Unlike other industries, there is no real qualification process that goes into becoming a “home technology professional”. There is no five-star rating, no seal of approval, and no letter-grade system. This has resulted in sub-par work and broken promises, leading some consumers to distrust the home technology industry. Too often do professional installation companies have to come in and clean up a mess created by a less-qualified firm.
Customers end up with uncompleted work, expanded budgets, and technology they can’t operate. This gives the whole industry a bad name, and when qualified and professional firms come calling, consumers are skeptical.
This is where the Home Technology Association (HTA) comes in.
What Is the HTA?
The HTA was formed to create the benchmark for the custom installation industry. It was founded by integration professionals and is supported by true industry vets who will serve on the HTA board of advisors. They announced the new HTA certification to much excitement during CEDIA 2017.
This certification is a new standard homeowners and other professionals can trust in order to find the best AV workers for their projects. It includes a set of over 60 standards and will distinguish the top 10-15 percent of home tech AV professionals in any US-based market.
The HTA is the first organization in the industry to elevate home technology companies with a strict third-party certification process. This new certification program classifies home technology companies around three pillars.
- Technical Competency — Only firms with a strong history of technical expertise are certified.
- Aftercare Service — Homeowners want to work with companies that won’t just run off once the job is completed. Home tech businesses with ongoing support and service are preferred.
- Reputation — Certified companies must be fair, be honest, and have a history of satisfied customers.
In order to qualify, firms must have three consecutive years of solid performance, must have customer service support in place, and must include three endorsements from industry manufacturers and three from local industry professionals.
Why the Change?
There needs to be a way to evaluate the mass of home installation companies so consumers can find the best firms for their projects. Home installation professionals, builders, and designers all recognize the need for a certification program to raise the level of quality in the residential low-voltage market. The market is flooded with untrustworthy firms, and the HTA hopes its certification makes it easier for homeowners to separate quality AV companies from the pretenders.
Manufacturers fully support a new standard in home technology setup and installation. Home technology professionals are the direct link between a manufacturer and the consumer; if they do a poor job, it impacts the reputation of the brand as well.
AV companies will now be able to show off the HTA-Certified Mark of Excellence logo on their websites, trucks, and other marketing items. They’ll also be listed on the HTA dealer locator. This validation is bound to help certified AV companies build their brands and the industry profile in general.
Helping Homeowners Hire
Homeowners generally make their decisions based on price, relationships with the sales person, or a referral. Since the client might have little knowledge of home technology firms, the selection process can be confusing. This leads to hiring companies with poor designs, poor service, and poor execution.
The HTA certification allows customers to find quality technology professionals they can trust, have been vetted, and have the right experience. The HTA has also developed the first-of-its-kind technology budget calculator. This will help homeowners get a realistic picture of what their technology needs will cost. With that in mind, homeowners can find the best AV companies for their needs and have an idea of how to judge incoming quotes.
The creation of HTA and its certification program will not only elevate firms that have excellent track records, but it will help homeowners feel more confident when choosing a home technology specialist.