“Humbling. Stressful. Mentally crushing, but in a good way. I couldn’t be happier with how things have ended up.”
This is how Chad Arner, Owner, and Corey Beauregard, VP of Operations, describe the last 15 months running franchise #161, St. Petersburg, FL. Arner also owns #312, Longmont/Loveland, CO, but became the sole owner of the Florida franchise after his father, Mark passed away in early 2022. Since then, Arner and Beauregard have taken every challenge that has come their way head on and seen tremendous growth and success.
“I came onboard in August 2020 to run the Colorado franchise,” Arner said, “I was at the Denver Police Academy when COVID shut it down. I didn’t want to sit on my laurels and do nothing, so I asked if Signal had anything in this area and, just by happenstance there was no franchise where I was living so it worked out perfectly. Then my dad was getting into his 60s and he wanted to make a retirement plan, but our plan was to phase him out and me in over 6 years.”
That plan, of course, didn’t happen, and Arner was, in his words, “kind of thrown to the wolves.”
“But I couldn’t be happier with how things are now,” Arner said, “There’s certain aspects where I’m a lot like Mark, since I’m his son. But in a lot of ways, I’m not. He had many ways of doing things that I never bothered to ask about since I didn’t need to know. So, the first 60 days were just Corey and me doing nothing but going through things like bookkeeping and saying, ‘Oh good, guess we have to deal with this now!’”
Arner, who lives in Colorado, works closely with Beauregard, who lives in Florida, and said his help has been essential to the success of the franchise.
“I travel back and forth to Florida all the time, but I couldn’t do this without Corey,” Arner said, “He’s been an absolute godsend.”
Beauregard joined Signal in 2019 as an officer working under their previous director of Operations.
“While my dad was in the hospital Corey started growing into the operations role and Mark saw the aptitude he had right away. It was certainly not planned to be as accelerated as it was, but you’ve got to deal with the cards you’re given.”
The majority of the team’s contracts are for multi-family housing, which Arner and Beauregard say has helped with their growth.
“Property management is a very small world,” Arner said, “and they move constantly, and our property managers are going to their friends, sister sites, even competitors and saying, ‘whoever you’ve got, quit wasting your money, go give Chad and Corey a call and get the real deal.’”
Beauregard said that the team’s responsive attitude has garnered praise and appreciation from current clients.
“They know they can contact me day or night,” he said, “That’s a big thing for them. They can call and get something done with one phone call. They don’t have to call and talk to an officer, then a manager and so on to get something done.”
Arner also says that, because he originally worked in Colorado, he’s able to appreciate and take advantage of the regulated nature of the Florida security industry.
“Florida is really a more robust, structured and functional market compared to Colorado,” he said, “In Florida we can show up and show how we do things, how we bill, our licenses, examples. We often redact real patrol reports and show them to potential clients as examples, we can say, ‘If this isn’t what you’re receiving every morning, you aren’t getting what you should get.’”
Communication is also a key part of the success seen in St. Petersburg. Arner and Beauregard are in contact almost all day, discussing problems, ideas and contracts in Florida. Arner is also working on building a relationship and growing communication with local police departments in St. Petersburg, something the franchise in Colorado has.
“We’re actually part of the crime free housing program in Colorado and liaison with the local police department,” Arner said, “But those are connections I had prior, because of my emergency service background. In Florida we did not have that, and we did not get along well with law enforcement at all two years ago. Just the fact that we’re putting the effort in, we’re doing the job quote unquote right and we’re being diligent on delivering what we promised and admitting what we can’t.”
The team has seen many of the same staffing challenges franchises across the country are facing. Arner focuses on finding staff that are passionate about their job and training them using the core values.
“We’ve really pushed to find staff that are passionate and to train passionately,” he said, “We’re trying to train more towards here’s why you do something, not just what you’re doing. it’s made a fundamental shift in how they perform and how they pursue our duties when you introduce the why.
As things calm down in St. Petersburg and the team finds their footing, Arner is looking forward to the franchise’s future.
“We’ve had a lot of opportunities come knocking, especially after Ian struck,” he said, “I’m excited to see what that brings us because I don’t think we’ve even reached the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we can turn #161 into in the coming months.”