INTERVIEW WITH…Chris Lovemore, CEO and co-founder of Elf Rentals.

FEBRUARY 18, 2015

Any businessman who reads the daily newspaper headlines will understand that there is a need for better security solutions for companies, residential estates and campuses in South Africa.

Port Elizabeth-based Elf Rentals is revolutionising the security industry by ensuring that their clients never experience downtime. They have distinguished themselves in the market by removing upfront payments and assuming the financial risk of installing and maintaining security systems for their clients. The company offers two packages – on a full-rental or maintenance-only basis.

Explain what makes Elf Rentals unique in the security industry?

Elf Rentals was started 20 years ago due to the increasing demand for reliable management and servicing of electronic security.

What we do is we invest in our client’s security – not through a bank, but we literally put up our own money. We then turn that money into an annuity over a few years and the client pays us an agreed rate on a monthly basis. Included in the deal is a 24-hour guarantee that the system would not fail.

Unlike a situation where you have a contract that is favourable to us and not to the client, we offer a contract that effectively says; “don’t pay us if our equipment does not work”. If you really believe the customer is king then you must be prepared to offer this kind of contract.

In 20 years, we have only had two instances where a client would not pay us - and it was only because they had gone out of business!

What services do you provide?

We initially focused on electric fencing but, we later increased our scope to cover all aspects of electronic security, such as CCTV, access control etc. Over the years, we have also invested in our own proprietary technologies that constantly monitor all our sites and installations and alert us if there is a problem. You can have guards patrolling the perimeter but they are only going to be in one place at a time!

Thanks to our technology, Elf technicians are often on premises sorting out an issue before the client has even become aware of a potential problem – and Elf bears the full cost of sending out technicians and buying new equipment.

Typically, we service large residential estates and school campuses, as well as commercial and industrial sites. We have clients in all the major centres – Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London.

You also offer clients additional full insurance cover?

Yes. Lightning is a serious problem with this type of equipment and Elf Rentals handles the entire insurance process in order to ensure that we get the client’s equipment working in the quickest possible time.