FAQ's

How early is too early to call you for a project?

It is NEVER too early to call. We have found with our best projects we are involved very early in the architectural phase- many times even before a builder has been chosen. Because we are part designers and consultants as well as contractors (unlike electricians and plumbers who are working off plans provided by others), we need to be involved in the design process early to be of the most value to you. Sadly, all too often we are brought in after framing, and then things like pockets for shades or equipment cooling have not been thought through, causing costly revisions and many times even re-engineering and submittal.

Can I purchase my own equipment on-line or from a local retailer and have you install it?

In most cases the answer to that is no for several reasons:

A. Part of our overall business model is catering to clients who are looking for full service design, installation and most important- after sale care. They are looking for fully engineered solutions that work and to deliver that we need to provide the equipment. 

B. When selecting the proper equipment for each individual project we many times use criteria that a client wouldn’t, including inter-operability with other components in the system, proven track record and how well the unit functions in term of remote operations. 

C. We need to use manufacturers that we can rely on to help if there are issues and that can give good troubleshooting support to help remedy problems if they arise. If you have existing equipment, however, we will try our best to utilize things you already have when possible, rather than throwing out things that are still perfectly useful, like speakers for example.

Why do you charge for design and project management?

It has been said that something “free” in a deal is something that is not line-itemized, but buried somewhere else. Worse than that is if it is offered, but is not done. Our fees for these services vary widely depending on size and scope of each job and whether it is new construction or a retro-fit situation. "Design" guarantees the project starts on the right foot and "project management" insures that it finishes as intended. We have chosen to be above-board and transparent, and line-item out the various types of labor we provide. Companies that provide free design work for everybody are forced to end up charging the folks that use them enough to cover the cost of the ones that didn’t.

What licenses and certifications do you hold?

We hold both a C-7 and C-10 (Low Voltage and Electrical) Contractors' License in the State of California. We are fully bonded and insured. Soon we will be adding our burglar and fire certifications so we can provide sales and monitoring of those products. In addition to this we are manufacturer trained and certified in all applicable products we sell. We also spend a great deal of time on on-going training for the technicians at industry events and trade shows. We have been a member in good standing for over 20 years with CEDIA, the Custom Electronics, Designers, and Installers Association; the premier trade alliance for our specialty

What is the warranty on your installations and what does your after sale care look like?

As far as the products go, we follow each manufacturers' warranty; so for example if an amplifier has a two-year warranty, then during that time frame, AVT will remove, have serviced and reinstall it for free. The basic warranty on our installations is two years, but there has never been a time where we made an error that we didn’t take care of, regardless of warranty time. It is important to know that warranties only cover repairs and do not cover maintenance and updates. We are getting ready to roll out several new programs to help clients out with both scheduled maintenance as well as security and feature updates. Through a new relationship with Comcast we are able to offer packages which include Concierge type service whereby we can be your designated rep so you are not wasting your time on the phone with your cable company. Extended warranties on equipment will be available for purchase as well.

What is the difference between repairs, maintenance and updates?

Repair is the fixing of something that has failed or been damaged. Maintenance is the cleaning or re-calibrating of equipment due to wear and time lapsed since installation. Updates are changes to the firmware of a device that the manufacturer or service provider has initiated to grant better functionality or security. Updates also have to do with programming the changes provided by service providers. Repairs may or may not be covered under warranty depending on a number of factors, but maintenance and updates never are. AVT does have some programs to help plan for and reduce the cost of those items.

Do you offer programs for builders or other referring industry professionals?

Yes. They vary by industry but if you are in this category, please contact our President, Phil and he will go over what is available for you.

What geographical area do you cover?

We cover all areas of the greater Bay Area, from Los Gatos up the Peninsula to San Francisco, Marin County, the entire East Bay and up into the Napa Valley.

Do you provide free consultations?

Yes, those can be done either at your home or our design center. During that consultation we will try to help you identify a scope and budget from which we can craft a design, should you choose to move forward.

What size and quality of systems do you do?

Size really depends on scope, but a small system for us would be just providing a new TV and hanging it on the wall in an existing home, where it might cost a few thousand dollars complete. A big system would be one where we would be designing and installing products from multiple categories that we offer from Lighting and Shades, to Entertainment, Security and Networking. In those situations, we have done projects as large as a half million however 100-200K for everything is more normal. Quality-wise we say if we were selling cars we would sell Honda through Porsche. We don’t do used Pintos, as that would be too cheap for us to do effectively, or Lamborghini on the high end, as those folks would be better served by a retail establishment with a full listening room, as that is not in our wheel-house.

Why do you NOT install the large all-in-one systems that do lighting control, music, and security from a single manufacturer?

Our experience with these types of systems over our more than 30 years in the business (including installing some of them) is that A). Things that try to do everything don’t do anything the best! B). Clients don’t like them and they are often viewed as too complicated. As a result, we have ripped out several very large systems installed by other companies that the owners got fed up with. C). We find by using the best brands in each category, (Lutron for Lighting Control, Sonos for music etc). it makes for a much better and less complicated system. With everything being app based now, it is a more level playing field and the consumer has a lot more flexibility, both now and in the future rather than being tied to a proprietary system with a single programmer holding all the cards.

Over 30 years in business is a long time. What do you attribute to your success?

There are a number of factors that have contributed to our longevity A). It sounds cliche', but treating the customers the way we would like to be treated has lead to years of referrals and repeat business with very little advertising or marketing on our part B). Developing and retaining good people. Joe, Carrie, Ty and before them Larry and Brian are who really built this company. Taking the ego out of leadership and finding people better than yourself. C). Great vendor relationships. We research the best suppliers in each product category, get involved in training, treat them the way we would like to be treated and pay our bills on time. D). Good financial management. Although none of us here are getting rich or will ever be able to afford the kind of homes our clients live in, we charge what is needed to properly service our customers and be here for the long haul, not just close a quick sale. Several recessions have hit since we started in 1984, and we were poised to weather them. We feel (and our long term clients tend to agree) we are not the cheapest or the most expensive out there but we strive to give the most value for the money spent to each and every one of our clients, large and small. E). Finally, we properly design individually tailored systems (not cookie cutter) and will not budge on our four non-negotiables: 1. Racking: The equipment needs to be properly installed in a metal pull out rack for proper installation and servicing. 2. Cooling: Heat is the number one cause of electronic failure, so it needs to stay cool. 3. Power Management: Directly behind cooling, the next most notable cause of failure is bad power. Good surge protection, filtering and IP re-settable outlets keep our systems running smoothly 4: Network: With everything connected these days we must have a fast, functional and reliable network. Without that no one is happy. While these items are not as fun or exciting to purchase as TV's and speakers, they are what keep an AVT system functioning as intended for many years.

What Our Clients are Saying

Thank you so very much for doing the great job that you do. I enjoy the working relationship that we have, and recommend you to many people.

Mark Becker

Architect and Builder, Oakland

Your team was prompt, very attentive to details, and of great help to me as one who appreciates a fine audio/visual system, but who is not very knowledgeable about the electronics involved.

Michael Kaufman

Client, Oakland

The experts at AVT are nothing short of true professionals. I never hesitate to recommend them to my clients.

Vanessa Neilson

Owner, Interior Reflections Design, Walnut Creek

In today's world it has been a true pleasure to work with AVT. In our opinion, there is simply no company more qualified.

Tom and Karen Mulvaney

Homeowners, Lafayette

I can faithfully count on your firm to provide pleasant jobsite/client meetings, well detailed estimates, professional installation and an open line of communication throughout the process.

Ross Rembec

Kruegar Brothers Construction, San Francisco

I must tell you that your team did a phenomenal job of doing the installation of both Audio and Lighting systems. I have been very happy with the quality and their professionalism in getting the job done.

Nagesh Avadhany

Homeowner, Milpitas

Phil - You and your guys have made it easy. Your team is very sympathetic in their understanding of how AVT's work is essential to the operation and enjoyment of daily life. Your guys (Joe especially) are problem solvers, and we really appreciate that.

Linda Waissar

Homeowner, Portola Valley

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Location

AVT Main Office / Showroom
38 Beta Court Suite C-38

San Ramon, CA 94593
(925) 838-8444

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AVT is a leader in home integration, specializing in the installation of structured wiring, whole house music, lighting & climate control, home theater, security/fire, home automation, and more.

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