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Why Do AV Systems Integrators Work for Free?

Our knowledge has value, let’s not give it away

By Daniel L. Newman October 27, 2015

This article is provided by Commercial Integrator

You walk into the office of a local architect and say, “Hi, I would like to tell you about the house I want to build, and I would like for you to design it and create drawings so I can have a contractor build it, and I want you to do this for free.”

What do you suppose the architect would say?

A while back, a well-known property development group called us (United Visual) to design a system for its executive board room. It was a rush project and had to be done in just a few weeks. Of course our willingness to help with their tight deadline would yield us the deal, right?


We scrambled to create a design, provide a thorough scope of work, set aside man power and check product availability. Dozens of hours later, no purchase order and only a “sorry, but we received a lower price from another vendor.” WHAT?!

As AV systems integrators, we face situations like this on an incredibly regular basis, if not daily. A customer calls, perhaps someone you know or have done business with before, and they ask, “Could you please provide me with a quote for unnamed project.” Of course when they ask for the quote, they are looking for an itemized equipment list, a basic line diagram, specification sheets, and much more. (The additional requirements trickle in one after another).

Essentially, you are giving the customer a set of plans to bid against.

Now, if any other integrator has gone through this fire drill only to see their work become supporting documents to be bid against, you know where I am going with this. (I hope) It begs the question: Why do we do this to ourselves?

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About Daniel

Daniel L. Newman
Daniel L. Newman

Daniel currently serves as CEO of EOS, a new company focused on offering cloud-based management solutions for IT and A/V integrators. He has spent his entire career in various integration industry roles. Most recently, Newman was CEO of United Visual where he led all day to day operations for the 60-plus-year-old integrator.


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