Finding a low-voltage integrator to become your trusted partner can be challenging.
We asked Julie Brown, director of business development at OneVision Resources—a technology and personal health management company in Boston—to share some ideas for questions that you should consider asking during that first interview.
Here are the top 5 questions you should ask your prospective integrators.
Do you outsource any parts of your business?
It’s important to know what areas the integrator has control over when it comes to quality. If your integrator is only a go-between on key aspects of the project—in particular design and engineering, programming, installation, project management, service and end-user training—then you’re likely to see quality suffer. All work is done by our employees.
How do you assess a client’s technology needs?
Look for an integrator who aligns their incentives with the client’s needs and desires. If the integrator’s core business is in providing service through contracts, as opposed to selling hardware, then you can be more assured that quality is that integrator’s top priority. We spend time actually listening to the customer.
Which brands do you work with most often?
Again, an integrator ought to understand the client’s needs and the home’s requirements. Specific brands will become apparent during the design stage. Saying “Let’s use this brand because I’ve used it before and I know how to install it” is not the same as designing to fit the project at hand and the client’s long-term needs. We have found that certain brands are best depending on the customers requirements.
How long does design/engineering take, and at what stages are you typically involved?
Proper design and engineering can take anywhere from a few hours to multiple days or weeks. It’s essential to know exactly how—and when—the integrator’s work will impact your building schedule.
How do you coordinate your work with other team members and subcontractors?
An integrator should be intimately familiar with the construction environment where nothing is ever on time or happens as expected. An Integrator needs to keep up with changes to the project by communicating effectively and not letting anything sacrifice quality or the relationship with the client. We have over 30 years experience working with other trades in the construction business.