Today, more and more consumers are looking for easy, functional ways to outfit their home with the latest technologies, and as homeowners are inundated with the latest offerings, it’s even more important for contractors to stay up to date.
Below, Chip Wade, contractor and HGTV star, offers tips for contractors looking to ensure satisfied, repeat customers when working with clients interested in all things smart, and shares his experience working with these same products on the jobsite to make a renovation easier.
Outsmarting Smart Technology -Take the time to educate yourself on the benefits of smart home products. The modern client has an elevated awareness of available technologies for the home, but typically lacks the full understanding or confidence to select and incorporate on their own. They look to us as contractors and specifiers to be that voice of knowledge and forethought.
Clients will also have different wants, often depending on what their level of understanding might be and how much their home is able to adapt. Offering a breadth of general knowledge helps to demystify the process and aid the consumer in finding out exactly what they need.
After doing close to 2000 renovations over the past 10 years, I’ve found one of the most impactful things I can do for my clients is include thoughtful elements that make their everyday lives easier and smart products are one of the most straightforward ways to do so. WiFi enabled switches, intercoms, or app controlled receptacles are examples of simple things that bring the best return, and a big smile to a client’s face.
Where to Begin -Depending on what the homeowner is looking for, there are several products that contractors can offer that provide upgrades and assistance to the home. Legrand Smart Lighting, for example, is an easy entry point to smart lighting control in the home. The smart switches and dimmers allow homeowners to control lights from within the home and outside the home via the Legrand Smart Lighting App. Nest security suites, which provide smart thermostats, doorbells, alarm systems, and locks are a great choice for clients more well-versed in the tech space. Another product I always recommend to clients is a great wireless broadcast system like EERO. Smart products are only as good as the reliability and strength of the home’s internet signal so a broadcast and range extending system that goes beyond a singular router can give the best coverage.
For contractors looking for resources to learn the latest on specific smart technologies, I recommend searching “top smart home products’ and looking at articles from the past two years. This usually provides a good spectrum of devices that naturally produce an awareness based on user experience. I also look at many of the annual national promotional houses that feature full installation of some of the latest product offerings. You can easily find those by searching terms like “feature smart home” or “showhouse.”
How To Take Advantage of Smart Products On The Jobsite – Beyond suggesting smart products that offer added security benefits to the client, contractors can also use those products, like smart locks and cameras, on the jobsite to increase safety and make the process easier. Transparency, safety and a strict timeline are key when working on a large scale renovation. A wireless exterior camera mounted in the yard facing the renovation is a great tool for exterior projects to keep track of progress and as an added incentive for subcontractors to stay on track. It can even be a great idea to install a WiFi enabled smart switch, like the Legrand Smart switch, to exterior flood lights to control light after dark if the construction team needs more visibility at the end of the day for cleanup.
Above all else, smart technologies are on the rise, and contractors who are up-to-date on the latest smart devices, and can offer their clients that type of advice and service, have a strategic advantage in the industry. Be smart! The return will be there in the long run.
Chip Wade is an interior designer, certified residential contractor and emmy-award winning television producer. Chip graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in mechanical engineering and shortly following shifted his career to media, lending his carpentry skills to the Atlanta team of HGTV’s Designed to Sell. Chip has dedicated his career to help people make educated home improvement decisions on everything from smart products to new decking. He is currently Legrand’s Smart Lighting brand ambassador. Chip resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife and three children.