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How important is it for my CI to be geographically close to my home?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Long time lurker, first post.

I'm doing a new build and have been looking for a home automation company to prewire and set up my audio/video/automation. I was wondering how important geographic location was for the company I select. I've asked 4 companies in my area for bids and what they can offer me and customer service so far has been very disappointing.

They've all had poor correspondence, and sometimes never return emails or calls. So I'm interested in looking out of my geographic location for my CI.

7,000 sq ft home
6 video distribution
8 zone audio distribution
Thermostats
6-8 security cameras
Blinds
Garage
Lights
Dedicated media room

Looking for prewire, equipment, and add ons in the future.

I've been looking at C4 and RTI.

How far is too far for my audio/video company to be located?

Thanks
Edited by lidocaine - 1/28/13 at 7:42pm
post #2 of 9
Unless you want to spend the big bucks, you're stuck.

There are plenty of national, and international, CI firms that will gladly fly their guys to your home or yacht, and do an outstanding job. Staying in a nearby hotel for a week or 2 (or the guest house) is common.

What part of the country are you in?
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply. I don't mind spending a little more if it means a better product and better service.

Adding devices may be the back breaker though, agree?

BTW, I live in the Kansas City Metro.
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Adding devices may be the back breaker though, agree?

Depends. With C4 and others, though a CI must install new devices, once the initial setup is complete, they can remote in from their office. You would plug in the device, call them, and they'll do the rest.

One thing I would caution though... I'm not sure what budget constraints you have, but C4 is dealer install/change/update only. Any changes (aside from very minor scripts) that need to be made to your system will have to be done by the CI. This starts to add up after awhile. There are other DIY options, if that interests you.
post #5 of 9
Call me or email us. We would be happy to talk to you.

Larry Covalciuc
Custom Electronics
7511 Pacific
Omaha Ne
402-397-4434
larryc@customelectronics.tv
post #6 of 9
For a prewire project it isn't important to have an installer nearby. IMO your contractor should be able to service the project. That means they should be close enough in distance that it is comfortable for them to express themselves the ability to send a technician out to repair a failed TV.

The fact that they are not responding to your phone and email correspondence is a whole other story.
post #7 of 9
If you're willing to spend the money, there are certainly ones that will do it. My company has done several jobs on the other side of the country from us. With a homeowner (or in these cases, house manager) that is willing to do some small things occasionally with direction from the integrator over the phone, it is entirely possible. When you do a job like this, though, the design must be good. We can engineer around a lot of potential failure points, or at least mitigate them substantially. This costs money, however. And the real kicker is most dealers will want the job to be a high-profit job to begin with, to offset any potential support trips or other complications.

If you're talking with a dealer located far away, perhaps they could work out a service agreement with a more local dealer, that way you can get the response time necessary for hardware issues, but have the engineering and technical support (as well as primary contact) of the far-away dealer. Again, this all costs money, so if you're not ready to shell out $$$, I don't think you will find any company willing to tackle it.

Good luck!
post #8 of 9
Another point:
If you do peruse this, be sure to have a rock solid network. Most control systems rely heavily on the network now, so if the network is down, you're dead in the water. And if the network is down, there are very limited remote support options! That is pretty much a worst case scenario for us.
post #9 of 9
I'll echo what a number of others have said. If you can't get good service from a local company, you can have someone come in from out of town but it will cost you. General rule of thumb is 8%-10% of the total project cost would be in travel so if you have an idea of your estimated cost, add 8%-10% if you want an out of town firm. It always makes sense to have a local firm for triage and support but that can usually be arranged by a good integrator.

All of the systems we install are remotely manageable so that can solve a lot of issues without the need for a truckroll. It is very important that you consider that regardless of if you use a local firm or not.

We're based in Denver and have done work all over the world. Right now, we are doing a couple of Control4 installations in New York City and Los Angeles. I used to live in Kansas City, as well, and still have many friends there. If you are interested in more info or just want to chat about the pros and cons, feel free to give me a call.
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