How to Start a Residential Automation Business – Starting a residential automation business can be fun, exciting, tiring, rewarding or anything else. There are so many things to do in order to prepare. There are many possibilities to consider. Where to begin?
How to start a residential automation business
1. Write an executive summary (not a business plan; This will come later). As you go deeper into the business, over the years, the business plan will come true. With good documentation, strategy elaboration, and a commercially savvy mind, the business plan should be a substantial document there for the third year. Until then don’t worry too much about it, however, you should write an executive summary. What are your intentions? Who do you see as your clientele, and what do you imagine doing for them? What is your history to get into this business?
2. The next step will no doubt become the first elaborate part of the business plan. Define what the main products will be. The service is a product and needs fees to be assigned to it, but the most important thing is to define which of the control systems will be the main one for the company. You will need to start a relationship with these companies and/or distribution channels. Control systems have many other systems that may be integrated with them, but you need a base. Some examples of more important control systems are Crestron, AMX, home Elan Systems, Logic home (now the Elan’s property, but still a separate system) and HAI (Home Automation Inc.).
In the meantime, there are some things to consider. Are you selling to people with high or low purchasing power? The above companies are listed in descending order. In the world of residential automation (or “smart homes”), there is a lot of variety of installers/designers. The staff of Crestron has the most expensive projects and in less quantity. The scale decreases. Crestron’s projects are also the most difficult to install. They require a specialization in the engineering area (as well as a thorough knowledge of electrical or security systems) and real programming. Although the programming environment is similar to a C or C + +, it is actually a line-by-line code. The others (excluding AMX, which is very close to Crestron) has an easier interface just a few clicks to set up the system. They cost less, the installation is faster, require less maintenance and as resulting in lower retail price. Security companies and electrical installations often use this kind of low-end cost material. If you want to have a real home automation engineering company, then you should choose between the brands Crestron and AMX.
Join a distribution channel (maybe they require you to join before delivering pricing information, so you may need to join, if not, postpone the membership). Know your price and set up some systems as hypothetical examples just to get acquainted with them. One or two technical information classes (usually offered by distributors) would be nice too.
3. Get customers. Forget all the other things related to the property of a business. Just get a customer. Remember: Get the other things only when needed. A very prudent rule in business is not to spend time or money on something unless it is strictly necessary, otherwise, the company will quickly turn into a company that loses money. At the moment the new venture does not need much, and there will be several tasks to be done, that is, at the beginning, you will not have some things (insurance, for example) that will be necessary, so you should strive to obtain them quickly. It’s the bones of the trade.
Let’s plan it. The first customer is more likely (and must) that it is someone who already knows and trusts you personally. Perhaps they have observed their ability in other respects and are willing to give it a chance. After you get this customer, you must accept a check in advance payment, now it’s time to join the Distributor. Licenses, insurance, employees, etc. will come later in the same way. Postpone as much as possible (within the law) anything that will spend money!
Keep the first project simple. As dynamic and objective as you are it is more difficult to keep the project simple than to start drawing an intricate a residential automation system. This is how the person gets into trouble in a smart-home project. These systems are more complicated to design and install.
4. Always require half as an advance of the project. Even if it’s someone you trust. One thing you have to get used to as a business owner is that there are no variations in your business model. You need to stick to the plan. You’re not in the business to lose money. This type of company depends a lot on a construction contractor. Needless to say, there will be competition. Demand half the value of the project as an advance. Design a timeline for the installation of the project. The other two payment rooms must take place on specific dates, not in project stages. Customers will always find a way to say that you haven’t completed any details, but they can’t say it’s not the specific date.
Allow the customer to save 5 to 10% of the last quarterly payment, in case of dissatisfaction you can negotiate. You might say this is the part of your profit. This justifies the other value that was used to cover their costs and gives the customer something as collateral in order to justify the quality of their work.
At the end of the project, the documentation and critical points (which the customer sees as still incomplete or needing improvement) must walk side by side so that at the conclusion of the project you can receive the final part of the payment.
5. Some other miscellaneous tips that may be helpful in starting a “smart homes” business:
-Electrical installations are crucial and you probably won’t be able to do it all yourself. Outsource this service to a company of electrical installations or security systems may be necessary. -Depending on the type of work that will make your project may need public licenses. For example, security is an important aspect of residential automation. You need to be licensed to include this in your project. Having someone “let you use your license” by paying you a small fee is a good strategy, but you will have to make sure in your projects and in the completed work that you have followed the codes and technical norms to the letter. Electrical installation is a field where we are contemplating various technical standards. Try to avoid this kind of service. Even if you simply go changing switches, you may lose a lot of time and money if you do not follow the technical standards required by law.
- Document every day and what you do and ask your workers to do the same. This is an absolute necessity, to be able to argue about payments, with some grouchy, which is probably going to happen.
- Make sure you comply with the insurance laws.
- Try to work with good people. The hardest part of being in business is to find good professionals to work with and for you. This is really an unintentional and misleading task because, without experience, it’s hard to know people. Even with experience, it’s hard enough. However, surround yourself with good people and good professionals will no doubt help you to be successful.