Start a Burglar Bar & Security Gate Business

Making money from government incompetence is big business in SA: private healthcare, load-shedding solutions and of course the R100 billion a year security industry. The private security industry alone accounts for almost half of that; armed to the teeth, with more personnel than SAPS and the SANDF combined, they could probably stage a coup and overthrow the government if they wanted to. But while they are far faster than SAPS in getting to you there is still that period of time where they will need to get to your place. This is where first lines of defence, physical barriers like burglar bars and safety gates come in: to alert you to a potential intruder giving you time to press the panic button, get your gun, scream or alert neighbours. Safety gates protect doors while burglar bars protect windows.

Market Need
South Africa is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, with astronomical murder and rape statistics, some of which happen during the course of a home invasion. While burglar bars and security gates won’t keep burglars out if they have enough time when you not home. They do offer some “protection” when the homeowner is home or when they sleeping in the sense that the noise required to pry them open will alert or wake the homeowner.

Supply Value Logistics Chain Analysis (to establish business model)
There are a few opportunities in this industry:
Supply of raw materials and equipment
Supply of raw materials: Metal, steel, wrought iron, steel etc.
Supply or rental of equipment to manufacture and install: welders, drills etc.
Manufacture of standard-sized burglar bars and safety gates
Manufacture of custom made burglar bars and safety gates
Transport of manufactured burglar bars and safety gates to the place of installation
Proper installation of burglar bars and safety gates

As you can see from the analysis that this is an industry that a small business can get into. The supply of raw materials is capital intensive, while manufacture does require a certain skill set. With manufacture, a low-cost model can be adopted (standard-sizes) or a differential or premium model for custom, high-value premises.

The installation requires the least skill and is the easiest to get into from a capital and skills perspective. You can either install “off-the-shelf” or standard-size burglar bars and safety gates or you can inject yourself into the value chain of a custom manufacturer. Most times a large manufacturer specialises in the manufacture and will outsource the installation, which may not be the case in this industry for the reason that I already stated that it is not outside the capabilities for a business in this industry to be small enough to be manufacture and install.

Most houses in South Africa already look like Pollsmoor, in that case, there might be a better opportunity to upgrade or reinforce existing burglar bars and security gates. The biggest market is probably new houses, renovations, extensions, developments. Burglar bars and security gates are standard. Like I said before even if you live in a complex with heavily armed security, that security must still get to you once you’ve alerted them. This is also a business in which service providers are usually sourced within a certain area, it is expensive to courier a gate and also the person doing the installation is not going to be sourced from or travel very far. You start with your area analysis, then neighbouring areas, if you going to make custom bars and gates then your target market will be your closest affluent area.

Image credit: mmminimal