Integrator Forum: Part II
Technology Integrator: How has this last year been for you?
Ryan Heringer, President, Sound Concepts, Jonesboro, Ark.: It was a blockbuster year for Sound Concepts, with around 15 percent growth. This is due to new categories, window treatments, wireless audio, and we are doing our own acoustical isolation and acoustical treatments for rooms in-house. Surveillance products through Snap AV are the biggest-growing category.
Tim May, Principal, Alamo Electronics, Cincinnati, Ohio: Overall business continues to improve. Retail floor traffic is still soft compared to prior the recession. It’s still an exciting industry with an overwhelming amount of technology and product. I feel like the Jetsons are moving in.
Dave Raines, President, Osbee Industries, Harrison, N.Y.: Outrageous! Overwhelming. We are so busy; we need more people. Our reputation is getting out there. We’re dealing more and more with higher-end architects.
Mike Ruger, President and CEO, Art and Automation, Maui, Hawaii: In terms of history, it’s been a decent year. We had been doing pretty well until the economy collapsed in 2008 and when that happened, people who spend disposable income on luxury items, which we sell, started to disappear. Fortunately, we had some commercial projects to lean back on, and that got us through the tough years.
David Schindler, Owner, Ultimate A/V, Boca Raton, Fla.: My business is seasonal, and we work a lot with Northern designers and have a lot of snowbirds as clients, so business tends to taper off in summer. Also, I believe we’re getting more trunk-slammers as competition who are underbidding labor. Some clients are going out and literally buying the products, and these guys will do the install and are not paying installers or subs, whereas I sub out to qualified, certified installers. I don’t want to wear multiple hats; I know what I do best, and I only want to design and sell it, and the guys who do the installs for me make the magic happen. The end result to the client, on the flip side, is, ‘I hope you can find this guy next year, when you need a service call.’ I’ve done two fixes in the last month on these types of mistakes by others, and one was a fix on a $100,000 installation – a dedicated theater, and that client just did not want the salesperson back in their home. So now, I’ve made a client from a service call.