Control & Automation

Smart Thermostats: 50% of Consumers Who Think They Can Install DIY … End Up Calling a Pro

Honeywell uses HomeAdvisor API to give users on-demand access to professional installers via Total Connect Comfort app because DIY installation for smart thermostats is “scary."

Smart Thermostats: 50% of Consumers Who Think They Can Install DIY … End Up Calling a Pro
Speaking at Parks Associates' Connections 2017, Honeywell's Scott Harkins says half of would-be DIYs turn to professional installers for smart thermostats.

Julie Jacobson · May 24, 2017

To many would-be do-it-yourselfers, smart thermostats look so easy to install, with all the consumer-friendly packaging and merchandising that puts these products right next to other (presumably) DIY devices.

But roughly half of consumers who buy thermostats at retail end up giving up on a DIY install according to Scott Harkins, VP, IoT Partner Programs at Honeywell Connected Home & Buildings.

Speaking at Parks Associates’ Connections Conference this week, Harkins says about 70% of thermostats are installed by contractors in conjunction with new HVAC systems. Of the remainder, about 50 percent of retail buyers end up calling a pro.

“They take it home, take the [existing] thermostat off the wall, and there’s five different wires,” Harkins said. “It looks a little bit scary.”

Honeywell has teamed with HomeAdvisor, a network of almost 160,000 independent contractors, to provide on-demand access to qualified installers.

Through Honeywell’s Total Connect Comfort app, users can summon a professional installer for service – not just for a Honeywell thermostat but for any HVAC or home-improvement need.

Honeywell is the first company to embed HomeAdvisor’s new API into a third-party app.

Honeywell implemented the feature to better engage with its customers, most of whom will barely use their smart-thermostat app otherwise.

According to HomeAdvisor, Honeywell contractors don’t get preferential treatment in serving stumped homeowners who buy at retail. Rather, Honeywell implemented the feature to better engage with these customers. After all, most consumers don't generally interact with their thermostat apps on a regular basis.

The implementation goes a step further: If select Honeywell’ comfort-related devices, like a leak or freeze detector, triggers an alert, retail customers will have the option of requesting a related pro such as a plumber, right from the Total Connect app.

This isn’t HomeAdvisor’s only on-demand service partner. Currently, the company is rolling out a service in select regions with Overstock.com. At checkout, users have the option of hiring a professional installer, selected based on the products purchased.

HomeAdvisor vets all of its contractors, not just with background checks, but also to ensure they have the proper certifications for any specific job.

Consumers can select HomeAdvisor’s “Instant Connect” option to be contacted (by phone … gasp!) within one or two minutes with a HomeAdvisor specialist, who will tell the user about the pros available and then connect them immediately by phone.

HomeAdvisor also offers Instant Booking for purchasers who prefer to select a contractor and a specific time for service.



7 Clever Ways to Hide Home Technology - CE Pro Download

Most technology products are not that visually appealing. Black boxes and tangled wires do not add to the character of a high-end smart home project. Luckily, our integrator readers have a number of clever solutions so these components don’t have to be visible in your next project.




  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at jjacobson@ehpub.com

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  Article Topics


Control & Automation · News · Energy Management · HomeAdvisor · Honeywell · Installation · Parks Associates · Thermostat · All Topics
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Comments

Posted by Julie Jacobson on May 26, 2017

Audioplus, Sometimes when we report the news of the industry, it is just to educate our audience on what’s happening in the industry. The only thing I “endorse” in this news is that people think they can do certain installs by themselves ... but they can’t. I believe this is a useful takeaway for integrators. Some other company is exploiting that information. How can WE exploit it? Thank you for commenting.

Posted by Audioplus on May 25, 2017

Sorry, may I add that depending on your market, you are bidding against several other integrators. I’m in a small market in N. Idaho, sometimes 3 - 5 competitors. Everyone pays whether you are awarded the job or not. Someone 2:30 in the morning, been up partying all night, jumps on the PC and out of curiosity wants to know what a TV install costs, you get the email at 2:45, an automated phone call at 6:30, the person on the other end knows nothing of what you’re talking about. You all get charged anyway for the referral.

Posted by Audioplus on May 25, 2017

I hate to say it, but Julie, there you go again, supporting the DIY market, as well as Home Advisor (formerly Service Magic). I enlisted in their services 7 years ago, had to minimize my levels of expertise to just one. ‘Hanging TV on wall’ and still get charged for $24 for anything related. I got tired of paying $30 for Home Theater installation when all I was doing was installing a Firestick on a TV, losing money, and traveling 40 miles (in my market). Home Advisor reps don’t know the difference between a 5.1, 7.1 orjust a DVD player. It’s all considered the same. I would be afraid to enroll as a Smart Home installer, I can’t justify charging my clients the $30 referral fee and an additional $80 or $100 for a service call on a Firestick or Thermostat. I reduced my support to TV installation, usually close on 65% (at a loss), sometimes it includes additional work, but they do host my website that I manage (regretfully those calls are directed to their support)

Posted by Audioplus on May 25, 2017

I hate to say it, but Julie, there you go again, supporting the DIY market, as well as Home Advisor (formerly Service Magic). I enlisted in their services 7 years ago, had to minimize my levels of expertise to just one. ‘Hanging TV on wall’ and still get charged for $24 for anything related. I got tired of paying $30 for Home Theater installation when all I was doing was installing a Firestick on a TV, losing money, and traveling 40 miles (in my market). Home Advisor reps don’t know the difference between a 5.1, 7.1 orjust a DVD player. It’s all considered the same. I would be afraid to enroll as a Smart Home installer, I can’t justify charging my clients the $30 referral fee and an additional $80 or $100 for a service call on a Firestick or Thermostat. I reduced my support to TV installation, usually close on 65% (at a loss), sometimes it includes additional work, but they do host my website that I manage (regretfully those calls are directed to their support)

Posted by Audioplus on May 25, 2017

Sorry, may I add that depending on your market, you are bidding against several other integrators. I’m in a small market in N. Idaho, sometimes 3 - 5 competitors. Everyone pays whether you are awarded the job or not. Someone 2:30 in the morning, been up partying all night, jumps on the PC and out of curiosity wants to know what a TV install costs, you get the email at 2:45, an automated phone call at 6:30, the person on the other end knows nothing of what you’re talking about. You all get charged anyway for the referral.

Posted by Julie Jacobson on May 26, 2017

Audioplus, Sometimes when we report the news of the industry, it is just to educate our audience on what’s happening in the industry. The only thing I “endorse” in this news is that people think they can do certain installs by themselves ... but they can’t. I believe this is a useful takeaway for integrators. Some other company is exploiting that information. How can WE exploit it? Thank you for commenting.

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