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Community Highlights: Meet Ken Saberin of Saberin Security

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ken Saberin.

Hi Ken, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
If you live in Maryland, you know snow predictions far outpace reality. And so, with the ground barely covered, my brother and I asked neighbors if we could scrape the 3″ of disappointment from their lawns. Curious, several friends joined our teenage coalition. While my brother James leads the team in packing an optimal mix of powder and water into 5-gallon buckets, I used the resulting building blocks to construct a large tower. The walls were thick and durable enough to withstand numerous inspection punches without budging. An overnight freeze sealed the deal.

But, as they say, haters gonna hate. The giant, heavy, broken pieces of wall constituted a monument destroyed before the sun had its chance to rise above our construction and disapprove of the materials used. Like detectives, we noted multiple new boot prints on the ground and observed, with pride, marks from the axes wielded when kicking proved futile. “We’ll build another one,” I said, staring at the ruins. And we did. Our next snow tower rose two stories tall, requiring an extension ladder to reach the top.

Ten years later, during a midnight blizzard somewhere in New Jersey, our young business was gaining traction where our tiny work van, Lucille, was not. Cold and soaked, James shoveled out Lucille repeatedly until we reached our hotel. Sliding down the steep, unpaved lot, Lucille glided into a pile of snow that became her parking space until the morning presided over freshly plowed roads. Rising early to continue our month-long expedition, I stumbled out of the hotel to find James preheating and clearing off Lucille. With breakfast to-go, we drove to our next job-site, sipping coffee as salt filmed our windshield. “Still on schedule,” James remarked. And we both enjoyed a tired but satisfied smile like we had pulled off some feat the world wasn’t meant to know about.

Blizzard or not, before anyone would consider hiring a couple of brothers to secure their bank vaults and other assets, we needed experience and maybe a decent reputation. My personal debut into to the industry began years earlier while I was still in college for information systems security, a program covering the basics of everything from policy to encryption to computer networking. I funded my extravagant lifestyle of night classes and band practices by working for my favorite boss, Andy, the college locksmith. With his bushy beard and magnetic personality, Andy was something like Santa Clause, if the jolly fellow drove a Harley Davidson. His imagination brought our mischievous lock-shop puppet, Bromo, to life so convincingly, I half expected Bromo to blurt sassy comments even when Andy wasn’t around. When Andy recommended me for an apprenticeship with a local security contractor, Bromo was quick with a sarcastic interjection, which I reminded Bromo is why he’d never star on Sesame Street.

After installing, troubleshooting, and integrating security systems for prisons, military bases, embassies, and government buildings, I needed a new challenge. As resourceful security companies were bought and combined by investment groups and corporations, the soul of the industry was replaced by the belief fun is antithetical to doing one’s job. Observing the increasingly tedious, inefficient structures leading to anxious employees and frustrated clients, I suspected I could build a simpler, more high-tech company. And so, Saberin Security was born.

Today, we provide cloud-based security systems with professional installation, remote management, and on-site service. Our passion for quality work and elegant simplicity begins within our own organization and extends to our relationships with partners and clients. I still work closely with James, although we have different responsibilities. As an installation genius, James is basically the company rock star. Loaded with supplies, equipment, and an arsenal of power tools, James makes the toughest jobs appear elementary. In my imagination, clients release confetti when James arrives, knowing their properties are transforming into 21st-century models of convenience and autonomy. In reality, James is more likely to be greeted by mosquitoes, moldy basements, and unabashed heat. Still, you can’t work with James without feeling appreciated. Most mornings, he issues a text message instructing me to have a great day. I couldn’t ask for a better partner or brother. I’d love to say we finally built a real tower, not made of snow. I guess our adventure hasn’t reached that point yet. But I believe it will.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Our toughest issue, especially for the first several years, was finding clients and projects. My friends in the business happily introduced me to new connections whenever possible. Still, this industry is something like an invite-only party, which isn’t obvious from the outset. In fact, RFPs (requests for proposals) are easily found online. Joining several bidding sites kept me busy pouring over system requirements for state, federal, and private projects. And yet, after a year of quoting every inspection, maintenance, and installation contract involving security systems, I hadn’t won a single bid. Turns out, these contracts, or the people in charge of them, tend to seek out the desirable contractors, not the other way around. It’s more about being in the right position within the industry than about “going ham” on quotes.

Lesson learned, positioning our company for success meant finding a niche and building a brand. Narrowing our area of concentration meant asking, “where do we excel the most?” Before we doubled down on providing a refreshingly straightforward customer experience, I expected the answer to be something technical, given my background. But no, our greatest strength was simplifying processes. From software selection to project management to system design, we found the more we simplified, the more reliable our outcomes became. This leads to happier clients and more referrals. However, we soon discovered progress requires sacrifice.

Keeping it simple isn’t a new concept, but in order to remain authentic, we believe our own organization should reflect the experience we sell our clients. To this end, we’re systematically creating a progress-oriented workplace optimized for getting things done with maximum enjoyment and minimal hassle. Allowing frustrations to continue unchecked creates an emotional ripple effect, bleeding into our products and services. On the flip side, eliminating sources of frustration-while easier said than done-delivers a substantial payoff, or so we hope. Truth is, taking our values seriously requires making tough decisions. When clients force us to choose sanity over financial gain, the decision is easy, but the loss is real. Choosing to cut these clients means losing several hundred thousand dollars every year, but removing barriers to progress gives us more time for clients that value what we offer.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
We install and manage cloud-based physical security systems. Specifically, security cameras, door and elevator controls, alarm sensors, and visitor entry points. The beauty of remote system management is clients rarely need tech support, saving everyone a lot of time and frustration. On-site service is available as needed.

In addition to securing commercial spaces, we secure condo and apartment buildings for HOAs, management companies, and developers. We have a mix of new construction and retrofit projects.

We’re known for being really easy to work with. In construction, we’re also known for completing projects on schedule without surprises. We play well with other contractors and take time to do jobs correctly. When we make a mistake, we take responsibility and fix the issue. Basically, we’re professional.

I’m probably the most proud of our reputation within the industry for making an art out of our installations. I suppose you could say it’s our signature. We have a uniquely elegant style based on three principles: it should work, it should be serviceable, it should be beautiful. This is most noticeable in our wiring, which clients rarely see, but other contractors seem to appreciate.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs or other resources you think our readers should check out?
I read books most evenings, but I also love audiobooks and podcasts.

For business, the most useful book I’ve read is called ‘Good to Great,’ a deep dive into the differences in leadership and decision-making between great companies and “okay” companies.

It’s only 18 episodes, but James Fratzke produced a highly engaging podcast called ‘Leaders.’ It’s similar to the show ‘Impact Theory,’ where the host interviews entrepreneurs and unpacks their philosophies and secrets to success.

I’ve listened to many hours of Patrick Bet-David breaking down the fundamentals of business in his YouTube show, ‘Valuetainment.’ He produces a wide range of content, but his how-to videos are a gold mine for entrepreneurs, explaining how to create business plans, hire assistants, and retain the best employees.

For personal enjoyment, I do read novels. I especially enjoy the fictional adventures by Alexandre Dumas. However, I also read competing political philosophies, religious texts, history, psychology, and currently, my dad’s autobiography.

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