Long-Term Success Attributed to Solid Relationships with Customers

Writer  /  Matt Keating
Photography Provided

Frank Rhoades, owner of Cottage Watchman, believes having solid relationships with customers is the key to a company’s long-term success.

“We work really hard to make sure our customers are taken care of,” Rhoades says. “We have always tried to make sure they are treated fairly, and that they are happy with us.”

Rhoades and his staff have followed that philosophy since the family-owned business started in 1977.

“We are still operating Cottage Watchman on the same family farm,” Rhoades says. “The office we are currently in used to be a chicken coop building many years ago. The security system business started when I was selling pressure washers and generators to farmers back in the 1970s.  One of my customers asked me three times if I could work on some alarms he had and fix them. He wanted me to repair them and put them in some barns he had. I didn’t know very much about alarms back then, but I learned fast.”

Rhoades even worked on the security messages for his customers.

“I pre-recorded messages on eight-track cartridges, and told farmers their power was going out,” Rhoades says.

Cottage Watchman started getting more commercial work in the 1980s and increased their amount of business.

“In 1983, I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, and had to hire a kid to do a lot of the physical work with our security systems,” he says.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a rare condition in which your immune system attacks your nerves, leading to muscle weakness, and even paralysis.

The illness didn’t stop Rhoades. He got better, and later in the 1990s, he started working with builders’ associations, and started doing more residential work, while still expanding the company’s commercial security business.

His son, Jason, later took over the business. Rhoades says he has done an excellent job.

“I’m still involved in Cottage Watchman,” Rhoades says. “Our goal is still to make the customer happy. Until I take care of the customer I have now, I don’t deserve the second one.”

Rhoades noted that their “goal is to provide customer satisfaction through meeting the customer’s specific needs and taking care of the customer after the sale.”

With their commercial clients, Cottage Watchman has a “Commercial Watchman” division, which provides access control, motion sensors, alarm monitoring, intrusion detection, camera and video surveillance, fire alarm systems, networking/fiber solutions, and cell signal boosters.

“We know a lot of our clients are budget conscious, so we offer them the best choices that fit with what they want,” Rhoades says.

With residential clients, Cottage Watchman offers new doorbell systems, driveway monitors, security systems, alarm monitors, easy web access, remote access, fire systems, furnace failure monitoring, low temperature sensors, and water sensors.

“We really offer you everything to protect your home while you are not there,” he says. “The motion sensors set off an alarm if there is an intruder in your home. Our door contacts are sensors that set off an alarm if a door is opened by an intruder. We really have everything you need to keep your home safe.”

Cottage Watchman is located at 883 S. 900 E. in Pierceton. For more information, visit cottagewatchman.com or call them at 574-594-2685.