When it comes time to have work done in your home, there are many ways to find the right contractor. You could ask your neighbours. You could check directories and look for companies that have been successfully in the business for a long time. You could go with a company name that you recognize. It’s not that easy with home automation. This is a new and ever changing technology. There are no companies that go back twenty or thirty years in the business, as it didn’t exist as a business back then. You can’t ask your neighbours, as you may be the first one on your street investing in this technology. The business is so new, that there are no brand name integrators. But you are trusting this contractor with your home and your money.
There are definitely some red flags that will warn you about home automation contractors you should avoid. Here are a few:
No certification – this one is huge. The major players in the integrated home technology business have invested a fortune in programs that train and certify professionals in the industry. These skills need constant upgrading to make sure they reflect the current state of the industry. If your contractor tries to tell you that because he is an electrician, a TV repairman or a cable guy he is qualified to automate your home, don’t believe it. The contractor should be able to present the certification documents of anyone who will be designing or programming your system. Check the date. A five year old certification is almost as good as no training at all unless it has been constantly upgraded. And check who it’s from. It should be from an industry leader like Crestron or AMX. This type of training costs thousands of dollars in classroom and travel time, but the real pro’s have it.
No references – You don’t want to be the first job a company works on. The company you want to deal with has satisfied customers that are pleased to talk to you about their experience. Ask tough questions – did they stick to the budget, did they try to upsell you, were their workers clean and polite, was the job done on time. A reputable company has nothing to fear from you talking to their clients.
No money – If the contractor has no money and is asking you to pay for the entire job up front, that should be a warning that something is wrong. It is totally acceptable to be asked for partial payment at signing and on delivery of goods, but the best home automation suppliers will work with you on terms, not make demands.
No delay – If the contractor says they can be in your house tomorrow, hang up the phone. Good companies are in demand. They work hard on that crucial last 5% of the job that makes all the difference to whether the job is poor, adequate or exceptional. If they are starting in your house immediately, that almost always means they are a company with no customers, or they are leaving someone else’s job half finished and moving on to yours. Either way, it’s a pretty good sign that this is not the installer for you.
No commitment to the business – Home Automation can’t be a hobby or a sideline if is going to be done right. In the next few years, you will see alarm companies, cable TV companies and probably others trying to profit from this technology. It’s your home. You deserve the best. You shouldn’t let someone with no experience or long-term commitment to the business try to make a few quick dollars selling something they don’t really care about or understand.
No guarantee – When we say guarantee, we mean get it in writing. Who is responsible for what, and for how long? What is the service response time? Your components may be under warranty, but does that cover the cost of taking them out the system and putting them back? If you add a new piece of technology (and you will) who pays for the integration and reprogramming, and how much will it cost? What happens when the warranty ends? Can the contractor offer you a service maintenance agreement that will cover you in the years to come?
At OneTouch Automation, we are proud to show you how our certified staff, satisfied customers, flexible scheduling and strong warranty make your home automation experience pleasant, affordable and an investment you can be proud of for years to come.
Contact us any time.