Three Questions — and Answers — for Those New to the Industry

Ed Wenck
Aug 17, 2016

The CEDIA crew recently got a missive from the folks at CEPro, who passed along a letter from a newbie in the biz. This gent, who just opened his own “custom home electronics company,” rapidly realized what a lot of integrators come to understand soon after hanging out their shingle: Being a network-designing/calibrating/cable-pulling-wunderkind is one thing — running a business is quite another.

To that end, this fellow had three pretty big questions — and with the help of CEDIA’s Luke Amos (Senior Director of Education), we’ve got answers.

Q1: What is an industry average for hourly labor? Does it differ by task (installation, programming, design, etc.)? 

The letter-writer expanded: “One of the primary challenges I’m facing is identifying the ‘going-rate’ for my services; there’s a huge variation in hourly rates, etc.  My goal is not to be the cheapest nor do I want to price myself out of business either.” There are two solutions that came to mind: One, take the CEDIA Size and Scope Survey and get a free copy of the research — industry-wide info will be included. Two, CEDIA Groups are a pretty great way to share info with peers who aren’t competitors — but may be serving markets of similar size or income levels.

Q2: Where can I find a good template/wording for my client contracts?

Luke responds:

Much of this was held in our idea bank which was taken offline in 2013. Those are being revised and placed on our Resource Library and Community Library. ... We’ve been pulling documents from the archive by request while cleaning them up. There is a sample RMR (Recurring Monthly Revenue) contract in our Designing Service Contracts Webinar.

(The CEDIA Community program was just launched on Tuesday, Aug. 16 2016, in part as a means to share these kinds of documents.)

Q3: What are some general best practices for running a small business in this industry?

Amos first suggests this list of free training for members.

From there, one might consider attendance at CEDIA 2016 — there are numerous courses in Business Growth and Operational Excellence that will likely answer many questions. If a trip to Dallas isn’t in the cards, San Antonio’s nice in early March, and the annual Business Xchange is an excellent, collaborative way to get the answers to your startup questions.



CEDIA blog posts are intended to provide general information and should not be regarded as legal opinions or advice.

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