Professional Smart Home Installs vs Amateur Solutions


Not all home installations are completed equally. There is a big difference between hiring an amateur to do the work and getting a professional smart home installation.

Unfortunately, for those who opt for an amateur, the end result is often a botched job. Even worse is the fact that it might have been avoided with just a little research.

Many of our clients seem to find themselves in need of a ‘takeover’. This is where they have already spent a load of money on their home automation and end up calling us as they have been let down by their incumbent installer who is no longer answering the phone!

At a recent takeover project, we arrived to find this mess of cabling!
At a recent takeover project, we arrived to find this mess of cabling!

As a business, we spend 80% of all our time taking over poor home automation projects. 9 out of 10 times, we remove everything and starting again as the system has been poorly designed and executed.

The biggest issue with the home automation industry

Unlike gas engineers and electricians, home automation installation is unregulated.

The barrier to entry to become a home automation installer is literally nothing. You need a van and a laptop and off you go; you will be able to get an account from most manufacturers either directly or via a distributor.

Whilst this is great for anyone wanting to start their own business, it often leads to misery for the end-user because installations are one of the following:

  • Poorly installed due to lack of expertise/experience
  • Incomplete because they gave up halfway through
  • Not functioning properly because incompatible devices/software have been paired
  • Shoddy design because they haven’t thought about user experience or accessibility

Every time we see this, we feel sorry for the end-user as they end up paying twice for a job they should have only paid once for.

So, how can you avoid poor home automation installations?

Do your due diligence.

  1. Check out the company’s trading history – how long have they been around?
  2. Read customer reviews – are they on average 4 stars or above?
  3. Meet the team – request a survey or consultation and trust your gut judgement when you meet the engineer/technician
  4. Check out their previous projects – scour their online portfolio to see their end results
  5. Look for credibility signals – are they accredited partners/installers for recognised brands? Or have they won industry awards for their work?

We urge all homeowners who are thinking about having home automation installed to check who they are dealing with. Get recommendations from previous clients or, better still, visit them in person.

Remember, home automation for a whole home is going to cost on average between £50,000 and £100,000. Would you buy a car of similar value without taking it for a test drive? No!

If you’re still not convinced you should use a professional home automation installer, we summed up 5 reasons you really ought to consider…

1. Professional installation ensures that your smart home is set up properly

When a professional installs your smart home, you know that the job is going to be done properly. This means that you aren’t going to have any issues with things like connectivity or compatibility later down the line. A professional company will ensure that all of the products they install are properly set up and working together in sync before they leave your home.

Once a professional has completed their installation, they’ll test the equipment and ensure that everything is working as expected. They’ll also have systems in place to detect any problems before signing off the project as complete, meaning you never run the risk of someone leaving you in the lurch with a half-finished job! They should then provide you with clear instructions on how to use your equipment before leaving you to enjoy your new smart home system.

Trusted Technology engineer providing training on a client's Control4 system
After every installation, we complete a thorough training session with our clients so they know exactly how their system works.

2. A professional installer guarantees your warranty is honoured

With a professional smart home company, you don’t have to worry about whether or not the warranties on all of your products will be honoured and expanded. Professionals know what they are doing and they will make sure that any new equipment installed in your home is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

You’ll also find that many professional smart home installation companies offer some form of long-term support, such as an aftercare service. Through this, they will manage any updates to your system and be on-hand for any problems you might encounter. This means that you can enjoy peace of mind without having to worry about how to handle any potential problems that may arise.

When you hire an amateur to install your smart home, problems often arise later on down the line. In many scenarios, we’ve seen installations of smart home products that aren’t compatible with other devices in the home, resulting in a waste of money for the homeowner as they end up buying a replacement and losing out on their initial purchase.

Using an amateur also runs the risk of their poor installation leading to damage. Not only to the devices they are installing but also to your property. A full smart home installation will include chiseling away walls to hide cables, pulling up floorboards and playing with electrics. If anything goes wrong, you’ll be left with the nightmare of making a home insurance claim (if you’re covered) or worse still, a nasty bill to fix it all.

3. Smart home engineers know the latest in smart home technology

When you hire a professional to install your smart home, they will ensure that all of the equipment is up to date with the latest technology and features. They know what products are out there on the market right now and they’ll tell you about your options before installing anything in your home. This means that you can rest assured that your system will run at optimum performance, using the latest technology.

Perfectly aligned cables in a Trusted Technology rack
Can you tell we have a little cable OCD!?

Their knowledge of products and experience of custom designing home automation systems means they’re best placed to ensure the devices and software used actually work together!

Professionals also have the knowledge and experience to ensure that you get the most out of your new system – they understand how products work together and will recommend the right solution for your needs, not just install a run-of-the-mill highstreet solution without considering the bigger picture. They will carefully select devices that will best communicate with each other, considering both their compatibility and your end goal.

4. Professional installers are certified by their manufacturers

You wouldn’t let any old Tom, Dick or Harry install a new boiler in your house, you’d look for a gas registered engineer. The same goes for your car MOT – you’d use a trusted garage that has the right tools and people in place to do the job. And for home construction you wouldn’t draw your own plans, you’d use an architect.

It’s vital that you apply the same selection process for your home automation installation.

You should look for installers who are certified by the manufacturers of products they install. This is the highest trust signal you can find as manufacturers don’t just accredit anyone. There is a rigorous application process and a strict testing phase where the installer’s work is inspected to make sure it meets the manufacturer’s expectations.

Under the stairs after photo showing neat and tidy cabling
We pride ourselves on leaving homes clean, tidy and secure from hazardous cables

Using an accredited installer means you get peace of mind knowing that they won’t cut corners or take shortcuts. We’re proud to have won Control4’s Dealer of the Year award (not just once, but twice), so you know you’re in safe hands with our team!

5. Installation companies have systems, processes and timeframes in place

A professional installation company will have systems and processes in place to ensure that your project is completed in good time. They’ll outline the steps upfront and set milestones for moving on to the next part of the process, for example, consultation, design, installation and quality assurance. This means you’ll know exactly when to expect your completed project.

With an amateur, there’s no knowing when (or if) it will be finished or what state it will be in when they’ve left. It could take weeks, months, even years – all at your own inconvenience – for you to get everything set up and working properly.

Typically, we take over projects that have been going on for almost a year, causing upset, stress and inconvenience for the homeowner. Once our team has started, we see a complete transformation in just 6-8 weeks, leaving you to enjoy your newly finished smart home automation system in record time!

The future of smart home installations

As strange as it sounds, we’d love all installers to be accredited and trustworthy.

It might sound strange that we are potentially giving 80% of our work away but we would much sooner raise the standard of our industry and ensure clients don’t have to pay twice. It might also increase competition, but our focus is on the homeowner and if it means the installer gets it right the first time, that’s what counts.

The moral of the story for homeowners: the cheapest price could be the most expensive in the long run.

The best way to ensure that your home installation goes smoothly, with no issues or problems down the line, is by choosing a professional company for this type of project. Value their knowledge and expertise and trust in their process.

If you’re in need of a takeover project or are looking for a new project, get in touch for a quote!

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