Have you ever asked a cop, some version of “at what speed will you really write me a ticket?”

You know when talking to a cop about this, we paint our police officer type friends into an uncomfortable corner.
For each cop knows that if the speed limit is, say 45, they do not mean that if you are unlawfully driving at 46 that they will cite you for your egregious criminality. Dave Barry, the syndicated humor columnist once famously stated that the United States is the only country in the civilized world that the real speed limit …. is a secret.

They don’t want to go there. Committing to any answer places them in uncomfortable territory, for they know that the enforcement will be inconsistent, and has all kinds of variables that affect their onsite decisions, and that one blanket answer cannot possibly cover. Stuff like weather, traffic and pedestrian load, road conditions, your irrational behavior, and belligerence.

Consider then how does a technology integration firm establishes a general budget conversation with first-time clients?

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  • Josh Christian

    Hi Frank,

    Very helpful information here on technology budget discussions. A recent tool that we created at the Home Technology Association (HTA) is the first consumer-facing Technology Budget Calculator. Check it out at:

    The Budget Calculator is free for anyone to use, it is directly linked on the HTA homepage. In just a few minutes, even the most tech-challenged potential client can get a 30,000-foot view of what a realistic technology budget is for their home. This is huge!

    HTA Certified integrators are using this tool ahead of their client meetings, telling their client to use the Budget Calculator before the meeting so the results can be discussed during their first meeting. If there is going to be sticker shock (and there usually is), it will be coming from a neutral association whose sole purpose is to help consumers hire the right technology firm for their needs. The integrator is no longer the bad guy.

    Clients are accepting the budget range as fact, not opinion, and this greatly helps the integrator move forward in a collaborative way with their prospective client, guiding them to where they feel comfortable between the low and high ranges of the Budget Calculator. Here are some of the benefits we’ve heard from integrators using it:

    1 – raises overall technology budget
    2 – helps integrators sell more subsystems (many clients don’t know integrators do lighting & shading, etc)
    3 – minimizes (sometimes eliminates) clients “shopping” multiple integrators
    4 – integrators are landing design contracts on first meeting

    It’s free for anyone to use, check it out: