The possibilities for integrating technology into your home today are seemingly endless.
Some dream of having a home theater that makes it sound like Darth Vader is breathing in the same room. Or perhaps you’re looking for a high-performance home audio system that will bring you back to the days when you had front-row seats at a Pearl Jam concert.
Or, you might just want a home that can provide daily conveniences — opening and closing the blinds, illuminating your home with a single touch, or seeing who is at the front door on your phone.
No matter what type of solution you’re seeking, it starts by finding the right home automation and technology partner. The company you hire can make all the difference between a project that adds joy to your everyday life and one that becomes a pain point within it.
Here are some of the key attributes to look for in a home automation and technology company:
Products That Last
One of the most common questions homeowners have at the start of a new project is, “What works best?” The answer is not as simple as it may seem. While one product may be superior to another by itself, it’s often more about how you can combine it with other products to create the desired experience.
That’s the reason why we built showrooms in Seattle and Bellevue — to provide an atmosphere in which customers can sit down and experience a variety of combinations for themselves. This helps to put our customers’ minds at ease going into an installation, as they already have an idea of what kind of performance to expect.
How do we choose the products we carry?
Very carefully. Regardless of the price point, we choose to carry high-quality products and manufacturers who are very customer-centric. When combining products for demonstration, we always consider quality and feature balance, which helps to ensure each product in the system work together to create a harmonious system. And, finally, we think about longevity — as we want your system to withstand the ultimate test of time.
We’re able to make these assessments through more than 40 years of experience. Over time, we’ve been fortunate to develop strong relationships with some of the best manufacturers in the industry, including Bowers & Wilkins and Linn — which we have carried as a product line in Definitive since nearly the beginning.
This instills confidence in our customers that the manufacturers we work with stand behind their products, just like we do.
“We know about engineering world-class products, but Definitive knows about you. Their experience and knowledge enables them to help you choose the products that fit best with your life. Their expert installers configure our products to work in a perfect harmony with your home. And of course, they’re always here to keep you in the loop whenever new technologies enable us to make the world’s best audio systems even better.” – Gilad Tiefenburn , Managing Director, Linn Products, Ltd.
Decades of Experience
Every project is unique. You could get the same system as your neighbor but the set up will be different, depending on your home’s architecture, your preferences, and how you plan to use it.
For that reason, it’s ideal to work with a provider that has decades of experience performing custom installations. This increases the likelihood that the provider will be able to anticipate issues before they occur, helping you avoid costly delays.
Fortunately, Definitive’s team has experience solving a wide range of challenges — from base problems to highly integrated large residential, commercial and marine projects. This prevents your project from getting sidelined if an obstacle presents itself.
We have a dedicated team that supports each project, including system design, engineering, project management, service technicians, and installation.
There are also a lot of moving parts behind the scenes of an installation, which are orchestrated by our warehouse and administrative teams.
Why is it important to have designated roles for each team member?
It allows our employees to deepen their knowledge and refine their craft, becoming the best at what they do. This is particularly meaningful for employees who’ve always had a passion for the trade and now have the ability to pursue it professionally.
To support their career development, we provide employees with opportunities to attend tradeshows and manufacturer trainings across the globe. Spending time at these companies, such as Linn and dCS, allows our employees to get to know the products and the people who make them.
“Knowledge combined with different perspectives is always a good thing,” says Tom King, who has been with Definitive for more than 30 years. “The more I learn, the more I can give accurate, helpful information — ultimately enabling the buyer to make an educated decision on what’s best for them.”
That knowledge is reflected in the final product we deliver to customers.
Custom Installation Team
Today’s home technology systems are becoming easier to operate, more cost effective and can be designed to incorporate the systems already in your home — including lighting, temperature control, automated shades, music, movies, and security.
Your provider should ask about your goals and the home automation or technology systems you already have in place before making recommendations for new products to buy. It’s also critical that your provider has the technical expertise and training to complete a custom installation.
How do you know if you’re hiring a viable company?
In Washington, the state works to protect homeowners by requiring contractors to be properly licensed, bonded and insured.
Make sure that your home automation and technology company has the following:
- Business License: This ensures that contractors are known businesses in Washington State and, if they have employees, that they are protected by workman’s compensation.
- Contractor License: This enables the company to provide construction work within their area of specialty. You can pull a permit to do work.
- General Liability Insurance: This covers any accidental damage to your property. Washington State requires at least $50,000 in General Liability Insurance.
- Bond: This provides financial recourse for you if the job is left unfinished. General contractors must have a $12,000 bond.
- Limited Energy (06) Licensing: This is required for any work being done inside the walls of your home.
- Electrical Licensing (02): This ensures that there is an Electrical Administrator on staff who is responsible to ensure all codes and requirements are being met. If the company you’re hiring has this license, a 06 license is not required.
You can verify that your prospective home automation and technology company has met all of the necessary requirements by using this tool from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.
A highly trained provider will also think through all the nuances of a home installation before starting work. For example, the team should make sure that each component is housed in a location where it has the ability to cool off after use, to avoid overheating.
These details are incredibly important to the team at Definitive. With support from experienced engineers, project managers, and installers, we deliver home technology that runs smoothly and is a joy for everyone to use.
Service Beyond the Sale
Have you ever worked with a contractor or company that was incredibly responsive, until the job was complete and something needed to be adjusted or fixed?
At Definitive, we believe that service is part of an ongoing relationship.
In fact, we have team members who specialize in the repair, maintenance, and calibration of individual components. Our in-house technician can service technology in the home and restore vintage hi-fi products for our customers. We’re authorized to service every brand that we sell, even if manufacturers no longer support repairing them.
Why do we care so much about what happens after the installation?
We don’t just want to sell you high-quality speakers or a high-performance audio system. We want to partner with you to create a meaningful experience that adds value to your daily life.
Stop by one of our showrooms today to explore the possibilities.