Versatile Marketing Solutions, doing business as VMS Alarms, began operations in 2003 from president and CEO Jay Gotra’s apartment with a phone line and a business plan. Gotra previously worked for a large home alarm company, working his way up the corporate ladder, and earning every facet of the business. When that company split up, Versatile Marketing Solutions was formed.
Through hard work, dedication, and a hands-on approach, Gotra and his management team have created an infrastructure not seen in the security dealer market. The company continually developed administrative and sales employees, while enhancing and updating processes to manage growth.
From 2003-2006 VMS focused on sales and marketing, selling alarm systems through other alarm dealers in the Northeast. Over the three years, the company realized the weaknesses these alarm companies possessed, specifically in scheduling and customer service. To counter the weaknesses VMS added a technician of their own, with the right training and proper support system.
In June 2006, VMS received its first SBA guaranteed loan from Bank of America, which enabled the company to become VMS Alarms, a self-contained, full service alarm company with 10 technicians of their own, as well as a full customer service and scheduling department.
Since 2007, VMS has grown at a steady pace, utilizing technology to communicate efficiently between their sales offices in Rhode Island and developing key personnel in their infrastructure, which enabled the company to more than double every year.
In 2007, VMS generated $1.8 million in revenue and employed 35 employees. The following year the company enjoyed tremendous growth with revenues jumping 260 percent to $4.8 million. The number of employees also increased to 65. The company opened sales offices, joined Monitronics International, and began to grow installation coverage outside of New England into eight states, generating $12 million in revenue.
In 2009, VMS added 2 more external sales offices, and developed strong business relationships with small sales companies which they developed and added to their sales force.
In August 2009, VMS received a second SBA-guaranteed loan for $200,000 from Coastway Community Bank to purchase a 15,000 square foot office building where the company can properly maintain its senior sales and administrative support staff. VMS ended 2009 with $8.4 million in revenue and 70 employees.
VMS has settled into its new corporate headquarters and moved forward with the growth plans developed in 2009. The company has doubled the senior sales staff, adding 2 more states of installation coverage (totaling 11) and adding more than 120 full time administrative, installation, and sales positions between August 2009 and August 2010. VMS is projected to surpass $12 million in revenue and protect over 11,000 homes and families. The company is forecasting $19 million in revenue for 2011.
According to Gotra, the SBA-backed loans opened the doors for VMS to establish a well-organized, efficient, and professional environment that took the firm from a small start-up to a corporation with grounded roots. VMS’s growth is steady and controlled, balancing sales staff with administrative support systems.
The potential for additional SBA assistance exists because the company forecasts employing 350 full time and 150 part-time people by the end of 2014 in the Rhode Island area, and moving their headquarters into a larger building by the end of 2012.
For his demonstrated success and potential for continued growth, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to honor Jay Gotra as the 2011 Rhode Island and New England SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year.