Of all the cities affected by the recession, Detroit and its surrounding suburbs sustained one of the hardest blows in the country. Southeast Michigan has been slowly rebounding from the economic downturn, but homebuilders there still remain cautious. Same goes for the home systems integrators who serve those builders. “We have started to experience good growth, but it’s definitely not great,” says Pete Cristiano, of Farmington Hills, Mich.-based MI Pro-Techs .
Rebounding from Recession
His company, which opened for business in 2011, had formed relationships with some of the largest production homebuilders in the area, including Pulte Homes and Pinnacle Homes. The 10-man integration firm offers the gamut: security, home theater, audio, networking, and central vacuum systems. Unlike most integration companies that offer standard home tech packages to production builders, MI Pro-Techs treats each customer to a tailored approach—much like one would expect when building a high-end custom home.
A Custom Approach to Production Homes
Although production homebuilders serve a different demographic than custom builders, like custom builders, “they are always trying to find and edge,” Cristiano says. “Our custom approach to a production homebuyer gives those builders that edge. They can say to their clients, ‘We have a technology company that will take care of you.’”
Showroom Seals the Central Vac Deal … and More
That customer care involves a scheduled visit to the 2,000-square-foot MI Pro-Techs showroom. Here, the staff will typically bring up the customer’s floorplans on a big screen TV and discuss options for each area of the home, building out a complete proposal by the end of the meeting. Many of the products and systems detailed in that discussion are able to be fully demonstrated right on the spot. “We want them to be able to see, hear, touch and everything that we have talked about,” Cristiano continues. Admittedly, consumers naturally gravitate to the displays of home theater equipment, but the showroom’s Beam central vacuum display sucks in (no pun intended) its fair share of clientele, as well.
“The number of consumers interested in central vac systems has grown steadily,” Cristiano says. “They might come to our showroom focused on the convenience it affords, but it’s the health benefits that ultimately make the sale. A central vac system contributes to a cleaner home environment, and to many homeowners the benefit alone is well worth the investment of having a system installed.”
So much so that Cristiano figures that at least 20 percent of homeowners who visit the showroom express interest in purchasing a Beam central vac system. Of those interested, 10 percent take the plunge.
Innovation Inspires Sales
“Beam central vac systems are a necessary part of our product portfolio, largely because of the time and commitment the company puts into research and development of its products,” Cristiano concludes. Some of these recent advancements include a Precision powerhead that features a retractable blade that cuts away hair the often gets tangled in the brush roll, and a self-cleaning lifetime filter.