AV Design is the unsung hero of our industry. Everyone knows you need some element of design to make projects happen. Without any design, even the roughest sketch on a table napkin, installing a system in a house is nearly impossible. Yet there are very few industry awards for best design and therefore little formal recognition of the crucial role design plays in delivering projects into client’s properties.
And while it is invaluable to learn about best practices and industry standards, there is no better way to learn about AV design than with hands on experience. The field experience provides valuable insight into what goes into AV installation and its project management and what goes on, on site. Armed with this knowledge our AV designers have the power to make a job run smoothly by designing out or around potential problems and pitfalls on a project. It’s much easier (and cheaper) to get around a problem on paper before anything has been built than trying to find a work around or the latest clever widget to get you out of trouble when the project is nearing completion.
A well-designed project doesn’t have to cost the installation company anymore that a badly designed project in fact in most cases it costs less. The trick here is knowing how to sell the design to your clients. Many integrators say there is no way we can include a design fee in our proposals as the client will always go with the lowest bidder or the guy who isn’t charging for design. This is not always true! Firstly consider this; your client is probably building or refurbishing a building of some sorts. In order to do this at the very least, they will be paying an architect to design and detail the building. In most cases, they will also be employing an interior designer to set out the interior and make space a nice place to be. The client will be paying both of these companies a design fee for their services and time. So the client is already accustomed to paying for design and consultancy so it follows they would expect to pay the AV company for consultancy and design. The problem is in order to sell design you either need to have a well-renowned reputation for being good at what you do or be able to demonstrate to the client how you design your systems. So it’s a bit of a catch 22 if you don’t charge for the design you can’t pay a good designer to design your projects and therefore you will never have the documentation or reputation required to sell the design to your clients.
We propose that you work with us on some sample projects and use it to help sell the design to your clients. These may demonstrate to clients something tangible that they will receive in return for the payment of the AV design fee. Not to mention that it would put you in the driver's seat for the bidding process that would follow post the design is approved.