best day-to-day is each customer we work with is different, so one design is different than another. We have to listen to the customer and understand what they want to achieve, and then we apply it to the facility. The design has to match what they want to achieve in regards to the facility and how the system would be installed.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
What I love most is when customers ask my technicians and sales agents to speak with a manager to thank them for their work and let them know what great employee we have and how much we have helped.
What does the future hold for Backstreet Surveillance, and what are you most excited about?
What I’m most excited about is I’ve been doing this for 27 years, and finally the video surveillance performance, the performance of the equipment, meets and exceeds customer expectations. The days of blurry video are gone. Now we have systems where you get facial identification at 100 feet, read license plates. What I like most for the future is exceeding customer expectations, and I expect that to continue.
I’m excited about the new technologies coming out. We’ve got color night vision systems, the remote viewing features, clarity and the new applications people are finding for video surveillance.
What business books have inspired you?
Technical magazines, a few inspirational books. The first book I ever read that really motivated me early on was called Think and Grow Rich, which was written in the 1920s. Other than that, usually technical books and I’ll actually buy college-based books on accounting or business management and I’ll read those as if I was in the class, because there’s a lot to absorb that way.
What is a recent purchase that you’ve made to help with Backstreet Surveillance?
We’re having a new website built that’s going to be more mobile friendly. We have a lot of technology and information on our site, and it’s been designed around the older things. We’re going to be launching, in a few weeks, a new mobile friendly version, where people will be able to comfortably sit, read, and educate themselves on mobile devices, with all the information on our site. That’s a big one. There’re new technologies coming out, wireless technologies, that will allow us to transmit video miles, cost effectively.
What makes Backstreet Surveillance different?
We’re expert security people. We have extensive experience designing and troubleshooting video surveillance systems. We take that expertise and we package it so that a beginner user can cost effectively install the system, that’s effective for their application. We back that up with lifetime technical support and the industry’s longest warranty, which is five years. When you take expert design, professional equipment, expert technical support, the industry’s longest warranty, that’s true value for the end user who really wants to get the biggest bang for their buck.
Our technicians can actually remotely log into the system and troubleshoot the system for the customer. We can help with programming remotely, we can troubleshoot image problems remotely. With the technology and tools that we have in place, it’s almost like having a technician on-site. We’re a USA based company, and all of our people are here and trained on our products.