by Chris Chiarella
Apart from finding a spouse, choosing the right home integrator (aka installer, custom electronics pro, electronics systems contractor) might be one of the most important relationship decisions we ever have to make. We’re not just purchasing components, we could be entering into a long-term relationship. Then again, it is a serious investment, with workers occupying our inner sanctum, and fervent dreams of push-button ease and high-definition glory.
So we need to go in with our eyes wide open, understanding the essential topics that must be broached, ones that can enlighten and empower us when we’re ready to close the deal.
To help guide our readers in their future projects, we have hereby attempted to narrow down this list of questions that cut to the chase, formulated to elicit the answers homeowners need to make informed choices.
1. What are the integrators’ training and certifications?
The technology of electronic home integration has never been more sophisticated, and not all of the professionals out there are fully qualified for the projects they take on. Some potential clients are lured only by the lowest bid and don’t take the time to ensure that the people working on their home have undergone the necessary training for the job. They just take it on faith that the work will be done correctly, which can be a costly assumption in the long run. A well-trained installer is proud of his credentials and won’t hesitate to share them!
2. Does the integrator have references, specifically on projects of similar size and scope?
References are the lifeblood of the home integrator. A job well-done for a happy homeowner is the ultimate “win,” and so the thumbs-up from a previous customer—one not unlike yourself—is a great way for the client to establish a comfort level by proving that the integrator has successfully completed similar projects. Again, this information should be freely offered, so don’t be afraid to ask.
3. Do they have photographs of completed projects?
Word of mouth is one thing, but a picture is worth a thousand of ‘em, right? Apart from the beauty of the finished product, a photograph conveys important sub-text: The homeowner thought enough of the work—and the company behind it—to allow them back to take photos, and everyone can preen over the results. But strictly on face value, photographs will show the quality of work and attention to detail that the integrator puts into his projects.
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