Home automation is a booming segment of the residential construction market, but builders and remodelers don't have to become installers themselves to get a big chunk of the profits. By knowing how to sell automation products and upgrades to their clients, as well as choosing and working with dedicated automation professionals, you can see a surge in your bottom line.
Many contractors may be wary of the automation game because they think they don't have the technical knowledge to specify, install and service such systems. And the simple fact is that most don't. But that doesn't mean they should be scared to jump into it. Just keep in mind that the main focuses of the technology are security, lighting and environment control, and audio-visual, and find the right professionals to work with to make clients' homes more efficient and accessible.
Building as Usual (Almost)
The first thing a contractor should do is offer structured wiring packages and pre-wire for a security system. The added expense is minimal in the overall scheme of a home's price, and it minimizes the costs and time needed to install any other components the client (or future clients) may choose. A builder may also need to include some extra blocking during the framing stages for installation of audio-visual components, such as a 200-pound plasma TV that will hang on a wall.
Even by offering only structured wiring, builders will help homeowners realize both short-term and long-term benefits. There's no need to daisy-chain phones with structured wiring, and other electronic equipment such as computers and TVs can be moved from room to room without extra wiring or the need to splice cable.
Finding and Working With Installers
Automation installation typically occurs after the framing, plumbing and wiring have been completed and before the insulation and drywall is installed. Final installation of components typically occurs after the painting and trim work are done. To ensure seamless installation and on-time completion, builders should schedule a walk-through like they do with electricians. It’s helpful to have an electrician and the HVAC installer on hand at that time.
Here are some tips for choosing the right automation installer:
Selling It to Customers
Even though high-tech is in high demand, you may still need to develop some selling techniques to convince a few of your customers that they need some of these upgrades. If you're building spec homes, install as many bells and whistles as you can, as customers are often sold when they see the products in action. Otherwise, here are some major selling points:
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