Home automation is one of the most popular technological advances of this millennium. The growth is so rapid that MarketsandMarkets estimates the value of the smart home market to grow up to $135.3 billion globally by 2025. This expected rapid growth means that now is the time anyone can venture into this business and make a killing.
Here are a few steps you can take to start a home automation business:
- Decide what your home automation will be offering.
- Determine your business structure.
- Create your home automation business model.
- Design and build your business website.
- Set up your business phone system.
- Start your marketing campaign.
- Be clear and consistent with your offering.
As the demand for this innovative service continues to grow each year, savvy entrepreneurs pitch in to take advantage of this business opportunity. This article discusses how you can start a home automation business in great detail.
When starting any business, the first thing to do is to choose a specific niche and decide what you’ll be offering. The home automation market has an extensive range of services, and you can choose any that fits your skills and experience.
Some of the services and systems you can offer or sell in the home automation market are:
- Smart security systems
- Entertainment suites
- Smart lighting control
- Wi-Fi networks
- Smart window dressing controls
- Smart flood detectors
- Smart thermostats
Choose a niche you’re already familiar with or don’t mind learning. Many people just getting into the home automation market make the mistake of thinking they need to be well-versed in everything to get the most clients. However, you don’t need to be everything before heading into this business.
While being the man-of-all-work has its advantages, if you offer everything under the sun to your clients, it may be hard for new or potential clients to know what you’re good at.
As you progress in your home automation business, you can always gain skills and experience and leverage them to increase the opportunities and chances of success.
After narrowing down your services, you’ll need to research your potential clients or target market to know what they want. This will allow you to create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) to attract the type of clients you want.
You’ll need to consider factors like age and the number of people in a household that’s likely to buy your services or products.
For example, if you offer home products like smart alarms and smart lighting systems, your target would be a larger home that may be struggling with its energy bills. You’ll also target luxury spenders or comfort seekers who love tech or enjoy the status of having technology in their homes.
Another crucial step in starting a home automation business is to map out the legal structure of your business.
You have quite a few types of business structures to choose from, but in the end, you’ll have to decide between being a sole proprietor or franchisee in the smart home industry.
Deciding from the beginning is crucial as it’ll determine how you’ll run the day-to-day operations of your business. It also determines the income tax return you’ll be filing.
Each business structure has its benefits, and these may be part of your deciding factors.
For instance, if you decide to operate your home automation business as a sole proprietor, you’ll have more flexibility and freedom. Because you’ll be in charge of your business, you decide what to offer to clients, how to maintain your business, market it, and how you’ll run everything else.
A sole proprietorship also requires less paperwork, and tax requirements are fewer. You don’t have to sign any contracts with anyone, except for maybe a few local business licenses.
However, the biggest drawback of a sole proprietorship is that you don’t have any liability protection. As the business owner, you’re liable for any financial problems or obligations of the business. If your business gets sued, your assets, earnings, and property are at risk.
You may also find it harder to secure loans as banks prefer working with a more established business.
Now, if you decide to buy into a franchise, you have a better opportunity to find clients and scale your business right away. Since you’re buying into an already established business, it increases your chances of success in a field or niche where you have little or no work experience.
It’s also easier to get a business loan since the brand or franchisor has a history of proven success. You’ll also have the franchisor’s support, equipment, instructions, and training to help with business management.
That said, this business structure doesn’t come with its drawbacks. The primary disadvantage is the reduced freedom. Since the franchisor wants to protect their brand’s value, they exert some level of control on you.
Depending on the contract agreements, the franchisor may place restrictions on what you can sell, your business location, business model, hours of operation, etc., because of the existing business model.
Also, the initial investment can be high, especially if you’re buying into a big-name franchise. The franchisor may also require you to pay a monthly fee every month and even charge extra fees for some services.
So, in the end, you have to weigh the pros and cons of each business structure and decide which will work best for home automation business needs.
There are a few business models you can employ in your home automation business. Most existing companies in this industry use one profitable model that involves selling home automation products like smart security systems, smart lighting control, smart alarms, etc.
Once you’ve identified your specific audience, you can also offer to do direct installations for them. You can charge in various ways, including a flat rate or an hourly fee. Picture it as calling a plumber, AC company, or electrician to install a fixture in your home and charging you a fee.
Another option is to charge your clients monthly or yearly fees for updates and repairs. You may also charge them per visit if they don’t prefer monthly payments. The key is to leave room for future innovation and always look for opportunities to improve and expand your business.
For example, you can start offering your services to commercial buildings and complexes. Doing this will allow you to earn more than you do with a residential house. It’ll also help you create more trust as a brand and establish your business more.
Also, you need to be aware that you can’t be successful in your home automation without key partners and experts. For example, you can set up your business to be the lead of a team of professionals and contractors to handle installations and automation.
The best way to go about setting up your team is to look for people with good enough electrical and tech skills and give them training on how to use your products.
Another set of key business partners are suppliers and parts wholesalers. A good supplier and partner relationship will allow you to focus on your core competencies and provide better services to your clients, rather than worrying about whether they will meet your needs.
Since supplier communications are mostly one way, you can easily replace them if they don’t meet your expectations.
In the smart home industry, you need a good business website to build your brand.
I can assure you that creating your professional website will take your business to another level. Clients will trust you more and see you as a legitimate business. Even if you’re active on social media, it’s still not a replacement for a business website that shows all the services you offer, your portfolio, work history, client reviews, etc.
And the best thing about it is that internet advancements have made it easier for anyone to build a website. You don’t have to learn all the codes and design from scratch. Instead, you can use a website builder like Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly.
If you have some coding experience, a content management system (CMS) like WordPress is the way to go. It’s the best CMS as far as business website creation goes. It also has an active support community where you can find information and plugins to improve your website.
Also, many professional developers know how to use it, so it’s easy to find someone to work on your site if you run into any problems. Other CMS you can use are Drupal and Joomla.
However, if the thought of building a website yourself leaves you in sweat, you can still hire a freelance website designer on Upwork, Fiverr, or any other freelance marketplace.
As you can see, the importance of setting up your home automation business website cannot be overemphasized. You’ll get more business and eyes-on from prospective clients. It’ll also solidify your brand and boost your reputation and credibility online.
Setting you a phone system or service for your smart home business will help you manage client calls and communicate with them more efficiently.
It also helps you create a professional image and allows you to work from anywhere, even your home. This can mean a lot if you’re just starting your home automation business. Potential clients will see you as a pro and reach out to you.
Many business phone services will allow you to track wait times, call duration, and overall usage. They also provide features like caller ID, call forwarding, call recording, call routing, call waiting, and more.
Marketing is an essential part of any business, and you must not neglect it. You’ll need to create social media campaigns and promote your unique home automation products on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
An essential part of your marketing efforts will be to build a landing page and driving quality and targeted traffic to it. From there, you can capture the emails of potential clients and get leads.
You also need to take advantage of your source network to gain partnerships. When you create an internet marketing circle, you can easily approach potential clients from multiple directions.
You should also work toward ensuring you have repeat customers. Reach out to old customers via email, but be careful not to spam them.
Most homeowners like to believe they have the most innovative home systems, automated security systems, etc. It’s your job to ensure that their egos are stoked from time to time with quality additions and updates.
Consistency in any business is often the difference between success and failure. Being consistent helps you build trust, create awareness, grow your business, deliver quality service, and make a good profit.
The key to consistency is creating a plan and working toward sticking to it. Your goal also needs to be something tangible and actionable.
Once you’ve laid down your plan, create schedules to support it and track your progress. Ensure all your efforts and actions align with your goals and the greater good of your business.
Also, define your brand and be clear with what you’re offering your customers and their benefits when they do business with you.
Consider how any changes in interaction affect your client. These changes will help you understand what they want and provide it to them every time.
The home automation industry will continue to grow in leaps and bounds as long as technology keeps evolving. You too, can hop on the train before things get too competitive.
The first step in getting started in the smart home industry is to decide what you’re offering your clients. Now, weigh the pros and cons of sole proprietorship and franchisee and determine the type of structure you want for your business.
You’ll also need to lay down a model and create your website. Finally, set up a business phone system and launch your marketing campaign.