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Dealer help needed to modify simple things in project


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My dealer is awesome but he is so busy with major installs that when I need simple things done via "Remote Director" (moving an outlet switch in my project to a different room, renaming a room) he simply doesn't have the time.  I am not a dealer and I don't have Composer Pro as a result; I make all the modifications and do all my own programming using Composer HE, but I obviously don't have access to the Connections/System Design panes.  I also can't script loops which is kind of a pain.

 

Generally speaking, dealers are more than happy to help with an existing system as long as they can make some $$ doing it, and I don't blame them.  However, I just need very simple things done occasionally and am wondering if a dealer on these forums would charge me only a nominal fee for these simple tasks so I can get them done without waiting weeks for my busy dealer to get to it.

 

At this time I need one very simple connection added for TuneIn to work properly with my 2nd receiver, and 1 keypad identified.  If I had access to Composer Pro I could make the necessary modifications in 10-15 seconds...  

 

I have been waiting several weeks for my dealer to get to this, but he's just too busy, and I can appreciate that.  At this point, I feel that daily emails to my dealer is just harassing the guy.  Perhaps someone else who has more free time can help me?

 

Thanks for any help you guys would be willing to offer, in advance.

 

Joe

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This post probably belongs in the other forum topic, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to jump back on my soapbox.  Joe, I wish I could help and feel your pain.  I've been waiting for months from my dealer for resolution of some simple items which I finally (through the help of the good folks on this forum and good folks at C4) resolved myself.  For the record, I checked my e-mail history and the back and forth with my dealer on this has been since last year.

 

This message prompted me to send a note to my dealer today asking if I should go elsewhere for future purchases.  With that, I'd like to add a question to the forum (in addition to Joe's above).

 

What is the process to get my system transferred under another dealer so that when my 4Sight subscription expires in two months, I can get it renewed in a timely fashion?  Unfortunately, I know if I don't start working on this three months out I will be without a 4Sight subscription.  Utterly ridiculous.

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I've gone through several dealers, and the end result is always the same.  They need to make $$ and making small adjustments doesn't pay them anything.  I don't fault the dealers at all for this.  Control4 offers dealers tremendous income potential.  There are lots of very wealthy people willing to pay $250,000 for an install and why bother with the guy who will pay $10 for a small adjustment when the big jobs are not that hard to get.

 

I've talked to at least 8 dealers on the phone about making small adjustments, and they have actually agreed to do it, but short of pestering them and calling them incessantly, they never really get back to me after they initially agree to help!  I am the typical client who they can't make $$ off of, because I can do all my own installations and adjustments, short of what's only available in the Connections and System Design pane in Composer Pro.  If I want a new switch, I haunt craigslist, amazon, ebay, and get what I want for a fraction of what I would have to pay a dealer, and install it myself.  Then I find myself stuck in a position where no one will take the 10 seconds necessary to identify the device for me.  LOL!

 

I've seriously considered becoming a dealer just so I can help people make who need simple things done.  Hell, I wouldn't even charge for it because I know how frustrating it is to be in my shoes right now!

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I've gone through several dealers, and the end result is always the same.  They need to make $$ and making small adjustments doesn't pay them anything.  I don't fault the dealers at all for this.  Control4 offers dealers tremendous income potential.  There are lots of very wealthy people willing to pay $250,000 for an install and why bother with the guy who will pay $10 for a small adjustment when the big jobs are not that hard to get.

 

I've talked to at least 8 dealers on the phone about making small adjustments, and they have actually agreed to do it, but short of pestering them and calling them incessantly, they never really get back to me after they initially agree to help!  I am the typical client who they can't make $$ off of, because I can do all my own installations and adjustments, short of what's only available in the Connections and System Design pane in Composer Pro.  If I want a new switch, I haunt craigslist, amazon, ebay, and get what I want for a fraction of what I would have to pay a dealer, and install it myself.  Then I find myself stuck in a position where no one will take the 10 seconds necessary to identify the device for me.  LOL!

 

I've seriously considered becoming a dealer just so I can help people make who need simple things done.  Hell, I wouldn't even charge for it because I know how frustrating it is to be in my shoes right now!

 

That's one of the things I looked into as well but the storefront requirement was a no go for me.

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10 dollars to rename a room and drag and drop an outlet switch to a different room sounds fair. Would seriously take a whole 30 seconds.

Once you're all logged in and everything, yes. It's probably a total time consumption of 10-15 minutes. I won't stop what I'm doing for 15 minutes for $10. I'm not a dealer though either...

Sent from my Droid MAXX via Tapatalk.

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In the words of Frank Fritz, Bundle it!  Save-up all those changes plus an upgrade and some equipment into one visit.  Dealer will come if it's a visit of substance.  Onesies are a waste of any dealer's time...

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I think it's the "of substance" part which causes users and dealers to not see eye-to-eye on this.  The "of substance" is never disclosed when a dealer tells a new customer that they will provide support after the scale.  Let me throw out a hypothetical:

A dealer has done a $50,000 install (equipment, installation and programming) and everything is working well for a period of time.  At some point, the user wants some relatively minor changes done, and that those changes will take 15 minutes to do remotely.  Let's say that the dealer charges $150 per hour for labor/programming (either remote or on-site).   Further let's say that there is a 1hr minimum charge for any service.

 

What I've found is that many (possbily most) dealers will not even return calls to do the 15 minutes of work for $150.

 

This is not a pricing issue, as dealers are price setters and users are price takers.  In other words, I don't think any user should have a reasonable expectation for a dealer (or any business person) to do work at a price that doesn't make economic sense for the dealer (they did set the $150/hr price, after all)....that's just not how the world that I live in works (although I wish it did, because I could save a lot of $$).

 

The frustration arises from the fact that all dealers tell you that they can support you after the sale.  In reality, it seems that some dealers can't be bothered with supporting relatively (relative to new $5,000+ installs) small jobs.  

I do understand the suggestion that users wait until they have enough fixes to make it worth the dealer's time to fix, but that's not always a realistic option.  If the initial install was well done to the user's specifications, it could take months (or years) to accumulate enough little tasks to get above that undisclosed threshold.  

 

If some dealers want to be honest and inform new customers not to expect support unless the invoice is >$5,000, it would at least be a case of full disclosure.  But it's frustrating to expect the dealer to be responsive to your needs and have your requests for service ignored.

 


 

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10 dollars to rename a room and drag and drop an outlet switch to a different room sounds fair. Would seriously take a whole 30 seconds.

If you find a dealer to do these tasks at that price, please share. I'm guessing you won't. If a truck roll is in the $150 range for an hour, my guess is that remote programming should be about half that. That may seem high to some, but if the dealer is busy doing installs during the day, remote programming after hours would take time away from his or her family which costs more than money.

I can't tell a dealer how much to charge for his services any more than I can tell my grocer how much to charge for a can of soup.

I do have the choice to shop where I want though. I agree that bundling would be the best economic choice for the OP.

Good luck!

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I think it's the "of substance" part which causes users and dealers to not see eye-to-eye on this.  The "of substance" is never disclosed when a dealer tells a new customer that they will provide support after the scale.  Let me throw out a hypothetical:

A dealer has done a $50,000 install (equipment, installation and programming) and everything is working well for a period of time.  At some point, the user wants some relatively minor changes done, and that those changes will take 15 minutes to do remotely.  Let's say that the dealer charges $150 per hour for labor/programming (either remote or on-site).   Further let's say that there is a 1hr minimum charge for any service.

 

What I've found is that many (possbily most) dealers will not even return calls to do the 15 minutes of work for $150.

 

This is not a pricing issue, as dealers are price setters and users are price takers.  In other words, I don't think any user should have a reasonable expectation for a dealer (or any business person) to do work at a price that doesn't make economic sense for the dealer (they did set the $150/hr price, after all)....that's just not how the world that I live in works (although I wish it did, because I could save a lot of $$).

 

The frustration arises from the fact that all dealers tell you that they can support you after the sale.  In reality, it seems that some dealers can't be bothered with supporting relatively (relative to new $5,000+ installs) small jobs.  

I do understand the suggestion that users wait until they have enough fixes to make it worth the dealer's time to fix, but that's not always a realistic option.  If the initial install was well done to the user's specifications, it could take months (or years) to accumulate enough little tasks to get above that undisclosed threshold.  

 

If some dealers want to be honest and inform new customers not to expect support unless the invoice is >$5,000, it would at least be a case of full disclosure.  But it's frustrating to expect the dealer to be responsive to your needs and have your requests for service ignored.

 

 

It would take me a page to respond to this post.  That's why I'm not going to bother.  Does that sound like a dealer's response?

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To the OP:  You said that at this time you have a keypad that needs to be identified and a change made to a connection on your TuneIn, correct?

 

 Where did you get the keypad?  If you got it from your dealer and hes not agreeing to either install or identify it after selling it to you then that's an issue. Its also something you should have discussed with him when you purchased the keypad. However if you purchased the keypad from ebay or other similar source then I think you know where your trouble is. While I'm not against the purchase of equipment from ebay, its better then it going to a landfill, you can't expect your dealer to drop everything to help you.  You are the one unfortunately that's going to have to wait for his help when he can squeeze you in and your going to have to pay his price. 

 

On a counter note, if you purchased the keypad from him as well as other equipment you occasionally need you most likely would be getting assisted faster and most likely at very little or no charge. If these two things are the only thing you need I think you would find plenty of users here who have dealers that would just do this at no charge, as long as the equipment came from them. 

 

Build a better relationship with your dealer, play the game because life is a game, and buy stuff from him.

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At the end of the day, if the dealer is not servicing the customer well for small changes then it's a problem with the dealer's approach to business. Period. If the dealer chooses to ignore this aspect of the business, then it's at that dealer's peril. It's the dealers onus to find ways to keep their customers happy. There are lots of ways e.g. an annual service fee that includes a certain number of changes / hours / upgrades. Invariably at our dealership we find taking care of the small stuff means talking more to our customers which means more business is done with them. Ignoring the customers' small changes and moving from new install to new install is certainly a different approach to business but tends not to work well when the economy stagnates.

 

Another way to look at this is that helping a user with a 1 or 2 minute change at no cost is an incredibly inexpensive and high value form of marketing - a great way to attract new customers or upsell.  So with the proviso of setting reasonable limits and in the interests of some community service and marketing, I'll happily respond to PMs with small, pro bono service requests.

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It would take me a page to respond to this post.  That's why I'm not going to bother.  Does that sound like a dealer's response?

 

At the end of the day, if the dealer is not servicing the customer well for small changes then it's a problem with the dealer's approach to business. Period. If the dealer chooses to ignore this aspect of the business, then it's at that dealer's peril. It's the dealers onus to find ways to keep their customers happy. There are lots of ways e.g. an annual service fee that includes a certain number of changes / hours / upgrades. Invariably at our dealership we find taking care of the small stuff means talking more to our customers which means more business is done with them. Ignoring the customers' small changes and moving from new install to new install is certainly a different approach to business but tends not to work well when the economy stagnates.

 

Another way to look at this is that helping a user with a 1 or 2 minute change at no cost is an incredibly inexpensive and high value form of marketing - a great way to attract new customers.  So with the proviso of setting reasonable limits and in the interests of some community service and marketing, I'll happily respond to PMs with small, pro bono service requests.

I agree with your perspective and wish more dealers looked at the world like you do.  I never expect things for free, but accept them and expect to get what I pay for.

 

Piecing together some of your comments, identifies a problem that exacerbates this issue.   When you get into a situation where 1 dealer has done the "main" install and goes into hiding for the small jobs ("at their own peril"), the user looks for a new dealer.  I can't blame the new dealer for being less than enthusiastic about inserting themselves into a project that they didn't do or profit from.  So when dealers receive inquiries for this type of situation for small fixes on another dealer's project, I can understand how some might be less than enthusiastic about getting involved.

It is this state of affairs which ends up frustrating some users a lot.

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I hate to say it ....but it sounds like u would even have a hard time paying 10 dollars for 30 min....good luck on ur quest

 

I agree here.  I don't know what the magic pricepoint is, but any change means: 1) Scheduling, 2) Making the change 3) Testing the change 4) Customer acceptance and billing.  And that's if everything goes right.  More than likely (I would hope at least), the dealer will need to determine if any programming or lighting scenes will also need to be changed.  That doesn't sound like the case in this request, but if the request was to add a new light (vs move), then you would have to make sure the "House Off" (for example) lighting scene is updated to include the new light, etc.

 

Also, a quick comparison with my spa dealer.  I'd venture to say I've spent close to $40k with my C4 dealer.  About the same time, I purchased a hot tub for $12k.  They delivered, set it up, no fuss or worry.  At that point, there's really no recurring sale for them (I'm not the type that goes in every month and buys spa chems off the shelf - I buy it in bulk much cheaper online).  However, I had a minor issue with one of the LEDs.  The spa dealer was out the very next day, drained the spa, replaced the LED and then took the initiative to check all of the others after which they found another issue that had to be addressed.  They refilled the spa, put their chemicals in and returned two days later when the next part came in to do the very same thing as well as leave me a chem test report.  No charge.

 

Which begs a question to our dealer group here.  As dealers, are you compensated for your time for warranty items? 

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renaming items and things like that aren't a warranty item.  Sending a controller back because it broke, that is warranty.

 

So for that, does C4 compensate you for the time to remove the controller, replace the controller, set up and all that?  Same if you have to replace a switch.

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This scenario is why many people, including myself, are hesitant to go with a solution like Control4. With the rapid pace that AV devices are being introduced, a relatively tech-savy user is going to want to add or remove devices several times a year and want to add them to their system the moment they arrive. And while I understand and agree that a dealer needs to make it worth their time to do a small job, the customer also can't afford to pay $150 for a few clicks of the mouse and something that took 10 minutes to do.

 

I have programmed PLC's (programmable logic controllers) and DCS' (distributed control systems) for the past 7 years. When we buy a system from say Allen Bradley, Siemens, Emerson, Honeywell, etc. we buy the hardware and software. I think this is a model control4 needs to look into.

 

Here's a scenario: A user wants to buy a Control4 system. He works with an integrator to spec out the system and have it installed. Included in the quote is the Control4 hardware, license for the current version of the Control4 software (tied to a controller) and the integrators time and labor. Once the system is installed, the integrator hands it over to the user and it is now theirs. If the user ever wants to make a change to the system, they can do it themselves or can call the integrator to come in for a fee. If the user decides to do it for themselves, and messes the system up, then they will have to pay the integrator to come in and fix it. No free help. Also, the software is tied to a license that would only be tied to that customers system, so if they tried to user their software to program someone else's system it wouldnt work. Integrators would have a different license that would allow them to access multiple systems.

 

Once a new version of Control4 software comes out, the user will then have to go to the dealer and purchase a new license for the latest version of the software. They can then install it themselves if they want or hire the integrator to do the upgrade.

 

This is pretty much the model we have in the process automation world. Seems like it would be a win/win for both users and the integrators. Control4 could also allow integrators to become certified instructors. So users could pay tution to come in and learn how to use the system.

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If everyones in agreement that nearly all dealers have zero interest in making small changes to a customers system because they have bigger fish to fry doesnt thay show a huge problem with the busimess model? Leaving customers to become frustrated and live with an aging system for 6+ months that needs 10 min worth of updating because they don't have $5,000 worth of work.. Hopefully Control4 reads this and opens their eyes and let's customers have a more powerful version of composer.

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This is where guys like Neil come in as life savers, they are usually willing to remote in and do these small changes, if it was me and my dealer treated me like that I would stop using him and find a dealer here that is willing to sell you hardware and use Neil as my go to programmer

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