Understanding The PERS Industry


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Before We Get Started

There will be links throughout this article to additional resources for PERS devices and PERS monitoring. You can click on the bullet points in the table of contents to jump to the section that you would like to read.

This article is designed to provide an overview of what you need to know about PERS, how they are monitored, some of the systems to look into, and what they can do you for business, your family and you.

What is a PERS device?

PERS stands for Personal Emergency Response System. The term is synonymous with medical emergency devices. This is a small device that is used to request help from a monitoring center in the event of an emergency. The monitoring center can alert family and emergency medical services to help the individual. There are two main types of medical alert devices: traditional and mobile.


Traditional PERS Devices

Traditional PERS units are non-mobile units comprised of three main components: a small transmitter (pendant) usually worn around the neck of the individual, a hub that is connected to the phone line in the home, and the monitoring center that will contact the individual, the individual’s family, or emergency medical services (EMS) in the event of a fall or accident. These devices are meant to only be used inside of the individual’s home.

No need to charge
Good audio reception
Works when power is out 
User's mobility is limited
Landline outages are long
Installation is required
Need a landline

Mobile PERS Devices

A mobile PERS device (mPERS) can be used in the home as well, but these operate over cell networks for contacting the monitoring center and use GPS technology to locate the individual. If an individual leaves the house wearing the mobile pendant and falls, the device can use the GPS to alert family or medical services where the person is located. Not all mPERS have GPS tracking, and that feature usually costs extra.

Single button operation 
Greater range of mobility
Battery Life
Usually waterproof
Easy to install 
No landline needed
More Expensive than landline
Signal could be poor depending on location

Learn more about the differences between GPS vs cellular locating tech here


What is PERS Monitoring?

Before you can officially begin business and collect revenue, you must first legalize yourself, with the state(s) you will operate in, the federal government, and companies’ products you may be installing. These are essential steps that both legitimize your operation, and establish you as someone worthy of properly installing systems in homes and businesses.

As people setup and wear their medical emergency devices, someone needs to be monitoring them in the event they have to use the device. When a fall is detected or an individual presses the pendant for help, the central monitoring station is alerted and responds to the call. 

The monitoring side of PERS is much more complicated to navigate than the customer side. False alarms and unwanted dispatches are a common problem that PERS monitoring centers have to deal with.

AvantGuard has put together a standard operating procedure (SOP) guide to handle emergency response scenarios. This helps AvantGuard filter through false alarms and send dispatch only when needed. These standards come from experience and lessons learned from past scenarios. You can find the SOPs guide here.

AvantGuard adheres to the best practices for PERS monitoring. We constantly evaluate our process and never cut any corners. We always keep our subscribers in mind first.

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Why Get Into The PERS Industry?

There are three main reasons to get into the PERS industry:

  1. As medical advancements continue to progress, the average life-span gets longer, so more and more people will eventually need or consider a PERS device.
  2. According to Seniorliving.org there are an estimated 47 million senior citizens, but only a small percent have a medical alert device.
  3. There will always be a need for PERS devices.

Learn How To Generate Leads For Your PERS Business


Who Should Your Business Target for PERS Devices?

The fastest growing demographic is people over 60 years old. People are living longer and the cost of healthcare is more expensive than it ever has been before.

Senior Citizens

These devices are mostly used for senior citizens living alone, or want to remain in their home instead of being placed in assisted living or a nursing home. These devices shouldn’t be thought of as simple fall detection monitors, but as a way for a senior citizen to call for help in the event of any emergency: a fall, a sudden medical condition emergency, getting lost or forgetting where they are. 

Medical emergency devices are a much more inexpensive alternative to a nursing home or assisted living. Consider this, according to LongTermCare.gov, the average cost in 2016 for placing a person in a nursing home was between $6,844 to $7,698. For an assisted living facility, the cost is around $3,628. And the cost of healthcare has only climbed since those stats.

Lone Workers

Lone workers make up about 15% percent of the workforce, or roughly 53 million people. These are employees that work either in isolation, or with few workers without direct or close supervision. Contractors, field workers, truck drivers and social workers are a few of those fields. In some cases these employees work with hazardous materials and in dangerous situations. In the event of an emergency, a PERS device might be their only life-line to help. With little to no contact with other employees, dealers should focus efforts on ways to market PERS products to these people.

Non-Seniors with Unpredictable Medical Conditions

This could be anyone from 15 to 65 that have a medical condition that doesn’t allow them to live independently. This demographic may have a heart condition, seizures, or other unpredictable illnesses. Assisted living can be far too costly, and a PERS device could be a great solution for these individuals.

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What’s The Initial Cost of Starting a PERS Business?

So, you’ve done your market research and now you want to become a PERS dealer, but you don’t know where to start. One of the first things you’ll need to do is get in contact with a PERS wholesaler, such as Freeus to get in contact with their dealer program. They’ll provide you with the initial cost of their devices, which you can expect anywhere from $70 to $100 per device. Depending on how many clients your business has, you can do the math as to how many devices you’ll need and the cost. Now you need to find out how much it will cost to have a central station monitor those devices. 

PERS Monitoring Pricing

If your business is looking to get into PERS industry or would like to find out how much it would cost to add to your existing business, AvantGuard has a pricing tool to help provide on idea on pricing for monitoring PERS devices. Finding out how much it will cost is only one of the steps to starting a successful PERS business. Getting your PERS business insured is another important step.

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Insuring Your PERS Business 

A common question asked is “what insurance do I need for my PERS business?” There are two things that are needed to insure a PERS business: 

  • General Liability
  • Professional Liability (E&O insurance)

General Liability

General liability protects the dealer in terms of bodily injury and property damage coming from the premises, operations and products. General liability also includes person injury and advertising liability.

Important note: This insurance does NOT cover the dealer from an error or omission, or a perceived error or omission.

What does this mean? Simply because the dealer does everything correctly, without omissions or mistakes, it does not prevent a lawsuit from happening. The user has the right to sue the dealer for receiving “bad advice.” Also, general liability will not cover the cost to defend one’s self. But professional liability (E&O) will.

Professional Liability (E&O)

The main point of professional liability is to cover financial losses. It also protects the dealer against the possibility that they made an error or omission. The best way to think of professional liability is like a doctor’s malpractice insurance policy; sometimes mistakes are made, but the insurance protects the dealer from those mistakes coming back to haunt them. 

The Insurance Center offers a unique insurance program for PERS companies. It is a great way to get the correct coverage for a PERS business. Watch this webinar on custom insurance solutions for your PERS business to find out more.

Click here to read the article on Insuring Your PERS Business


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How Does My Company Profit From PERS?

There are two ways for a dealer to profit from PERS devices and services. The first is to sell the device outright to your customer. You will make instant profit, but that’s where the flow of income stops. The second option is to lease the systems to your customers. You can bill your customers on a monthly basis and have a constant flow of revenue coming in. It will take a few months of service to cover the initial costs to start the business, but leasing your devices will bring continue to bring in revenue and make your PERS company profitable.

Click here for help on how to market your PERS business


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How To Answer Common Customer Questions

Are Medical Alert Systems Covered by Medicare?

According to TheSeniorList.com, medical alert systems are not covered by Medicare. This may vary by state, but the general answer is no. The cost will likely have to come out of pocket. 

How Do I Get a Medical Alert System?

Freeus is a wholesale provider for medical alert systems. One of the easiest ways to get a PERS device is to visit Freeus and fill out the form. It takes only a minute or two to get signed up.

Freeus also offers a mobile app for their Belle+ tracking device. If you already have a Belle+ device, you can click here to download the app.

How Do Medical Alert Devices Work?

When an individual is in need of assistance, whether they have fallen or got lost, they press the small receiver (pendant) to alert the monitoring company and the monitoring company will contact the individual, family or EMS for dispatch. It’s the same concept as being in a hospital bed and pressing the nurse button for assistance.

Many devices are now installed with fall protection. These are sensors that monitor the speed of movement in any direction. So, when an individual takes a spill and is unable to press the pendant, the sensor can automatically send a signal to the monitoring center.

Click here to learn more about PERS products


How Much Does a Medical Alert System Cost?

The cost of a PERS device does vary, but roughly $25-$50 a month is the base-line for the device. If you take the high end of that price and do the math for an annual basis, that’s $600 compared to the $3,600+ of assisted living. 

If you are still on the fence about using a medical device for one reason or another, read our story on how the Belle+ medical emergency device saved an elderly woman after she fainted in her home. She was all alone, unconscious and badly injured. She says “If it wasn’t for my PERS device, I would be dead.”

Click here to read the full story 


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We hope to educate our potential partners, dealers, and any individual that are interested in PERS. Each section above only briefly touch on the various aspects of the PERS world. For further education on this topic, please look into all of the addition content throughout the guide to gain as much knowledge as possible on PERS and mPERS.

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