How to Hire a Home Technology Professional
Home technology systems have grown in scale and complexity, making it essential to partner with a technology integrator — you want the right design and the best products for your project, and an integrator has the knowledge you need in both those areas
Systems today may include lighting control, energy management, security, home networking, HVAC control, audio and video distribution, media rooms, home theaters, and more — there are even “smart plumbing” products on the market.
Remember: This isn't like having appliances delivered and hooked up by someone you'll never see again. Your integrator knows your system, and he or she will be available if you desire anything from security monitoring to future upgrades.
Get multiple bids.
Seek out several reputable home technology companies (this link can help). This firm will design, engineer, and provide documentation for all stages of the project, while working in tandem with the design-build team and related trades.
Get in touch with at least two past clients whose projects were comparable to yours. Find out whether the firm met their expectations for budget, schedule, and end result.
Check out the integrator’s office.
While not all firms maintain a showroom, many are able to use their expertise to demonstrate the components and systems that could take your project to the next level.
Get a handle on their expertise.
Home technology firms don't just install equipment. You are paying for their knowledge and expertise. First, they must identify your needs and expectations, as well as any limitations and challenges. Then, they must plan the system, recommend equipment, and quote a price, working within a specified budget. A qualified integrator has the knowledge, skill, and experience to execute proper planning and offer a realistic quote. Don't be afraid to ask them how long they've been in business, and ask them if they've done projects similar to yours.
Confirm their credentials.
Look for companies that are members of CEDIA. CEDIA membership requires companies to show proof of insurance and proper licensing where required. Members also agree to adhere to a strict code of professional ethics.
CEDIA offers training and certification specific to the residential technology industry. Ask your prospective home tech firm whether they employ CEDIA Certified Professionals and if they take advantage of continuing education and training.
Bring them in early.
Your home tech pro should be involved at the beginning of the project, and should be meeting with the designers and builders, whether you're putting in a dedicated media room or building a brand new smart home. Complex systems may require changes to the build plans — for instance, to accommodate placement and ventilation of electronic components or a TV lift that will conceal the display when it's not in use. Proper planning up-front will help ensure a seamless, efficient, and cost-effective process for everyone involved.
Be ready to answer questions, too.
A good home technology professional should be asking you questions as well. Their questions will generally be exploratory and lifestyle/usage-related so they can discover how you will use the system and make sure they deliver the best product. Their questions might include:
- Are you comfortable with technology?
- Have you ever had a system like this before? If so what did you like and not like about it?
- Aesthetically, what do you picture the system looking like?
- What kind of budget did you have in mind for the project?
Ready to start your search? Find a CEDIA professional home technology professional to partner with on your next home technology project.