The Los Angeles market is one of the largest in the country in terms of overall population. It is also one of the most affluent areas in the United States. As such you can also find some of the most impressive home theaters in the world in this area. Many integrators will only work on systems that are $250,000 and above. These would be considered dream systems for the majority of custom integrators. But for a select few in the LA area, these just the every day projects.
Challenges of Home Theater Installation in Los Angeles
In one of our previous posts we covered a Los Angeles home theater company that is performing some ultra high end theater design and installations. By building lasting relationships with architects, builders, and interior designers they have built a solid stream of referrals that drive their business year in and year out.
One of the biggest challenges in this particular market is finding qualified technicians. In a town full of aspiring actors and musicians experienced technicians can be hard to come by. Many integrators have resorted to hiring from other areas of the country.
Of course this particular problem is not unique to Los Angeles. Many custom integrators across the country report this as being one of the biggest challenges they face over the next 12 months. The relatively quick housing recovery caught many businesses off-guard. And while they want to take on as much work as they can, they’re concerned that this housing boom could end just as quickly as the last one in 2007. This would leave them overstaffed for what might be a significant slowdown.
At the same time, many technology companies are hiring to service growing demands in other sectors of the economy. These jobs often pay significantly higher than those in the custom integration business.
Areas of Growth in the Custom Integration Business
One of the fastest growing areas of the custom integration business is the area of home automation. While automation has been a buzzword for a while, it has only been in the last few years that a large portion of the population has come to understand exactly what this means.
Products such as the Nest thermostats are educating consumers to exactly what is possible when incorporating automated devices into ones home. The Nest is a powerful learning thermostat that observes how you adjust temperatures and scheduling until it can essentially program itself. It’s impressive in how accurate it is in getting the scheduling correct.
While products like the Nest don’t necessarily integrate directly with other control systems, with a bit a work, a sharp integrator can find ways to make these products work together and even use them as an opportunity for an up-sell. While consumers are accustomed to buying and using gadgets like the best electric knife sharpeners, these types of devices are typically stand-alone and require no integration with other devices.
It’s important to use the wider acceptance of these consumer devices to leverage customers into a conversation about other ways to further automate their homes. While there are certainly efficiencies to be gained from controlling the climate in one’s home automatically, even further efficiencies (and more opportunities for revenue sources for integrators) can be sold as an extension of these devices.
Power Backup and Conditioning Systems
One area that custom integrators have neglected for years is higher end power backup services. These systems are typically handled by electricians, but should be considered for any system of size. Inverter generators and standby generators can kick on in the event of power loss.
They can also protect a system in the event of a lightning strike, brown, out or other types of surges. This is especially important for systems in areas prone to lightning such as Florida.
The equipment in these categories can run into the many thousands of dollars and offer good margin to integrators willing to learn a new system.