Home Entertainment


How to Select Your Installer Part 1

February 16, 2011 By Home Entertainment Editorial Staff

The custom installation industry was born out of real needs. The technologies and advancements show no sign of abating. Custom installers have seen periods akin to the Gold Rush as well as volatile times, which have reflected the economy's severe downturns. Stalwart, long-term integrators have disappeared while a plethora of new ones have emerged. Presuming you don't own a tool belt and have no real installation experience (programming your phone doesn't count), you will need the expertise of a good custom installer. See the Checklist below to help you make the best selection.
CEDIA, (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association), is one of the prime national custom installer trade organizations. Locating a CEDIA installer is no guaranty of your complete satisfaction, just as non-membership should not necessarily disqualify a candidate. Yet, CEDIA does provide robust education and training requirements for its members, indicating a serious commitment to the trade. Look for "Find a CEDIA Member" on the right of the main page.
2. CEA TechHome
Another good source is the Consumer Electronics Association's TechHome division . The TechHome division of CEA is chock full of useful and important information, so take some time and browse their site.
3. Other Installers
Some installers specialize in whole-house new construction only. Upon your initial contact and depending upon your type of project, you may find these qualified installers offer you referrals to other installers who will take on smaller projects. Perhaps they have a full schedule or are not a suitable match for your project scope. You may receive names of other qualified installers from these sources.

4. If you are knowledgeable about a particular brand of component that you would like to own, you might try contacting the manufacturer's regional sales manager for your area for three local recommendations. Manufacturers' web sites often have dealer locator search. Be careful: your task is to find an honest installer with greater expertise than you. They may be aware of newer technologies and systems, so keep your brand options open.


5. Referrals
Of course, the best source is referrals by friends. If you know anyone who has had low-voltage work 
performed lately and they can make a recommendation with enthusiasm, you should consider this
installer seriously. Probe. Ask why they are so enthusiastic. If you hear comments such as "I was
having a problem operating the system and they came right out and fixed it", you may have found 
your installer.

Stay tuned for Part 2, in which we'll cover licensing with state board of contractors, web sites, references, skill sets, judging a book by its cover, and more.



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