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Looking for a Houston/Galveston area integrator


Jay-Hawks

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My wife and I are in the process of building a new home and we are getting pretty close to do the wiring of the house and I'm looking to find a C4 integrator in the area.  I have spoken with two different integrators and I have real concerns about both.  Not going to give names but the first one is a small company and probably just a single guy and the quote he gave me was pretty reasonable and I had planned to use him but I'm having problems getting him to call me back or reply to emails on a timely basis.  Given that this probably will be a long term relationship this scares the crap out of me.

 

Because of my concerns regarding the the first integrator I contacted a larger one and they were and continue to be far more responsive but the prices are crazy high and it seems to me all they want to do is sell me equipment.  When I started saying that this system will grow over time but I need to start off on the smaller side and let it grow they seem to loose interest.  Like most new construction projects we have found more ways to blow our budget so some areas have to be cut and unfortunately my C4 system is on that list.

 

What I'm looking for in an integrator is one that is willing to work with the equipment I have and try and keep the budget down on the initial setup with an eye on future expansion.  Initially we are looking to do whole home video distribution, whole home audio distribution, maybe a camera or two and control some fans, couple lights, thermostat and blinds.  I know that is a pretty significant list but I already have the HDMI 8x8 switch with the HDMI extenders (Snap AV - Control4 Certified) and my whole home audio amp (C4-16AMP3-B) to help on costs.  I don't plan to wire up all the whole home audio locations at first to keep costs down and the amount of items (dimmers, fans and control switches) that I plan to start off with will be limited as well.  Since we are about ready to have the electrician come in (within the next month) I really need to pick an integrator and get going with this.  My initial budget is going to be around 15k and I would be more comfortable in the 12k range.  Since this is a new home my primary focus right now is getting it all wired up so it will be able to do what I want to do now and in the future.  We are located in the Houston/Galveston area and are actually much closer to Galveston.

 

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Jay,

 

Take this with a grain of salt but you are a typical customer. You want everything for as little as possible. 

 

1. A single person dealer that's a little slow to get back to you is better than him getting right back to you. That means he is busy and more than likely dealing with customers that pay for his time. At this point you are just a shopper and after reading your post I would venture a guess that you are scaring him.

 

2. Of course the larger integrator is going to be more expensive. He has overhead, employees, and more paying customers to deal with. 

 

3. You have already bought some parts and I am sure you have told the vendors that. This is the first sign to most vendors that you are going to shop EVERYTHING on the parts list and tell them you can get it cheaper. Vendors love hearing that.

 

4. You say "I don't plan to wire up all the whole home audio locations at first to keep costs down" when in reality running wire all over the house now will cost you less than adding a pair of speakers later when the drywall is up is another sign of a customer that is usually the first one to complain when I tell someone "its $250 now and $2500 later".

 

Also customers who say "start small and grow" and the people who typically mean "start as cheap as you can or ill do it myself" and no one likes to deal with that. I am not sure of what you do for a living but I equate it to this. I want a Corvette but cannot afford it so Im going to buy a Honda Civic and add a loud tail pipe, spoiler, ground effect kit, and complain about why it isnt as fast, sharp or respectable as a vette. Oh and it works like crap compared to a vette, lots of bugs and tweaks. I want you here all night working on my vette/civic till you get it right!

 

This is all my opinion of course.

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I hear ya and I actually didn't type everything correctly, it was 5am and I couldn't sleep.  When i said that I don't plan to wire up the whole home that was incorrect.  My plan is to wire up all the locations NOW while it's just framing but to keep costs down my plan was to not hook up speakers/TV's/Camera's at all the locations initially.  I have a priority list and I will install as much as my budget will allow and after that I have to wait until later.

 

I had conversations with my first integrator prior to buying any equipment and I asked him specifically if he had any issues with me shopping around for some of the gear on my own and he told me that was fine and not an issue.  My thought was if I could save at least 40% elsewhere I would look into buying it there but otherwise I was going to get everything from him.  He needs to make some money on this project and I get that.  I thought his prices were actually pretty good on his equipment and I had planned to buy a lot of the stuff from him.  My concern was that I would text him and I wouldn't hear back for two weeks and sometimes not at all.  I understand he is busy and I haven't paid him anything yet but if he is this slow to respond before he has my money what is he going to be like after he has it?  That is my concern.

 

I totally get the idea of you get what you pay for and right now I can't afford the whole thing and my focus is making sure that I have a plan for all that I eventually want to do and make sure that the wiring is in place for that when and if I decide to add to it in the future.

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Why not buy/install all the equipment yourself and have a remote integrator do the programming via the web?  Thats what I did.  Admittedly I also had a low voltage contractor run some ethernet and small wiriing in my house, but it saved me a bundle on C4 labor.  To this day I have never had a C4 installer inside my house and it is the only way I could afford the system.  I have expanded mine probably a half dozen times by adding switches/sensors myself and have them remotely added to my project.  I am in Houston if you want more info... feel free to PM me.

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I feel for your predicament. I am headed down WaarrEagles path. I have a second home with C4 installed and love the system but have really struggled beyond the initial installation. Little changes either get ignored (we're busy) or cost a fortune or both. Enough whining. I have put Lutron Radio Ra2 in both houses myself and locks, thermostats etc. Fortunately my Houston house is fully wired with cat 5e, even the phone lines, which have come in handy. I would recommend that you run Cat6 wire to every place you can imagine (2 to every TV). Wire is cheap when there is no sheetrock up. Get them to run tubes as much as possible and don't let them staple the wire in the walls, makes pulling later impossible.
With all due respect to the dealer above, this is precisely the attitude I have trouble with. There are two kinds of customers for C4 - rich and don't care and high tech but not money bags. They treat all customers like the former. In Houston there is too much work at the moment, although that's going to slow down a lot as back log is worked off.  Do they really need 20%+ markup on materials when you're buying wholesale Plus installation plus $100 an hour for programming. This is one of the reasons home automation is not ubiquitous...feel free to PM me

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  • 2 months later...

I hear ya MAW246, every time I seem to ask about how much will this cost or do I really need this to start with it seems that most dealers just write you off as not worth their time, really frustrating.  I mean in the end I'm going to spend over 20k on my system and most still treat me like like crap.

 

Well I ended up parting ways with my first installer and I found another one (Protech Communications) and to be honest my experience with them has been pretty good.  While cost is a concern for me the relationship that I will have with my integrator is almost more important since this is going to be a long term relationship.  So far they have been quick to respond to my questions and I have felt like I'm actually important to them which is a nice switch.

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  • 11 months later...
On 8/27/2015 at 8:06 AM, adamt said:

Jay,

 

Take this with a grain of salt but you are a typical customer. You want everything for as little as possible. 

 

1. A single person dealer that's a little slow to get back to you is better than him getting right back to you. That means he is busy and more than likely dealing with customers that pay for his time. At this point you are just a shopper and after reading your post I would venture a guess that you are scaring him.

 

2. Of course the larger integrator is going to be more expensive. He has overhead, employees, and more paying customers to deal with. 

 

3. You have already bought some parts and I am sure you have told the vendors that. This is the first sign to most vendors that you are going to shop EVERYTHING on the parts list and tell them you can get it cheaper. Vendors love hearing that.

 

4. You say "I don't plan to wire up all the whole home audio locations at first to keep costs down" when in reality running wire all over the house now will cost you less than adding a pair of speakers later when the drywall is up is another sign of a customer that is usually the first one to complain when I tell someone "its $250 now and $2500 later".

 

Also customers who say "start small and grow" and the people who typically mean "start as cheap as you can or ill do it myself" and no one likes to deal with that. I am not sure of what you do for a living but I equate it to this. I want a Corvette but cannot afford it so Im going to buy a Honda Civic and add a loud tail pipe, spoiler, ground effect kit, and complain about why it isnt as fast, sharp or respectable as a vette. Oh and it works like crap compared to a vette, lots of bugs and tweaks. I want you here all night working on my vette/civic till you get it right!

 

This is all my opinion of course.

Are you still looking for an Integrator? If so, I'm sure we could help out.

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