These days, technology is everywhere and it's a great time to be working in the AV industry - more and more people are getting excited about the infinite technological possibilities of their home. Home cinemas, multi-room audio and video, seamless Wi-Fi, intelligent lighting, golf simulators... If you can dream it, someone can deliver it. But if you're new to these exciting possibilities, where do you start?
The very beginning - finding the right company to provide you with all your hopes and dreams.
As with choosing a building contractor, an architect or an interior designer, it's important to find an AV company that is a good fit for you and your vision. If your system isn't designed and installed just right, your hopes for modern, streamlined living can be quickly replaced by a confusing, constantly crashing reality! Whether you're a client of ours or not, we want to help you avoid this nightmare.
- Purchasing an AV system is a big investment so you want to know what you're getting for your money: A good AV company should be able to break down, line by line, exactly what they're supplying you with and a total fixed cost for their specification. If any of the costs are variable, such as the supply of cable, these should be clearly explained. Any specification changes that impact the price of your proposal should also be approved by you first
- As well as the obvious equipment, it's important to know if all accessories required for the installation of an item are included, so they don't surprise you later! Things like speaker fire hoods, connectors for terminating cables, HDMI cables, patch leads... these are all the mundane items that may not be clearly shown on your proposal, so it's worth checking their costs are included
- As well as accessories, there is also the labour to be considered - is this included in the price of your equipment or is it a separate addition? Are they charging a fixed price or by the hour? With many of these things, there is no right or wrong answer but clarity is essential
- Similar to transparency, the willingness of your AV company to clearly explain the different elements of their specification and why certain equipment or configurations have been chosen is very important
- Ideally, a proposal should outline what the company understands are your requirements for the project and why the system they have specified will achieve those requirements, be they related to design, performance or user experience. Having a basic understanding of your system will really help you maximise the benefits. Nobody wants to be bamboozled into paying over the odds for a system that doesn't deliver exactly what you're looking for
- AV companies need to work closely with all parties on a project - the client, the building contractors, electrical contractors, architects, interior designers, joiners, decorators etc. Our work impacts, and is impacted by, all these disciplines. A friendly AV company that is able to build a relationship with your other chosen contractors will make the whole process that much easier
- It is often difficult to know everything that is going on during a project and so, just like other contractors, your AV company needs to be able to communicate well with everyone to make sure they can undertake their work effectively and answer queries promptly to avoid costly problems further down the line
- We often find that regular site visits are invaluable prior to installation so find out if a company will commit to these. They are opportunities to check all the details that affect the installation of AV equipment and make sure they are as expected. If not, there is still time to find a solution and that will help minimise any additional costs
- When your project is finally complete and you can enjoy your dream home, the last thing you want is an AV company that will disappear faster than you can set your Living Room to 'Relax.' First of all, check with your company that they will do full tuition at the end of the installation, guiding you through the operation of all aspects of your new system
- Then check if they offer a service contract and, if not, what their policy is for any visits they may need to make during the lifetime of your system - what is their standard call out charge? Will you be charged even if the fault is caused by a problem with the installation? Any company worth their salt will want to make you a client for life and reliable aftercare is essential to that
Finally, if you want further reassurance that you're using a reputable company, why not take a look at CEDIA's website? You can find a CEDIA member company operating in your area and also take a look at their Code of Ethics and how they can benefit you as a client.
We hope our guide is useful for you when shopping for an AV company but, naturally, we'd love you to get in touch with us! Give us a call on 0207 887 2424.