Tales from the Trenches - Bringing on Help
December 1, 2002

For many installers, it's the best of times and the worst of times. The good news is that custom work is finally getting mainstream recognition from builders, manufacturers, and most importantly, consumers. As a result, there's more work now than ever. Unfortunately, for many companies, that's the bad news, too. In a business based on service, the difference between a prospering company that can deliver jobs on time, and another that struggles to keep up with demand (never mind growth) can come down to one factor — employees. For C-tailers in today's market, finding qualified, professional installation personnel that can not only turn around

I-Spy - Can Big Chains Do Custom?
October 1, 2002

By Ron Goldberg There's a lot of buzz in the custom business about impending competition from CE chain retailers who want to get into the custom market. Depending on who you talk to, the thought of competition from the likes of the "big box" stores is either laughable or terrifying. Those chains have spent the better part of two decades refining the price-driven, warehouse-type shopping environment that has come to dominate the CE retail landscape. Smaller chains may differentiate themselves with knowledgeable service or different product lines, but on many levels, they still have to compete on the big chain's playing field. Can any

Lessons to Learn
October 1, 2002

Custom Installation Education Diversifies By David Dritsas The front line of any custom retail business is the employee. Because the employee—whether a member of the sales, design or installation team—is the primary contact to the customer, it's essential that employees genuinely know what they are talking about. They are the ones that must convincingly convey to the customer the value of what the customer is buying—or could be buying. That's not an easy task in the increasingly complex landscape of custom CE. There's a lot to know, and classes aren't taught on college campuses. Manufacturers, retailers and installers unanimously agree that the need for

Origin of the Species
October 1, 2002

The Evolution of the Modern C-tailer By Jessica Millward> Meet John Q. Public. John loves the idea of a custom-installed home theater in his den. He's also interested in connecting his household PCs into a single networked system. If he was aware of the options, he'd also be a prime candidate for automated lighting and a security system for his home. In shopping for these technologies, John will want to personally experience a broad selection of components and configurations, and will require well-informed advice from an experienced specialist. Being the quintessential one-stop shopper, he'd like all this, and maybe a pair of headphones,