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Are Your Designs in 3D?

Learn how presenting 3D project designs to prospective clients can earn dealers up to $900 while streamlining installation.


Lisa Montgomery · April 29, 2010

Many CE pros have gone 3D. Instead of presenting their clients with “old-fashioned” pen-and-paper architectural drawings, they’re guiding them through a virtual walkthrough of the space. If they’d like to see another seat or upgrade to a slightly bigger screen, for example, the changes are made with a couple of mouse clicks.

CE pros can charge a bit more for these 3D renderings since they’re more efficient, accurate and engaging.

“It’s like watching a short movie of what your room will look like,” says Rob Dzedzy of Media Rooms in West Chester, Pa. “And the rooms that we build come out almost identical to the renderings.”

Derek Cowburn of DistinctAV in McCordsville, Ind. charges a flat fee to design two rooms in 3D. The client gets a detailed printout that includes precise measurements and dimensions of everything in the space. It’s a handy document to have, he explains, for whenever you want to modify or update anything.

Rob Roessler of Audio Video Concepts in Columbia, Ill. employs a slightly different pricing model. “If it’s a new customer, we’ll charge them between $400 and $900 up front, and if they decide to do the room, we’ll subtract the fee.”

Clients may find the design fee somewhat steep, but CE pros should emphasize that it’s protection against the unknown. Explain that design changes can be much costlier during the construction and installation phases of a project.

“After seeing our 3D rendering of a home theater, the carpenter requested that we shift the location of a planned ticket booth and concession stand,” Cowburn says. “Had we not been able to accurately visualize how much better that $6,000 piece of carpentry looked in that new spot, we might not have done it.”

So where does Audio Video Concepts, DistinctAV and Media Rooms get the software to create these 3D renderings? You won’t find out directly from these guys since “the choice of software is a real competitive advantage,” Roessler says. But he says looking into Google Sketchup is a good start.

3D Rendering
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Finished Project
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  About the Author

Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in adding electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home. Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Lisa at lmontgomery@ehpub.com

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