The latest Bravas Luxury Living podcast (available on YouTube) explores working with a company like Bravas. We didn’t mean it to be an advert for Bravas but a resource for anyone working with a technology provider for their luxury home. In the podcast, we interview Ryan Anderson, the CEO of Bravas, and he explored several key learnings from his time in the industry.
The podcast is about 30 minutes long and is worth watching if you are about to build or remodel your home. If you don’t have the time, here are some quick read ideas.
- The best experience is not possible when you DIY.
Of course, if this is your hobby, you will have fun playing with smart home technologies. If, however, you have a large home with lots of rooms, getting this right as a DIYer can almost be a full-time job. The benefit of using a custom technology integrator (or CI) becomes apparent when you remember no two homes are the same. The technology, while it is easier to use than it was, is still complicated. When done right, the technology all but disappears; if you have to be smart to use your smart home, something went wrong.
- The answer is not more apps.
When your builder or A/V supplier says, “oh, we have an app for that,” you need to say, “oh no!”
A well-designed smart home should have a single, integrated software platform that runs all the technology in your home, so you only ever need to use one app or one remote control to do everything. If you pick the right platform, then regardless of the device you use (iPhone, iPad, remote, TV, a panel on the wall), the experience will be the same. Remember, every time a new piece of technology means a new app or another remote, your house is not getting smarter, you have to!
- It’s your home; make your decisions.
If technology is scary, then you may not want to delegate the decisions to the builder who may delegate the project to the lowest cost provider they can find. A designer or architect may get involved, but they tend to look more at how your home looks than how it works. If they recommend a technology provider and they are scary too, then you have the wrong technology provider.
This your home, and it needs to work for you. Be sure you work with the CI who can talk to you in plain language and takes the time to find out how you want your home to work (not how they think it should work for you). When your CI asks how you want your home to work, and they have no ideas of some essential scenes or experiences you should have – take it as a warning sign that they may not have done a home like this before.
- Read the proposal carefully.
In the podcast, Ryan gives many ideas about what should be in the proposal, but the bottom line is to make sure it is as complete as possible. While it is unlikely any proposal will be missing significant bits of hardware, they often underestimate the amount of programming needed to get the job done correctly, quickly, and first time. If the labor suggested is less than 30% of the total, you need to understand why. In a complicated installation, its always about one-third of the cost or more depending on what’s being done – that’s why when it’s done, the experience should be integrated and seamless.
Also, do not be shocked by the sticker price. It’s probably more than you were expecting, but you need to find out if that’s because they are offering more than you wanted or if all that you asked for is included (and you didn’t know how much it would cost). You can always reduce the scope to reduce the price but remember, if you decline the labor, you risk losing the value of the integration.
- Watch for lowest costs bids.
‘Let the buyer beware’ that getting multiple bids can help get the lowest price, but it seldom guarantees you the best work. A TV is a TV, and everyone will probably charge about the same for the same TV, but installation is not the same. The service is not the same. The design is not the same.
Sometimes, at Bravas, we will not even respond to a request where we think there is a competition for the lowest price. We don’t do the lowest price – we do luxury experience. In a good proposal, you will not only see the right about of labor, and you may even see the cost for people like project managers. These resources are crucial to getting your home right for you. A smart home poorly done can be very frustrating to live in.
- The right amount of deposit.
Every project will have different elements in it, but a good rule is to only pay for what’s being ordered or installed now. Most projects are done in stages and the deposit schedule should match that. If the request is for 90% upfront then either the job is relatively small or you might find some hidden costs coming to back to bite you later.
- Support should be proactive and reactive.
When things go wrong, and they will go wrong, the service and support team of your CI can change everything about how to experience your home. No point having a $25,000 state of the art home theatre if you can’t turn it on. When considering after-sales service and support – consider a mixture of both Proactive and Reactive solutions.
- The right PROACTIVE approach means that the right external monitoring can allow your many problems to be are diagnosed and even be fixed before you know you have them. Your CI can manage much of this for you without having to visit your home.
- A good REACTIVE approach means that when you find the problem, you can quickly get help via the phone or an email. While it is good to have the home number of your sales rep, it is better to have a number of a technician who knows what they are doing and can quickly help you.
More in The Podcast
We hope these 7 ideas are useful, but you will find many more in the podcast. Turning your luxury home into a luxury smart home is all about technology, how it’s installed, and who you ask to do it. Done right, it will change how you enjoy your home. At Bravas, we can help you do that.