AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
362 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am considering opening an audio/video/home theater sales and custom installation firm serving the southern california coastal and desert areas. Any advice or suggestions on how to get started in this type of business would be greatly appreciated.


Thank you.


Aram Basmadjian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,327 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by aramb
I am considering opening an audio/video/home theater sales and custom installation firm serving the southern california coastal and desert areas. Any advice or suggestions on how to get started in this type of business would be greatly appreciated.


Thank you.


Aram Basmadjian


I did a couple of searches on this forum and here are a few threads discussing the topic. ;)


http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...stall+business

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...light=business

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...light=business

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...esign+business


Good luck. :)


Craig
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,655 Posts
Just be ready. There are a lot of nay-sayers around here.


IMO, the best way to do it is:


- Work for someone else to see if you really want to do it.

- Get a business eduacation to fully understand what is involved.

- Take classes and learn about the electronics, acoustics, construction, programming, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
804 Posts
All good advice so far, read over those threads and just ignore the negativity that is in some of them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,327 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by bpape
Just be ready. There are a lot of nay-sayers around here.


IMO, the best way to do it is:


- Work for someone else to see if you really want to do it.

- Get a business eduacation to fully understand what is involved.

- Take classes and learn about the electronics, acoustics, construction, programming, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SSJLaletas
All good advice so far, read over those threads and just ignore the negativity that is in some of them.


;)



Craig
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Hi Aram,


I would begin by doing some market research in your area, So Cal is a market that is pretty saturated with some excellent and not so excellent installation companies. You need to decide where your company will fit into the current market climate.

Being an up-start, I would highly reccommend coming up with a specialty so that you can start in a niche area and expand your skills as you get rolling. Possibly Remote Control Integration & IP based systems as this is a hot area. You have the CEDIA Expo coming up in September in Indy, so educational opportunities exist in the very near term.


I can tell you that this career path can be very rewarding and is constantly challenging. I have been in the industry for the past 16 years working for myself as well as a major manufacturer, and I almost always enjoy going to work in the morning. You meet some very interesting people in this line of work.


One thing that I cannot emphasize enough is that you start your business with enough capitol so that you can be comfortable missing some paychecks for a minimum of one year. Anyone with a resale certificate and a company name can buy product through distribution (not sure yet if that is good or bad, but I'm leaning toward Bad), but the price you pay is a direct hit to your bottom line. It doesn't seem like much at first, but as your purchases rack up, you are losing anywhere between 10-15% in margin. That sounds like a marketing budget to me! Try to secure accounts directly with the manufacturers, it can be a painful experience at first but if you build your business the right way, those manufacturers will seek you out down the road.


Just remember that in California you will need to get a series 7? contractors license to legally do low voltage work.


What ever your decision good luck!


Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
Aram,


Could you give us a little more background on who you are and what you are trying to do? We could give more specific advice if we knew better where you are coming from.


Steve, what's this? We can all get gear for 10-15% over cost just by supplying a resale certificate? Sign me up! :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
362 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Two years ago we (my wife and I) decided to build an elaborate home theater in our home. Originally we searched all the home theater companies in our area, but eventually settled on buying the equipment and completely installing ourselves. The end result turned out well and we have been approached by a number of people to re-create our results in their homes.


Most of my life I have been in the music business as a classical musician (concert organist), and I have a good ear for sound. While I was trying to get my professional music career off the ground I worked as a salesman and installer for the southern California Allen Organ dealer. (Allen Organ is the largest manufacturer of church organs in the world). Installations involved pulling wire, construction, conduit installation, hookup, and voicing (adjusting) the instrument to the building's acoustics. I also did numerous home installations. Eventually I got my career off the ground and started touring full time around the country and left the organ installation business.


After ten years of being on the road, I decided to stop touring full time and pursue another ambition... flying. For the past six years I have been flying for the airlines. It is during this time that I became interested (obsessed) with home theater and high end audio and started trying to learn everything I could.


While building our home theater, I met a guy who wanted to move out the area and start a home theater custom install business in AZ. We talked about becoming partners. He had experience working in the custom install business for the past 5 years and I had sales experience. We thought we would make a good team, put together a business plan and proceeded to make all the arrangements. Of course, he had all the contacts with distributors and manufacturers as he had worked for another firm for a number of years. We then had a falling out that revolved around trust and finances. I decided I did not want to be in business with someone I wasn't sure I could trust. Since then, he went on to AZ and is running a fairly sucessful business (for its first year) and I am still in southern California trying to figure out what to do!


As everyone here knows, the airline industry is in a lot of turmoil, although my particular company is doing well. I only work 3 days a week and would like to pursue something the other 4 days a week and thought the home theater/high-end audio business would be something I could do on the side for enjoyment and perhaps a little extra income.


I have already talked to a number of distributors in our area. They claim that although there are a lot of home theater companies in our area, most companies they talk to do not really run into any "competition." Apparently most companies are getting there business from referrals (a concept I am familiar with). I did not plan to initially have a showroom or store, but to work out my residence (a lot of custom companies down here seem to work out of there homes as well).


Thanks to all of you that have contributed up to this point, and I hope this gives you a better idea of where I am coming from.


Aram
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,102 Posts
Sounds like you have the dedication to rise to a high level of proficiency with whatever you pick up - whether as a musician, pilot, salesperson or installer. That sort of drive will take you places and speaks well for your chances of succeeding in this (or any other) field.


I was going to comment that if you are looking to escape the turbulence of the airline industry, that owning your own business may not bring the stability you are looking for. :) But it sounds like you have a fair amount of free time and interest in this field, so you have very little at risk.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
CME


"Steve, what's this? We can all get gear for 10-15% over cost just by supplying a resale certificate? Sign me up!"


Send $10 for the free pamphlet and info tapes so you too can be an A/V company:)


That's a very scary part of where this industry has headed. If John Q Public wants to buy Gear through a distributor, all he needs to do is come up with a catchy name "Home Theater By Me" and register with the state, get a resale certificate and there will be distributors jumping to take your order. This is evidenced by the growing number of small A/V companies you see appear and disappear each year in the local Yellow Pages.


I remember when you actually had to place opening orders, have a showroom, open accounts, and do a minimum yearly business. Don't get me wrong, distributors can be an essential aid to inventory & cash flow management, but I think they could do more research to see if the people they are selling gear to actually have a working business.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
843 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Install
I remember when you actually had to place opening orders, have a showroom, open accounts, and do a minimum yearly business. Don't get me wrong, distributors can be an essential aid to inventory & cash flow management, but I think they could do more research to see if the people they are selling gear to actually have a working business.
The custom installer model is where the AV business is going. Look at the state of AV boutiques. If they aren't starting to do more install business (i.e. hybrid model), they might find themselves out of business. Manufacturers know this and that is why they and distributors are evolving to cater to custom installers. Custom installation is the only way customers can get the needed pre-sales and post-sales support from an outfit that will invest in understanding a variety of products and yet flexible enough to formulate a multitude of solutions for varying customer needs. Also, the pace of technological change is forcing a just-in-time model. How would you like to invest a big chunk of your working capital in a large minimum order of only a single SKU only to have a competing model out in 6 months to one year from the same or competing manufacturer that will obsolete your inventory. The AV business will start to look more and more like the current computer business.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top