5 Things to Look for in Your AV Integrator

charleston home automationWhen it comes to selecting an AV integrator to handle your home theater or home automation project there are 5 things you need to look for to ensure the success of your project.  If you can find a company in your area that satisfies these 5 criteria you’re guaranteed to be in good shape.

1.  Setting and Sticking to a Budget

Let’s face it, home theaters and automation systems are expensive.  Even on the low end, an installed and calibrated system is going to run at least $10,000.  This typically won’t even include the wiring, seating, or any other peripheral equipment that you might have to purchase.  This is strictly just the speakers, surround sound equipment, TV or projector, and source equipment.  Most home theater companies bill out at anywhere between $50 per hour all the way up to $125 per hour for more difficult work such as programming.

So when they set a budget, they should stick to it.  Find out from their former clients if there were any unanticipated expenses that came up during their installation.

2.  Neatness Counts

Installing electronic equipment requires doing some planning.  There are issues such as heat and airflow, wiring, and surge protection to deal with.  A system should be well laid out before the installation even begins.  During the installation technicians should use labels and clear and neat wiring runs so that troubleshooting issues down the road isn’t a problem.

3.  Competitive Pricing

Everyone wants to get the best deal, but when it comes to hiring the right contractor, for Pete’s sake, don’t go with the cheapest and expect to get a great system.  The best companies are busy and therefore are expensive.  If you see a company that is far and away superior to the others you’re talking to, find a way to work with them.  You will reap the benefits of better service and better system performance overall.

4.  Good Service

Talk to potential candidates current customers about how quickly and efficiently service issues are handled.  Electronics go bad.  It’s just a part of it.  Expecting this and having a company that is good at dealing with it will quickly turn a problem into a solution.  They should have a phone support system that allows you to leave a message after regular business hours.  If they’re really good they’ll even call you right back to see if  the problem can be solved over the phone.

5.  Passion

Home entertainment should be fun.  When you go to a demo at contractors showrooms note how excited they are about the systems they’re showing you.  The guys that really love what they do are passionate about passing this love off to their clients.  You should leave that meeting chomping at the bit to get started, not wondering if you’re doing the right thing.

So if you’re in the market to hire an AV company, do your research.  Companies like Innovative Sight & Sound in Tampa are few and far between.  You can see some of their work on their Tampa Home Theater Facebook page.

They even have an office in South Caroline.  Their Charleston home theater installation team is experienced in working on high end homes and condos.