Unfortunately for the custom installation industry, the advent of DIY smart home technology that often is lacking has implanted in the minds of many consumers that smart home solutions are inexpensive. (Even tech websites like Gizmodo say those DIY solutions are “not worth it.”) So when clients really want a connected home systems that is fully functional, they have no concept what the true costs are.
And as Eric Thies of DSI Luxury Technology based in Lake Balboa, Calif., so eloquently wrote for CE Pro last year, the client either has a reaction of turning into a “ghost” or have an “awkwardly long pause.”
“They usually then look up at you like you just impregnated their teenage daughter, and then look back down at the number… then look back up at you again. You are sunk.”
That is where the HTA Budget Calculator comes in. Developed by the Home Technology Association about two-and-a-half years ago, the calculator has been used to calculate nearly 6,000 budgets for integrators.
The calculator enables the integrator to develop the budget for a project jointly with the client, or even let’s the client determine the budget on their own. It steps dealers through prewiring and networking needs. Knowing that a home network is a must-have for most projects, the HTA Budget Calculator asks clients to choose “none,” “consumer-grade” or “enterprise-grade” equipment.
From there, clients are asked if they want multiroom audio, video, home theater, motorized shading, lighting control, interfaces, etc. If the answer is “yes,” then the calculator steps the customer through various equipment choices and the number of speakers, displays, shades, fixtures, security, phone, lighting, etc., and tallies the costs… no sticker shock. Of course, the goal is for the process to lead them to inquire with you about professional installation.
HTA Budget Calculator on CE Pro
The HTA Budget Calculator is a free tool that HTA members can embed in their own website. It has undergone several iterations and is constantly being improved.
“Within the past few months we did a change to the prewire section, it now more granular,” says Josh Christian, CEO of HTA. “There used to be only one question for the prewire, now there are choices of how extensive you want the prewire to be. So, the prewire numbers as of the past two months or so are not ‘apples to apples’ with the rest of the numbers.”
Recognizing the value that the Budget Calculator brings to the entire industry, HTA is making it available to CE Pro. Integrators can now use this tool on cepro.com to step their clients through their home technology budget-building. Take a look at the tool below: