If you’re thinking of installing a home theater system, you’re far from alone. Analysts expect the market to grow by $3.2 billion from 2020 to 2025. But there’s more involved than just selecting the latest tech to make your setup exquisite.
Whether you’re adding audiovisual (AV, aka “audiovideo”) tech to a home or business, you need to know what to look for in AV installation companies. They’re not all equal, and choosing the right one can mean the difference between a dream come true and a massive headache.
We’ve put together a guide to help you make the right choice. Read on to learn what questions to ask about the best AV installation companies.
[Related: Home AV Systems: Planning for Expansion]
Are They Insured?
First, check an AV installation company’s insurance status. This can vary by state.
For example, in Washington State, AV installation companies don’t need specific licenses. But they do need to provide evidence that they’re insured.
Before a company starts work on your home or business project, ask its management about their general liability insurance. This protects you if any work damages your home — or injures you. Proceed with the work only if you’re happy with the insurance policy’s terms.
Do They Have the Expertise You Need?
Of course, installing home theater systems is just one of many services that AV installation companies offer.
If you need to install or upgrade AV tech at a business, does the company have experience in your sector?
Let’s say you run a restaurant. You decide you want to create the ideal ambiance throughout the day — no matter how busy you get. The best AV installation companies have the resources and expertise to create your desired environment.
They can install custom audio, climate control, lighting control, digital signage and other systems. Plus, they’ll ensure your restaurant’s overall atmosphere keeps customers coming back. They may offer centralized distribution for staff convenience and integrated decor.
Now, imagine you run a hotel. Sound installation companies can craft a customized, discreet sound system for your bustling lobby. Music can create the perfect atmosphere for your guests and activate their vacation or relaxation mode!
Before you trust AV installation companies with your home or business project, ask yourself a few more questions:
- Has the company demonstrated its expertise in creating the custom AV experience you want?
- Does it use top-quality technology that achieves your goals?
- Does it have the skills to install optimal yet streamlined AV systems?
If you’re unsure about any of the answers, maybe it’s time to consider other AV installation companies.
[Related: Restaurant Upgrades 101: Music and Amenities]
How Long Have They Been in Business?
Everyone’s got to start somewhere! Still, they don’t have to start with your envisioned home or business project.
When you’re planning your ideal AV project, you need audiovisual installation companies with experience. You should feel confident that a company’s been through enough tricky situations to know what it’s doing.
You can ask to see a company’s work portfolio to get a feel for the jobs it’s done. Don’t be afraid to ask how long its technicians have been working in the field and how many projects they’ve completed. For greater peace of mind, ask for references and contact those references.
[Related: Why You Should Work With a Contractor and Architect Early on in Your AV Project]
What Are Their Reviews Like?
Most home audiovisual companies will have sections on their websites listing client feedback. That’s useful, but companies certainly prune that information so it makes them look good. We doubt companies will list bad reviews for their previous AV work.
That’s where independent review sites come in handy. Check out those sites (as well as companies’ social media pages) to find out what people really think. However, remember that some reviews can be old, and AV installation companies can change over the years — for good or bad.
As you read through independent reviews, you’ll pick up on themes. Do you get the feeling that a company provides great customer service, or does it leave a lot to be desired?
Even the best AV installation companies get bad reviews from time to time. As a tip, check out how an AV company handled a bad review or complaint. If the staff member was courteous in their response and genuinely tried to resolve the issue, they’ll likely treat you with the same respect.
Can They Match Your Level of Creativity?
Are you a homeowner? When you’re ready to transform your house into an AV paradise, you have high expectations.
You want your new or transformed home to express your personal style. And you don’t want to cut corners — you want the latest tech and integrated design within your budget. When you meet with home audiovisual companies’ installation teams, do you feel like they understand your vision?
From the design stage onward, you and the AV company you choose should be on the same page. The team’s initial draft designs should indicate whether they can put together your dream smart home AV system.
[Related: Smart Home Systems: Where to Begin?]
Do They Use the Best AV Equipment?
AV installation companies should use the best equipment out there (per your personal finances) to provide the experience you want. Does a company offer you a range of options and packages? Is its team knowledgeable about what works best in various settings?
For example, in homes, what goes great in the bathroom might not be the right pick for the theater. Good home audiovisual companies understand this and guide you toward the right choices. Their AV consultants work with you and know your ideal options.
If a company’s not confident, it may not understand exactly what you want for your home or business.
[Related: Design Considerations for Incorporating AV Into Your Home]
How Detailed Is the Contract?
The best contracts are detailed — thoroughly detailed. They set out the scope of work and note all the options you’ve agreed on. Contracts also usually list any exclusions, the duration of the work and the payment schedule.
If the contract is light on detail, be wary about signing it. The company could hit you with additional charges. And if the contract’s poorly worded, it won’t provide the protection you need.
Question anything you’re unhappy or unsatisfied with. Ask your attorney to look over the contract. Sign only when you’re fully confident that it’s comprehensive.
And if you’re getting AV work for an office environment, you’ll want to be extra careful when choosing from AV installation companies. It’s wise to ask higher-ups to scan the contract.
[Related: Zoom Conference Room Setup Guide]
In Sum: AV Installation Companies
Audiovisual installation companies worth their salt have demonstrable skills. They can take on — and optimize — any home or business AV project. From high-end restaurants and hotels to stunning home setups, they can deliver customized solutions for practically any need.
Contact AV Smart Solutions for All Your Tech Needs
At AV Smart Solutions, we have expertise in the residential, office, restaurant and hospitality sectors. And we’d love to make all your AV dreams come true.
Call (425) 655-5052 or fill out our contact form to get in touch!
Featured image via Pexels