Many retailers get their start in custom installation by offering home theater, and then expand into distributed A/V. Klein emphasizes, however, that the products retailers select for custom installation should be driven by their core competencies. “It’s not that you have to focus on a particular product; you’ve really got to focus on your internal competency, and then work on training up from there,” he said. “Make sure you’ve got the right products, that your people are thoroughly trained both on the sales and installation sides of it, and stay very focused on a handful of products and those services, and you can make money at it.”
An easy trap to fall into is pushing a system to the limit—a sure-fire way to solicit call backs. “Everyone gets into trouble when salespeople start getting creative and start doing things that the systems are not intended to do, or they start mixing, matching and compromising the products,” Klein said. ‘Custom,’ he added, does not mean reinventing the wheel by designing a new system every time; it’s about how that system is implemented into someone’s home.
DeAndrea notes that there is a temptation to get too creative when attempting to give clients more than they are willing to pay for. “Once you try to go outside that, and do more things than are possible for the budget level of the project, you are going to run into problems,” he said. “You’re going to be doing things that are not standard, and down the line it’s going to come around and bite you in the behind.”