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5 High-Margin Products

We round up five products installers can make money off.

Cutting-edge technology and flashy interfaces are cool, but dealers right now should be focused on products that make them money.

Here are five products that offer great opportunity for integrators to earn cold, hard cash in the form of a new sales category, high markups, a strong upsell or recurring revenue.

We detail the following products: What other high-margin products do you sell? Let us know.

Click here to view 5 High-Margin Products.

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Article Topics

News · Product News · Slideshow · Lighting · Power Protection and Management · Power Protection · Power Protection · All topics

About the Author

Jason Knott, Editor, CE Pro
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.

10 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by NTDesigns  on  10/13  at  10:04 AM

Great post Jason! When I saw the RTI panel, I thought one of the high-margin items was going to be touchpanel templates.  It’s worth mentioning that templates are also a relatively small investment that integrators will see a great return on, job after job.  Offering clients a variety of good-looking panel options can make the difference between getting a job or losing it to the guys down the road; and it can justify a slight increase in your programming labor rate too.

Posted by PDSG  on  10/13  at  11:33 AM

Add to this story, DESIGN, ENGINEERING, PROJECT MANAGEMENT, AND INSTALLATION.  All equipment is eventually a commodity.  An integrator’s highest margins must be on services.

Posted by Gary  on  10/13  at  09:49 PM

I just like that we are having discussions about what makes us money on a public forum which not all but certainly many end users, builders, etc look at.  We should post our GMP on products just so we can lay all of our cards on the table.  I don’t know about you, but every customer already tells me that I’m making too much money and that they have bids for the “exact same thing” for “half the price”.

Posted by AccessNetworks  on  10/13  at  10:32 PM

What about enterprise-grade home networks?

Posted by 39 Cent Stamp  on  10/14  at  01:05 AM

A polished user interface has won many projects for us. Documentation is something else that will win projects and IMO we should be doing it anyway. Our investment in D-Tools many years ago was paid for with a single project.

Build your company brand with things that set you apart from the competition. You cant do that with hardware.

Posted by AccessNetworks  on  10/14  at  01:43 PM

39 Cent,

I would argue that it is the combination of hardware/software and service that separates one from the competition. Take the network for example: If dealer X proposes a low-end wireless network with 10 Linksys access points scattered in the home vs. dealer Y offering an intelligent, unified network that has guest access, remote management login and a detailed log - dealer Y can easily demonstrate to the client he/she has a superior solution. I know dealers who do this and win over projects this way.

Indeed, with Crestron or C4 the client thinks its apples to apples and the installation and programming is really what ends up making the difference. But there are still areas where properly programmed, better hardware used can be deliver a superior solution. The home network is one of those areas.

Posted by 39 Cent Stamp  on  10/14  at  04:10 PM

What i meant was that being a Crestron or Seura dealer are not things that make you stand out from the crowd. A user interface on the other hand is something that can.

I wasn’t touching on the Crestron vs whoever topic. If a client meets with 2 Crestron dealers. One shows up with a touchpanel loaded with an attractive user interface and a set of documents and the other with a clip board. The hardware is apples to apples and the only thing that sets them apart is labor and creativity.

As far as network gear goes.. its just internet right? Bestbuy has those dynex routers on sale smile Kidding, we use netgear pro gear at every installation since 2007 (a programmer recommended we try it). We have had zero lan related issues since the switch. The VPN,switch and ap’s installed in 2007 have never locked up or failed.

But.. were not making a dime on the Netgear hardware so its currently a zero margin product.

Posted by AccessNetworks  on  10/14  at  04:34 PM

Agreed on Crestron 100%.

As far as using Netgear and the big “but”: You will hear some mixed opinions about Netgear and other manufacturers. Even when things work, not making money means you are leaving something on the table. And, when things do not work, and that does happen sometimes, we have a vast tool set to see exactly what’s wrong where the guy who put in a Linksys (or a Netgear smile switch can only reboot it or replace it.

Networking should be a revenue stream for integrators. We can go back to my last comment. With the right selling skills (which you do need in order to sell high end networking gear) dealer Y will add a high end network to the budget, justify it with the client by discussing the features and will make more money as well.

You have no idea how many home owners love the wireless guest access feature (guest Internet access only, with a splash screen like the hotels) our systems offer. That feature alone differentiates one integrator from another and that feature alone makes the entire sale sometimes.

Posted by 39CentStamp  on  10/14  at  08:28 PM

Ok so wheres the CEPro article about enterprise-grade home network?

We typically view the Lan as a backend nameless product that our control system utilizes. No lockups or hardware failures means we can “set it and forget it”.

We offer guest access to wi-fi but not a splash screen. Clients have little guest cards with the guest key on them. I agree that a “welcome to the smith residence” splash screen would sell the product on its own.

Posted by AccessNetworks  on  10/14  at  09:36 PM

From your mouth to Julie’s ears!

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