I would like to address the subject of selling residential gate operator systems. I stress the word "systems" because we do not sell gate operators, we sell gate operator access control systems.
There are two basic types of residential gate operator systems projects you may encounter and it is very important you determine which category your projects falls into before working up a price. To determine which category your project will fall under, simply ask your customer if visitors or guess will be using the gate. If the answer is "no", the project falls into category A; if it's "yes", it is category B.
Although there are category A projects all over the country, they are most common in California, Arizona, Texas and Florida.
The gates on these projects are usually next to or very close to the customer's house. The gate operators are usually controlled by a radio transmitter in the homeowner's car, just like those used for garage door openers.
It is also handy to install a simple digital keypad, key switch or even a hidden weatherproof push-button that can be reached from both sides of the gate by the owner who might need to walk the dog, get the mail, etc. There's nothing worse than locking your customer in or out of his own gate by overlooking this potential situation.
Every gate operator by every manufacturer will work on category A gates. To determine the gate operator system you need to consider the following: Gate size, gate weight, slide or swing, driveway grade (if any), cycles per hour or day, back space and side space problems, aesthetics, are safety devices needed, voltage available and location of power, who is going to use the gate.
Even if they are close, don't cheat yourself or your customer by installing a gate operator system that doesn't meet all the specifications of your project.
Remember, you have to warranty that operator for a year or more, and even if the manufacturer replaces the parts for free, it's your time and labor.
Gate operators for category B gates must be "system capable". System capable means that in addition to the homeowner's radio transmitter for entry, the gate operator must have a timer to prevent the gate from closing on a vehicle.
Although category B gates are usually further from the house than category A gates, often even our of sight, the one thing that sets them apart is the fact that provisions must be provided for guests and visitors to enter and exit.
A typical category B gate system will include; gate operators, radio receiver, intercom or telephone entry device, timer to close, loop detectors for safety, a free exit loop, an auxiliary opening device for the homeowner when the doesn't have his radio transmitter, and most importantly, provisions for the local fire department.
With a little pre-planning, your customer can have an access control system specifically adapted to his or her needs.
Written by: Ronald J. DiMedio