Just as many businesses specialize in a type of food; Italian, French, fast food, etc., those working in the audio/visual industry also specialize. Why is this important to know? While we would love to be the “go to” for all residential and commercial AV needs, just like our colleagues we have our own specialization. We encourage you to identify your needs based on the information below and seek out the best contractor for the job.
Not all AV companies service homes. Some, such as ours, service homes & businesses. But, each contractor has their own specialization for both residential and commercial customers. I will focus solely on residential AV work.
Large home theater and whole house AV – These companies specialize in building large home theaters and/or designing & setting up video & audio experiences in the entire home. Theaters include projection and sound systems, seating, a sophisticated control system and even the construction needs, such as platforms, acoustical walls and such. Most home theaters start at $30,000 and go up from there. Most of these companies need a multi-man crew to work on these jobs and may only do 1-2 theaters at a time depending on the size of their company and the size of the theater. When a customer wants an entire home set up with AV, these companies are the best to use. Most of these companies stay away from jobs that can be done in a day or two, since their crew is usually tied up on large projects. They also generally do not perform service calls for anyone other than their past customers.
Basic AV installations – There are companies that focus primarily on what we call “plain vanilla” TV wall mounts. This involves running cable within the wall, mounting the TV and setting up the cable company remote control. They also may be able to run wires for speakers. Many of these companies price per package rather than on an hourly rate. They are great for simplistic needs that don’t involve any design work or more complex work that requires senior level technicians. These companies generally do not perform service calls because they do not have the needed expertise on staff to troubleshoot and repair.
Custom installations (mid size) – These companies fit between the large & small AV contractor. They have the expertise to create a custom AV experience. However, medium sized AV companies vary greatly in services, products recommended & level of experience. Just as we specialize in networking infrastructure, others may not have a networking specialist on staff. However, they may sell & install sophisticated control systems that we don’t such as Crestron or Control 4, motorized blinds, vacuum systems and outdoor cameras. The best way to identify between these contractors is to visit their website and read what they offer. There is more to a custom installation than a picture, so go beyond the gallery to really understand what they offer…or don’t.
Independent contractors – There are AV people who can be found on places such as Craig’s list. While they may be able to inexpensively set up an AV system, most of these people are not licensed, do not offer warranties and don’t carry insurance. Most of these contractors work as subcontractors to licensed AV contractors, but take on their own work as well. They are also going to use inexpensive materials so that they can make more money since they don’t have relationships with distributors, so be wary of brands.
We encourage you to visit our website to see more about what Home & Office Network Solutions specializes in. If you are unsure whether we are the right fit for your next project, just call and we will let you know if we are a good fit. We would rather turn away business to those who would do a better job than take on something that is not in our wheelhouse.