1. Initial Consultation / Showroom Visit
The AVT process starts with an open discussion about how technology fits into your lifestyle, your goals, and budget. During this initial consultation, which can be at your home or in our combination showroom/ design center, we’ll help you determine your specific wants and needs, who will be using the systems as well as their ages, and technical abilities, in order to develop a general budget and scope of work for your project. We’ll explain how often overlooked items like power management, cooling, and equipment housing are vital to a properly functioning system.
2. Budget & Scope Development
Unless your last name happens to be Buffet or Gates, everyone has a budget. For most of our clients who aren't typically “sophisticated listeners”, understanding what features and value they are receiving at various price-points can be daunting.
At AVT, we use car analogies (Honda, Acura, Mercedes, and Porsche) rather than just good, better, best to represent the different price points in each of our product categories. This helps depict what features and benefits you're getting for your investment and puts you, the client, in full control of every room of the house. That means you can place Porsche quality equipment in the Media Room while only outfitting the kids play room with Honda level devices. A budget-first process also helps our clients avoid contract surprises, revisions, and even reduces the number of change orders.
3. Design & Proposal Creation
After we have worked with you to develop a scope of work and approved budget, we will design a system tailored to the information we gather about your want as a family. Depending on the overall scope, your proposal may include a room-by-room description of all the work to be performed, including a detailed equipment list.
The installation of any system begins with proper design. When we are brought into a project at an early stage, we can make sure time and money is saved by eliminating duplicate or redundant meetings and products. By starting in the design phase, and continuing on with the project all the way through final instruction, we make sure it functions precisely and easily; exactly how it was designed to work.
With our long history in the industry and knowledge in so many different areas, we can often preempt mistakes far before they even get to paper. Most people don’t really appreciate design until it’s not there. Imagine building your home without an architect’s drawings; what a mess the end result would be! On some projects we write a separate design contract up front and in other cases design fees are lumped into the full installation contract.
4. Contract Review Meeting
Depending on the complexity of your project, we may meet in person or schedule a phone appointment to discuss the specifics of your proposal and system design. As we generally discuss a range of different features, brands, and options during design meetings, we’ll walk you line by line through the proposal so we are sure nothing you wanted has been omitted.
Once you fully understand all of the costs, features and benefits contained on the proposal, we’ll have a final discussion to answer any outstanding question you may have or any final changes you would like to make. Once you are confident that everything lines up, we take an initial deposit and procure signatures.
5. Rough-In or Retro-Fit Wiring
Depending whether your home automation or A/V project involves new construction or remodel/retrofit, we will work with your builder or general contractor to schedule time for the installation of the rough-in wiring. Generally this will take place after the electricians and plumbers have completed their rough-in.
Many of our projects are in existing homes or structures and do not require the services of other contractors. In retrofit applications, we begin the project by adding and/or moving existing wires. This process may require access to your attic or crawlspace. Our home installation professionals at AVT are particularly adept at retrofit installations. For the projects that require installation work post-construction, we have a wide range of talent and tools that allow us to create stellar systems, often without the need for sheetrock repair.
When wiring your home for electrical or technology, organization and attention to detail make all the difference. AVT labels all wires to let everyone know where they go, eliminating guesswork when it’s time for hook up or years down the road. A tidy wiring plan makes things easier for the contractor and others working on your house. We’ll make sure your home is ready for the technology of today, as well as planning for the future. Whether you plan to add on later or just to make your home more marketable when you decide to sell it, we will work with you to get the most for your money.
6. Project Management
Construction is a marathon, not a sprint. In order for a project to be completed with rave reviews, good design is just the start. Ongoing project management and continual review until final programming is also essential.
AVT knows the importance of being prepared when asked for information from other sub contractors, such as cabinet builders and electricians. We also know how critical it is to proactively review what is being done, visiting the site between phases and checking in on timing and expectations. We manage your project from end-to-end, helping you avoid delays, rework, and problems that might otherwise occur later, after the project is complete. Of course we are only as good as you and the rest of your construction team are, so we depend on clear communication, accurate information, and timely responses from all stakeholders to properly execute our end of things.
7. Equipment Procurement
Approximately six weeks prior to trim out, it is time for the final equipment review and deposit. During this phase, we check the specified equipment to see if there have been any price drops or manufacturer model changes.
It is also the time to choose final colors, styles, and models not previously completed. Any details such as engraved lettering on keypads must also be finalized so we can order. Once we have the final equipment list we will require a deposit before we order the equipment for you. AVT also has the ability in many instances to be a designated representative to help obtain service provider equipment such as your utility, telecom, and cable providers.
8. Trim, Equipment Installation & Programming
In new construction and remodel projects, once the house has been dry-walled and painted, we will install wall plates for phone, network and television services. If you purchased speakers and/or wall keypads, we will install those products at this time as well.
Generally a few weeks later, when the house is clean, secure, and free of dust, we bring in the TVs and other equipment for installation. As a standard practice, we label all of the cables and provide a flow chart to simplify any future work or service that may be done on the system. You should never be held hostage by a company because they are the only ones that know how everything hooks up and is programmed.
Once the equipment has been installed, control devices will be programmed and tested. This is one of the most important parts of any installation process. We have encountered systems put in by others that clients hated. In many cases, the only real problem was the programming was messy and not intuitive. We use smart macros that allow many functions to happen with only a single button press. Because final installation occurs in a finished home, precise care will be taken to ensure your cabinets, furniture, and other possessions are protected and kept clean.
9. Client Orientation & Walk-through
The best technology in the world is useless if you don’t know how to use it! We dedicate as much time as necessary to ensure that the system is as easy to use as possible and that the features available are intuitive for anyone who may come in and want to enjoy it. We like to call them “In-Law” proof because we are confident anyone coming into your home and using your systems for any length of time should be able to figure out the controls with little to no instruction.
Client Orientation may be a one or two step process depending on the overall scope of your project. At this time, we will show you how to use all aspects of your new systems. Additionally, we will assist you with setting up passwords and apps on any mobile devices. Larger systems may require a follow-up orientation to answer questions that arise through repeated use.
10. Maintenance & Service
AVT will always provide warranty support of everything we sell. In addition, we provide three other types of after sale services:
Repairs: out-of-warranty fixing or swapping out of a piece of equipment that is broken either mechanically or electronically.
Updates: An electronic firmware update by a manufacturer or service provider.
Maintenance: These are the scheduled tune-ups required to ensure a system continues to operate at peak level. It includes, for example, such things as re-calibrating a projector or cleaning the air filter; wiping the lenses on surveillance cameras; updating favorite channels as programming changes; and proactively performing updates, security patches, and maintenance checks on any of the equipment in the system that requires it.
AVT offers several levels of plans to statically keep everything running at peak performance while helping you control your service and maintenance costs.
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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.