How do we price our proposals to you? There's nothing magical about it and, for new projects in particular, it is pretty straight-forwards to give accurate costings quickly.
For us, it is a fairly simple process of counting up areas and other factors and entering the numbers into a spreadsheet and this calculates the programming costs.
We can't create an accurate cost with a request like "I need a Crestron system programming; there are a few rooms of audio, two or three TVs, not sure what Crestron touchscreens yet.", but equally, the flipside is that we do not require a lot of detailed information to accurately price a project.
So, what do we need to know? The below list is the information we take into our costing calculation for a project we're developing from scratch. It's not a complex list and hopefully helps guide installers in what we need in order to help you:
- Number of audio zones
- Number of video zones (i.e. which of the zones have TVs?)
- Number of media rooms/cinemas - any zone that is not a straight-forward pair of speakers powered by a central audio amplifier such as Crestron Sonnex
- Number of sources (audio and video) - we don't really need to know what they are at this stage. Of course, some sources take more work than others (a Kaleidescape player takes longer to incorporate into software than an Apple TV), but we take an educated guess and some we win, some we lose.
The above list is the first stage and lays the groundwork for a cost. We next look at the environmental requirements for the project.
- Number of zones with lighting integration required
Typically, this is going to be the same as the total number of zones. Which zones require control of the lighting from the touchscreens, Crestron App on iPads etc.? Initially, we specify that each zone will have 4 or 5 scene recall buttons. If you're using Crestron Pyng, we will specify that we pull in the Pyng objects.
This part of the calculation is purely on the integration side, if we're also being asked to program the lighting system, we will deal with that separately.
- Number of zones with blinds or curtains integration
Again, just a count of the number of zones that will require integration of the blinds or curtains.
- Number of zones with heating and/or cooling integration
Another simple count - "there are 20 zones of heating and 12 zones with cooling". The integrator may not have a lot of details during the early phases of the project. We might put in some caveats if there is no information about the BMS at all (listing out the most common integration systems as the assumption it will be one of these).
- CCTV requirements
Do we need to display CCTV cameras on interfaces? How many cameras?
Is there an NVR that we need to offer control of and/or display on TVs?
- Door entry/intercom
Is there a suitable door entry system?
How many entrance call-stations are there?
Is there any requirement for intercom or paging between Crestron touchpanels?
Finally, once we've got a handle on the environmental factors, we look at the control interfaces:
- How many touchscreens? Will they roam (i.e. control any room in the house)?
- How many remote controls (HR-150 etc.)?
- How many keypads?
- How many presentations of Amazon Echo?
Having just these details will enable us to get a reasonably accurate programming figure based on our standard interfaces.
Clearly, the more information the better. But, we certainly do not need full engineering drawings and exact model details in order to create fairly accurate pricing.
In every proposal, we list out what we perceive the risks on the project to be. This will include any areas where more information will be required, and will also list out any assumptions we have made.
Naturally, as a project progresses and we commence the software development we will need much more detail such as models, input and output connections for devices etc., but to create a proposal on a typical project, we want to be as easy to work with as possible and really do not need much more detail than that described above.
Clearly, if your client has some specific requests for functionality, that will need to be taken into account and costed out. However, for the majority of our work, our calculations based on numbers of zones and the functionality within those zones delivers a cost that is both accurate and quick to turn around.
If you would like us to cost up a job for your next project, we can do this based on a reasonably limited amount of information:
- The number of audio zones in the project
- The number of video zones in the project
- The number of zones with surround sound presentation
- The number of audio sources
- The number of video sources
- The number of zones that have lighting control
- The number of zone that have curtains or blinds
- The number of zones with heating/cooling
- Information on CCTV and door entry/intercom requirements
- The number of touchscreens, iPads and handheld remote controls
- Whether Amazon Echo control will be required and in which zones
So please do contact us with any enquiries and we would be delighted to price up your requirements.