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    17 Replies Latest reply on Jan 29, 2011 2:48 PM by Digital Lifestyle

    AV Integration Business Idea. Your Thoughts!

    Newbie

      Hello All,

       

      I am starting a business in the home automation industry in Atlanta, GA and would like some feedback on what you think of my thoughts.

       

      I am currently working for another company so my personal time is limited to after work hours. I was thinking of using my home as an office and showroom to invite clients over for meetings and to display the technology I can provide. I don’t have enough money to invest in an office so I thought this would be a good idea. This way I can show what I have to offer and how it works in an actual living environment. Investing in a store and investing in equipment would be too expensive. Do you think this would be a good idea?

       

      Basically, I can show a complete home automation that my company will design, install, and program using Crestron technology. They will see audio and video distribution for the whole house, lighting control, security, HVAC, and more all displayed on touch panels. They will see some control solutions including in-wall and hand held Crestron touch panels, iPhone, and iPads. They will also see on the touch panels things like the weather and news headlines. I will even do a small theater. For everything else I would not have in house, I plan on creating brochures to show other options.

       

      The reason I am starting my business is 1) it’s my passion. 2) The current company I work for do not treat their customer’s right and don't provide their workers with the necessary tools to get the job done correct as well as other issues. 3) I want to be able to take the time to design systems correctly so that on sight work is more accurate and faster to install when you have a plan on paper as well as having the client know that we are taking his system seriously by documenting all aspects of the job. Many clients say that I should start my own business and now I feel the time is right.

       

      I started off as an installer and worked my way up to designing and programming the systems as well. I have successfully done many jobs in the Atlanta area including some celebrities. Since I started doing my business after hours my clients have been very pleased and I want to be able to extend this service further. I know having something to show means allot and that is why I thought setting up my house would be a good idea. I already have a website which I will be updating soon, business cards, a portfolio showing my process of design to ensure the home owner knows and sees what he is investing in, and I will be creating some brochures soon. Money is tight so this seems like my only solution. As far as products, I am already licensed to sell and have access to equipment and I have installers ready to work. All I need know are customers and a good marketing solution. This is not my expertise so I would need help in this category as well.

       

      Thank you for your time and your feedback! If you have any suggestions they are all welcome. I am also considering getting a business partner but I have not found a good candidate as yet. I feel two heads are better than one but for now it’s a thought.

       

      If anyone out there is considering getting a AV system installed, Know someone who would like something like this, or, is interested in learning more, dont hesitate to contact me.

        • AV Integration Business Idea. Your Thoughts!
          howdoyou Wayfarer

          I'm currently living in Newnan GA, about 30 mins from Atlanta.

           

          I hope your business takes off and you reach your goals. I'm currently using my home as an office, though when i meet clients i take them out to eat, etc.

            • AV Integration Business Idea. Your Thoughts!
              Newbie

              Thank you ShaneS.

               

              I actually plan on doing both. If a client does come to my home office, he or she can get a demonstration of the system functioning and be able to interact with it so that he or she can get a feel for what they may purchase. If they can't make it to the office, I would take them out to Starbucks or a resturant and show them my portfolio as well as give them a demonstration on an apple iPad.

               

              Thanks again.

            • AV Integration Business Idea. Your Thoughts!
              BizOptimizer Adventurer

              I know a guy that found funding through a wealthy client.  If they like what you do - and they are obviously into the technology themselves?  If you can't sell the idea there, you might not have enough sales skills to pull it off.  Sometimes it is hard for technical people to cross over to sales.

               

              You'll need to have the numbers behind the plan though - you sell the investment - what will the investor get - not what you can do technically.

               

              Good luck,

                • AV Integration Business Idea. Your Thoughts!
                  Newbie

                  Bisoptimizer,

                   

                  Thanks for the comment. I don't think I will have a problem selling the idea to an investor. I would just want them to be on the same page as I am or at least close to bring the business to reality.

                   

                  As for what the investor will get, There is allot to gain in this business if done right and sticking to proper business standards. Allot of people get into this just to make money and not actually take care of the clients needs. As long as we follow a process which is discovery, meeting and listening to the client, designing a system and having documentation, implement the design the way the client agreed to it, then it's a win win situation. The client is happy and the business makes money sticking to it's standards. If we attract the right clientel, there is plenty to offer an investor. Some company's also make the mistake by using the proposal as a design. There would be a fee for design documentation which the client can keep. If the client decides to go forward he will get a percentage of the design credited back to him or her. I still could use a good salesman on my team. If I can find the right investor I will be open to the idea.

                • AV Integration Business Idea. Your Thoughts!
                  webzter Newbie

                  Just my opinion, I would probably think twice in using my house as a showroom.  One is for security purposes - you never really know the person that is going to come to your house.  There could be other but I take that as my number 1 reason. 

                   

                  I can understand that maybe you want to show how you have wired up your house with the devices and it maybe a good wow factor.  But you could do that by showing a video and have someone take a shoot while you're doing your job - a la reality show, or show the features of Crestron that you think would be great for your potential customers.

                  • AV Integration Business Idea. Your Thoughts!
                    Newbie

                    You need to do a TON of research to make sure that your business will succeed. Have you done any research on starting an AV company? What are you going to name your business? Is that name available? What's your business card design going to be? What about a logo? Do you know about the different distributors and their buy-ins? Do you know about Crestrons buy-in? Do you know where to get insurance? What type of business are you going to start, LLC, S Corp, etc? How much start-up capital do you have? How well do you know your competition? How are you going to advertise?  As an AV integrator you HAVE to have a website. It's just one of those things. A well done website can help you tremendously but a thrown together one can make your company look thrown together and people might not call.

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                      • AV Integration Business Idea. Your Thoughts!
                        Newbie

                          My previous reply was deleted by the moderator for which I believe is because I posted my web address. Other than that below is my original response to SV Tech.

                         

                         

                        I have already done my research on starting an AV company. The name of my company is Digital Lifestyle Solutions LLC. The name was available.Contact me offline to get details of my website and logo.  If you want to see my business card we are going to have to meet. I am also in the process of making brochures. I have several distributors already set up to purchase equipment. I have a business license, a license to sell equipment, and insurance. As far as Crestron, that's the main one left to get but I can get Crestron through dealers that I know until I am completely set up with them. I have checked out my competition and I am always doing research on them and so far, I have a more to offer than they do. At least most of them. I am going to advertise not only through my website but also do allot of networking to get the word out which I have already started doing and handing out brochures and business cards at events. Most importantly is word of mouth through my happy clients. Being an AV integrator and a Crestron programmer for many years, I know what works well together and how to make my GUI very intuitive. I have also helped out other businesses by helping with design and programming. As far as capital, so far I have been using my own money and still saving. I have work coming in so I will be using that to add to my savings. Unless I get an investor who wants to become a partner I have to say I am doing well at this point. I will be updating my website soon but let me know what you think so far. I am sure you will be honest.

                          • AV Integration Business Idea. Your Thoughts!
                            Newbie

                            DLS it looks as though you've already started your business and did it full speed ahead. Your website is cleanly done and intuitive. As you move forward and want to use pictures of your installs make sure that you have permission from your clients to do so.  Also make sure that your contract is looked over by an attorney, it's nice having clients that are attorneys! Are you a CAIP? If not work towards becoming one. You said that you want to get into the commercial side. As a CAIP you could make real good money programming for the large commercial installers like AVI-SPL. Are you on the Integration Pros website? It's a nice site to be on because we discuss a very wide variety of AV integrator topics.

                             

                            It seems like you're on the right path. Good luck going forward.

                              • AV Integration Business Idea. Your Thoughts!
                                Newbie

                                SV Tech,

                                 

                                Yes I have started my business but honestly I have been taking my time doing what you stated in your first post. I am glad you like the website. I just thought as a client what they would want to see and needed to hear without over complicating things. I have checked out a great deal of web sites and it can sometimes feel like reading a boring book. Do I really want to hear your bio? Granted, one will feel comfortable knowing how educated the owner or staff is. Depending on the type of business.

                                 

                                I will be sure to get clients permission when I decide to add pictures. I need to get an attorney... I am not a CAIP. I did think about it but as I work with other integrators, it slows my work down because of their lack of planning ahead of time and or not giving all the necessary details I need to get my job done. I started off as an installer from just being a wire puller to lead installer before programming and I was always handed a set of plans to follow when it was time to either pull a wire of my favorite, wiring up the rack. When the programmer came on site, we were all on the same page and he was able to get his work done without me having to change anything because we all had a plan first. There are moments when things get changed in the process but that does not compare with what I have been dealing with. As they say, you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone. Going to another company and then programming for others were completely opposite. No one has a plan. It's for this reason I don’t want to become a CAIP. I have worked at a CAIP firm before and it never seems to fail that the integrator either has a poor design or no design at all. This why I have decided to started my install company. I would entertain the idea for programming for commercial installers like AVI-SPL.

                                 

                                I am not on Integration Pros. I will check it out so thanks for that.

                                 

                                I am trying my best to birth a new and wonderful breath of fresh air kind of company.

                                 

                                Thanks for wishing me luck and good luck to anything you pursue as well. Let’s keep in touch.

                                • AV Integration Business Idea. Your Thoughts!
                                  Newbie

                                  AV Tech,

                                   

                                  I cant find the Integration Pros website. Can you send me a link?