Don't let perfection get in the way of progress
The overwhelming response to last week's post, Turn Your Lighting Control Dots Into Docs, made one thing clear...AV / Smart Home integrators are starting to understand the benefits of going "out of house" for professional system design and documentation. And the responses of first time clients are a good indication of why, maybe best summed up by this one we received recently: "So happy we found each other!"
For those still new to the concept, the biggest question we get is "how do I get started"? The short answer? Don't overthink it! Obviously, the better intake we get up front the more efficient we can be w/our deliverables...saving time means saving money. But don't let perfection get in the way of progress! Some general guidance re. the project requirements is generally sufficient.
For example, to follow is typical of what a "first request" can look like. We receive your intake, in most any form, and transform it into a fully designed system including any of the docs you need. Most often this is in the form of an email w/supporting plans attached...such as this:
"I'm looking for a Full Design please (as I see in your sample drawings) Our client wants tunable lighting on the outside eaves (all 4 sides of house), and accent lighting inside (coves, kitchen U/C, kitchen islands, Master Bath toe kick, stair railing, Master Closet, etc.). Attached are the architect's drawings. I sent these to DMF so they can evaluate the recessed lighting fixtures, also American Lighting for tape lights and Coastal Source for their input.
Once I get this back from them, I'll forward it to you. I'd like you to take it from there as follows:
-Prepare our electrical layout drawings first, showing details of installation for tape lights and recessed (modify architect .dwg files as needed)
-Add Lutron Homeworks keypads (she wants a custom keypad so it will be wired). Bedrooms and Bathrooms besides master suite will be conventional wiring with Lutron standard dimmers (we will still supply the same fixtures)
-Add interface to control exterior gas lights (need to determine if low voltage or 120V) plus 120V for the LV window candle transformers
-Add shade prewire for MBR, great room and kitchen shades. She doesn't like Roller shades (is looking at Roman shades or something TBD)
-Build D-Tools proposal for fixtures, Homeworks QSX processor lighting control
-Program Built through BOM stage
The client also wants Ketra bulbs at the makeup center of the master bath & vanity, plus master closet. Other areas of the main house we will likely skip unless we can make the D3 downlight look the same as the American Lighting recessed light (TBD), in which case they may want that for the artwork accent. Let's plan on D3 downlighting in the master closet, A20 bulbs for the others.
This job is evolving so it's going to go beyond what I've mentioned above I'm sure. I look forward to speaking with you after you've had a chance to review this."
This got the ball rolling. To answer the NEXT most frequently asked question (how much is this going to cost), we'll typically work on an hourly basis when a project is at this stage of development. This way, we keep the cost down by providing only what's needed AS it's needed. When the project scope is more fully defined, we can then quote a fixed fee...which obviously varies depending on the deliverables required.
So, hopefully this adds a little more "light" to the process and gives you the confidence to "just do it" and get us involved in YOUR next project...maybe soon you'll be the one saying "I'm so happy we found each other!"
Didja know...??? Is a series of "information bits" by Curt Hayes, BlueDog Group co-founder and managing partner, and architect of the BlueDog Database.