Situations Clients & Builders Need To Look Out For

AV Contractor tells you they don't need a license to install equipment

We see this all the time, some companies we've encountered insist they have the right insurance and don't need a Contractor's license to be in this line of work or on site. This is NOT TRUE, in order to obtain general liability and workers comp insurance in the state of California that will protect builders and clients, you MUST have an active contractor's license (C-7)

AV Company keeps stressing how complicated and complex your system is

If an AV Company keeps stressing how complicated your system is, then you should rethink whether they know what they're doing. For a professional in our industry with experience these systems are not complex

AV Company gives excuses for charging more than MSRP (ie. Warranties, service etc)

RUN, there is no reason on Earth that an AV Company should be charging more than MSRP.

AV company wants to have meeting after meeting about your project

Your time is valuable, excessive meetings are a sign that AV Company "X" is not taking notes, or perhaps doesn't understand what it is you want.

AV company is blowing off meetings

Could be one of two things: AV Company "X" is too busy to give your project the attention it deserves, or it might be a sign that AV Company "X" is in over their head (We have heard about this one from builders we currently work with)

AV company is asking for payment of materials AND labor before any work is done

You should never be paying for material and labor before any work has been done. Typically materials up front, labor upon completion and acceptance.

Companies with no referrals

If there is a company bidding on your project that has not one referral, this should be a sign to politely decline their services. We have worked for companies that had an impressive client list, however not ONE satisfied client!

Extreme low bidders

We touched on this in the FAQ section. Stay away, usually sign that they are not a legitimate company, don't understand the scope of your project, or plan on giving change orders. In the end you WILL get what you pay for.

Salesman or company keeps talking about the hundreds and even thousands of projects they have done just like yours

In the world of custom homes and estates, there is no such thing as "just like yours".

Watch out for companies that keep making up excuse after excuse

This is usually just AV company "X" buying some time to figure out how to make your system work. Can also be a sign of disorganization.

AV company swaps out equipment for cheaper models

We have ACTUALLY seen this, we audited a project Los Altos Hills and found the following:
  • Half the wire run that was in the original contract
  • In-ceiling speakers were supposed to be 8" throughout house, they installed 6.5"
  • Promised 1080P video distribution but were installing a system not even capable. It was only capable of 720P
  • Outdoor speakers that were never installed and missing wire
  • 4 Camera's instead of 6
  • A 5.1 system that had no surround speakers (forgot to wire for it, but client paid for the speakers)

Watch for obvious signs of inexperience and poor design

We audited a project in Atherton where the client had spent nearly $280,000.00 before a single wire was run! The company that started the project was in so far over their head they chose to run flexible conduit everywhere; however it was all wrong. Completely USELESS! Unfortunately these stories are everywhere in our industry CHECK REFERENCES.

Watch out for companies that don't specialize in this specific industry ("Jack of all trades, Master of none")

  • Electrician also does AV and integration
  • Security company that now does AV and integration
  • Shade company now does AV and integration
  • HVAC that now does AV and integration

Avoid having other trades wire for your AV system

The infrastructure is the MOST important part of what we do. You need to have a design in place to wire a home correctly. You might save now, but believe me you will pay for it in the end. Retrofitting homes engineered to meet today's building codes can be VERY costly.