August 21, 2008
| by Lisa Montgomery
I recently had the opportunity to visit a home that had been tricked out with electronics, located just a few miles down the road from my own abode. The house had tons of technology, but it wasn’t the degree of control and automation that impressed me so much as how well the systems were designed.
A huge amount of thought and planning went into the project. The design and installation team at Grand Rapids, MI-based Grand Home Automation drew up several product layouts, wiring diagrams, charts and spreadsheets to ensure that the job ran smoothly and that the homeowners would be completely satisfied with the end result.
This design time is integral to Grand Home’s business philosophy, and has helped the company grow more than three fold in the last five years. The documentation also helps keep homeowners in close communication with Grand Home, and provides them with the peace of mind that the job is moving in the right direction. The design work is detailed and extensive, and it doesn’t come cheap. Grand Home charges anywhere between eight and 10-percent of the total project cost for it, and won’t take a job unless the homeowners agree to pay for it.
It was money well spent for New Buffalo, MI, homeowners Carter and Michele Eckert. Through the design process with Grand Home, they were able to ensure that each room would have just the right amount of electronics installed. “They weren’t oversold with technology they didn’t need, nor were they pining for more features after the project was complete,” says Conklin.
While eight to 10 percent of the project cost may seem like a lot when you’re already shelling out a pretty penny for equipment, having your systems designed is well worth the money. If your installer doesn’t offer it, you may wind up paying for something you didn’t want or need, the Eckerts say. It’s such a common problem, says Conklin, that nearly 25 percent of Grand Home’s business comes from “rescue projects,” where Grand Home was hired to fix a system that had been shoddily put together, “usually because the prior company had failed to do any type of design work ahead of time,” he says.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.