Startup in upstate NY area

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mabrett00
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Startup in upstate NY area

Postby mabrett00 » Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:16 am

Hi Guys,

I have been a huge fan of Home Automation for a while now. I have tinkered with the idea of starting my own business doing just that.

I see other people are thinking (or have gone the same way), can anyone give some advice on a few questions:

1) How do you find the industry, growing and expanding or is it greatly being affected by the economy?

2) What is the best way to get started, work with a builder on a few low profit starter jobs?

3) What is the best way to make new customer?

4) Any specific areas of HA that are the best and easiest to start in?

5) What are pitfalls to look out for?

And finally are there any companies located in another area that would be looking to expand their business and create a "joint" company in a new market that they currently are not in.

Thanks for the help and advice

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Scott
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Postby Scott » Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:43 pm

1) Right now it is definitely being affected by the economy but it also depends on the people you are catering to. The higher end clients will have the money to spend, but they are also only a small part of the market share.
2) Years of hands on experience is the only way to go. I worked for another automation company for several years before I started my company. There is a lot involved in creating a "smart home" and it it all starts with the wiring in the house. I've dealt with many houses that had electricians/start up low voltage companys running the wires and what a mess.
3) With my years of meeting customers, I had a great referial base to start off with. When I left my old company a lot of customers started calling me to do their work.
4) I would start by installing very simple HA systems. I personally don't believe you should be learning on the home owners expense, but it seems to be the norm in this industry. Make sure you know exactly what the customer wants and you can provide those services.
5) Not getting enough money upfront to cover the cost of materials. Not having a definite plan as to what you are providing the customer and proper time it will take to get the job done. Customers will have you come over the house all the time to change something if they know its not costing them. You can loose your shirt on labor.

Home automation is probably one of the toughest types of companys to run. You basically have to have knowledge in electronics, computers/networking, high voltage, carpentry, programming, etc. My original plan was to franchase the company, but it seems to be almost imposible to do it successfully. You can't just higher any type of person like you can at a fast food restaurant. And most IT guys are not cheap.
Scott
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cborod
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Postby cborod » Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:16 pm

add-on comment.
Inventory kills
Hardware is expensive
payment schedules are critical
deliverables and milestones are the only way to enforce payments...

This is a tough business. It's not friendly, and you're competing with everyone from Best Buy, to Geek Squad, DIY's brothers in law all the way up to Crest*AMX.

Eyes WIDE open my friend, WIDE open.....

Best wishes and good luck!
ChrisB


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mabrett00
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Postby mabrett00 » Tue Apr 22, 2008 1:06 pm

So far this sounds like any business:
Economy affected
Inventory Kills
Competition
collections

If someone knows of a better business out there (besides the lottery) that you dont have to deal with such things... Please let me know ASAP..

anyway thanks for the feed back so far.


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