Adding Control to Your Contract
20 January 2012Ian Hamilton, managing director of decorative electrical wiring accessory, lighting and multi-room audio manufacturer Hamilton Litestat, examines how upselling and upgrading wiring accessories on a small scale can add value to contracts even on smaller projects.
With the stagnant housing market and the ‘don’t move improve’ ethos still in full swing, people are looking for quick, easy wins that will enhance their lifestyles without causing huge disruption or costing lots of money. Upgrading wiring accessories is a fantastic way of doing this, whether it’s introducing new plate designs to replace the functional white plastic or taking a first step into home automation with lighting or music controls.
There are products at the moment that can automate an entire home from top to bottom and these are great for projects that warrant them and customers that can afford them. But for smaller clients who want a taste of the ‘automated’ lifestyle, introducing systems on a small scale that can be built upon in the future might be the answer. Something like Hamilton’s new Mercury Multi-room Audio System – in which up to four music sources are plugged into a discreet hub and fed into up to four rooms – provides the ideal toe-in-the-water solution for customers who want luxury and convenience but can’t afford to automate their whole homes. It is quick and simple to install, with no programming required and uses a star wired hub architecture with all of the main components centralised in a single, compact wall-mounted hub. It comes with control plates in a variety of standard UK single–gang sized designs, meaning there are no American J-boxes or custom back boxes to factor in.
Clients will love controlling their music via the wall-mounted touchscreen plates, remote control or app on their Wi-Fi device eg iPhone or iPad, and it’s something that adds value to your wiring contract without adding too much time or extra work.
Smaller scale systems that can be expanded on at a later date as required are accessible to a much broader cross section of the market than an entire home automation system. This means that when working in apartments or smaller homes, opportunities still exist to boost the value of the contract.
Another solution would be to factor in something like Hamilton’s Digital Mercury Lighting Control system, again on a small scale if your client’s budget demands it. Music and lighting control systems add the wow factor, even if only in a few rooms in a house. And of course you can really sell the energy- and cost-saving benefits of lighting control systems as a way of helping your clients see the advantage of investing in a system now, when finances may be more challenged.
As well as upgrading music and lighting systems, upselling wiring accessories can also create a big impact for the client without going for an entire refit. Replacing standard white moulded products with something more stylish really adds something to the interior design of the room without having to remodel the whole decor. If your clients are being strict with their budgets, why not suggest that they pick key areas in which to improve their fittings, such as the main light switches, and use less premium accessories in other areas, such as kids’ bedrooms and low-level sockets in the kitchen. One way of doing this is to source a plate design range that caters for a number of different functions whilst keeping the same design features throughout. Something like Hamilton’s Hartland range caters for everything from premium metal plates with concealed fixings, through to smooth plastic plates with concealed fixings and standard box-fix metal plates with visible fixings. Depending on the budget you’re working to, you can make use of different finishes in different areas, giving the whole scheme an upgrade by being creative with which plates go where.
Overall, there’s a definite need to be more savvy at the moment when it comes to upscaling the value of contracts. There are plenty of opportunities out there in the refurbishment and refit markets for introducing new systems and accessories but there’s little point in scaring people off by asking them to run before they can walk. In this climate it’s trickier to overhaul someone’s entire wiring accessories system than it is to introduce small scale changes that can make a big impact for the customers, hopefully leading to repeat business as their needs increase or budgets rise.
Decorative electrical wiring accessories, audio and lighting control manufacturer Hamilton Litestat has supplied a varied selection of its switch plates and sockets to renowned horse trainer Paul Nicholls’ new house in Ditcheat, Somerset.