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Problems running a Home Automation company

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
What are the top 3 most annoying and painful aspects of running or working in a Home Automation company?

Anything: Things related to building a portfolio? Finding work? Are there health issues under the radar? Is one of you most important software programs crappy? If you had a magic wand what tasks would you use the wand to make disappear?
post #2 of 7
What's a mardiov?

void RAM spelled backwrds?
post #3 of 7
Sorry to derail.

The annoyances are completely different for techs, owners, sales guys, and project managers. So, I guess it depends on the hat being worn.

But for all of them, the biggest gripe is time. Anything that wastes time is the enemy. Minimize the time sucks to minimize headaches.

Recognize and avoid difficult clients. Bill for change orders. Avoid manufacturers with a high rate of out of the box failures. Avoid the numerous email exchanges with OCD clients. Minimize the use of unfamiliar hardware. Bill for estimates. Choose manufacturers with prompt TS response.

The other biggie is internet price shopping. Don't provide customers with an itemized shopping list, keep the estimate lean. Use protected lines when you can.

Recognize 'annoyances', and fix them.

Sorry, mardiov. Looks like you were looking for problems, and not solutions, but I'm sure there are many other annoyances to hear about. Just read through the RC.com topics for ideas.
post #4 of 7
Sales sheets and customer expectations not being in line with the system actually spec'd, engineered, sold and installed.
post #5 of 7
Be prepared to deal with all kinds of people as customers. Some are delightful to work with, others are absolute jerks. If you want to make money, you have to learn to tolerate all of them.

Also, learn to identify and insulate yourself from the types that are just dreaming of what they want, will take up your time talking about it, but don't have the money to proceed.
post #6 of 7
The biggest single problem is that you may well not make enough money to continue running a Home Automation company. It's a niche market, and any one product is only able to target some nice of that niche. The high end is dominated by a set of large companies that will always win just because they've always won. The low end is dominated by customers who don't want to spend any money. And there's not much of a 'middle end' currently. If you want to target the high end you have to be very flexible, and hence too complex for most folks. If you want ot target the low end, you are in a commodity market with very little barrier to entry for competitors and very low margins, but you still have fairly heavy support burdens.
Edited by Dean Roddey - 12/1/12 at 10:48pm
post #7 of 7
I would think this could be a great hobby, but with everything and everybody having apps for everything sold now most everything is automated " good enough" for the majority. I find it rather odd that there's only 1 IP/ TV brand out there. I'm doing my first full "Job" for a friend who had multiple quotes and just for the Security Camera end of it the price was 8K. As a favor I am just having her switch out to all Mac products first and foremost just because their stuff plays so good with it self. Between Airplay, Airport Timecapsule/Extreme/express, Apple TV, DirecTvs new Genie with Client and Insteon/ISY994i I can give her pretty much everything, everywhere for her Home/Business that spans across three buildings for less than 8K and she gets a new iMac and Macbook pro included in that price. I just use iRule and whammo done and fast.

I just finished an 11k sq. ft home with 2 theaters fully 1-2 button operational including lighting scenes on Pause and Play and Blackout shades, 3 other media areas, whole house lighting Scenes with 150 light switches, whole house audio zoned/ garage doors/ Security cameras and everything can be done from an iPhone/iPad Mini and the iPad Mini is a Dream in this market

I would think the main problem is dealing with people that want to Play around in their network settings, if you would completely lock out the customers ability to " mess " with stuff I would think you would be fine, I have an electrician friend that owns his own company and wanting me to join with him in installing/programming as part of his package and I just dont' have time but I told him I could train one of his guys in a couple days and he's set. The problem is I got completely away from Windows and PC all together so this would be difficult for me to assist him with 99% of his clients/bids since I don't deal with Windows nor Android anymore and most people own these. I still own both products and have a great time playing around in Windows8 laughing at what a garbled mucky mess it is but........find a solution that's rock solid or your support calls will be the end of you I would think
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