In a nutshell, by leveraging your HTA Certification status and sharing the HTA Certification Defined page with a prospective client, you focus the buying decision on competence instead of a lower price. If your company meets the HTA's stringent certification criteria, you will receive the following benefits:
Assuming your company meets the Home Technology Association's certification requirements, let James Harris from TV's "Million Dollar Listing" give you a client's perspective by watching the video here:
No. Much like a GIA rating is to diamonds, Michelin stars are to the best restaurants, 5-star safety ratings are to vehicles, ASE certification is to mechanics, and being a CPA is to accountants, a brief explanation that an industry standard based on excellence exists is what builds trust with consumers and trade partners. A visit to the HTA website will help any consumer understand that HTA Certification is the Gold Standard for integration companies. See the video below that helps explain the state of the CI industry to your clients and trade partners:
Most successful integration firms are busier than ever, and as such, are not able to meet local demand. Smart integrators use HTA tools to work more efficiently. Here are a few examples of HTA tools put to use:
Note that only successful integrators make it through the HTA's vetting process. Successful integrators that become HTA Certified work more efficiently and get to work with clients who value professionalism and customer service, weeding out the ones solely focused on finding the cheapest installer in town.
This is mostly up to the dealer! All benefit to some extent, though how much depends on how many of the HTA tools the dealer actively uses.
Passively, an HTA Certified dealer's HTA listing page typically shows on the first page of a Google search, and the HTA's statistics show that most dealer's HTA company profile pages gets a few hundred page visits per year. Though if a dealer never shares the HTA elevator pitch, never explains how this differentiates them and elevates them above the fray, never uses the HTA logo on any branding, does not use the HTA budget estimator to prequalify clients, doesn't use their HTA certification status as a way to build credibility with trade partners, never attends any of the business-building HTA 'Mind Share' series of webinars, then the benefits will be much lower than the dealers that actively use the unique tools only the HTA can provide. Like any tool, it must be used to benefit from it.
1 - Fact. Integrators routinely "sticker shock" prospective clients as most homeowners are unaware of realistic installed cost technology budgets. When a prospective client perceives the integrator may be overcharging, they will often shop around. As every good integrator knows, there are plenty of less-qualified companies that are ready to undercut you with inferior products and terrible installation and service quality.
2 - Fact. Asking a prospective client "What's your budget?" does not go over well. See point #1 above. Since your clients likely have no idea of what their budget should be, you put them at a disadvantage, and making the uncomfortable is not a good way to start a new relationship. Tell your prospective client to get an idea of realistic installed cost ranges with the HTA's budget estimator (which may be embedded in your website). There are only 17 basic questions and it will take them just a few minutes to complete. Viola! The technology budget question just happened for you, with your client's input.
3 - Result. Smart integrators that lead with the HTA's budget calculator prequalify clients quickly. Once clients understand what budget ranges are, they are less likely to shop around. This increases their sales closing ratio and makes the sales and design departments operate more efficiently.
Yes! Read testimonials by clicking here. Clients are hiring HTA Certified firms due to their certification status. Budgets are rising once clients learn real installed costs from the HTA Technology Budget Calculator. Architects, builders, and interior designers respect the HTA standard. In surveys, 9 out of 10 trade partners would rather hire an HTA Certified integrator over a non-certified firm.
No, the Home Technology Association is a consumer-facing association that helps homeowners and home design and building professionals find qualified home technology installation firms. Over 70% of HTA Certified integrators in North America are in one of the three custom integration-focused buying groups (Azione Unlimited, HTSA, and ProSource). The HTA is a proponent of buying groups and the many benefits they offer integrators.
The HTA is Not:
The HTA is:
False. Give your prospective client the HTA elevator pitch, share the HTA Certification Defined page, and you will find that they are more comfortable hiring an HTA Certified firm over a non-vetted firm. Sharing that you are an HTA Certified firm is an easy way to eliminate subpar integrators from consideration, as clients fear making a poor decision on such a vital aspect to the proper functioning of their home.
Every one of us as consumers look to quality standards to help us make informed decisions. GIA certified diamonds are more valuable than non-certified diamonds, Michelin star restaurants are unquestionably considered amongst the best restaurants, vehicles rated with 5-stars by the NHTSA are unquestionably regarded as safe, and HTA Certified dealers are worth more than companies who only claim, though cannot prove, their quality.
False. In surveys, 9 out of 10 trade partners would rather hire an HTA Certified integrator over a non-certified firm. If an architect, builder, or designer hasn't heard of the HTA Certified standard yet, give them the HTA elevator pitch, and then ask them if they see value in it. Share the HTA Certification Defined page and you will find that they wish this standard was created decades ago. Some specifiers have even required that integrators must be HTA Certified to submit proposals, and this was specified in the RFP!
The HTA created the opt-in HTA Design Partner program in late 2022 to give architects, interior designers, and builders trust and confidence to bring in HTA Certified integrators into their projects early in their project phase.
Sharing that you are an HTA Certified firm is an easy way to eliminate subpar integrators from the project, and it gives your trade partners an easily defensible reason to strongly recommend your company against unqualified competitors.
Consumers and professionals look to quality standards to help them make informed decisions. GIA-rated diamonds are more valuable than non-rated diamonds, Michelin-star restaurants are unquestionably considered amongst the best restaurants, vehicles rated with 5-stars by the NHTSA are unquestionably regarded as safe, and HTA Certified dealers are worth more than companies who only claim, though cannot prove, their quality.
The HTA Design Partner program was created to recognize the HTA Certified integrators that not only offer technology consultation and design, but also collaborate with design and build teams to ensure that the technology is integrated into the home in the best way possible. This opt-in program serves as the 'rules of engagement' for how integrators and trade partners work together collaboratively. It is designed to bring qualified integrators to new construction and remodel projects early.
The complement to this program is the HTA Technology Partner program that architects, interior designers, and builders can opt into and shares how best to work with integrators, all in service to homeowners having the best technology experience.
Technology-proactive architects, interior designers, and builders may opt in to the Home Technology Association's HTA Technology Partner program. This designation shows that these design and build professionals understand that their clients' safety and entertainment needs must be determined early. The complement of this designation is the HTA Design Partner designation that HTA Certified integrators may opt into.
The HTA Design Partner designation and the complementary HTA Technology Partner designation create professional harmony between architects, interior designers, builders, and integrators. The complementary designations and resulting 'rules of engagement' clearly define how design and build pros and integrators should work together to achieve successful project outcomes.
The Home Technology Association and CEDIA have different audiences. CEDIA is Custom Installation (CI) industry-centric and has many different initiatives and purposes such as integrator education, advocacy, and workforce development. CEDIA certifies individuals, not companies.
The HTA certifies companies, not individuals. The HTA is a consumer advocacy group to help homeowners, architects, builders, and interior designers find the very best firms in the CI industry. The HTA set the standard of excellence that consumers can rely on when hiring a technology integration firm for their project.
No, the Home Technology Association is not a competitor to CEDIA but rather a complement. The HTA and CEDIA both help integrators, though in different and complementary ways. CEDIA education helps Custom Installation (CI) firms improve in installation knowledge and successful business practices, something the HTA supports and endorses. The HTA includes a CEDIA Member reference on each HTA Certified dealer profile and will include the CEDIA certifications the various individuals within the firm may have.
CEDIA, along with the CTA, is the CI industry’s voice in Washington DC whenever there is any legislation affecting the low-voltage industry. The home technology industry needs CEDIA and the CTA, just as it does the Home Technology Association, and the many benefits they bring to integration firms and technicians.
Ideally integration companies would have both CEDIA and HTA Certifications. Integration firms would have CEDIA certified technicians, and the company itself would be HTA Certified. In regard to certifications, CEDIA and the HTA certify different things. CEDIA certifies individuals. The HTA certifies companies as to their technical ability, customer service, and reputation. In conclusion, the HTA supports CEDIA, and CEDIA supports the HTA in its mission.
HTA has 60+ certification requirements and a confidential proprietary algorithm to objectively evaluate a firm's capabilities. You will get a high-level overview of the requirements by clicking here.
Many integrators have created their own budgeting tool. Great! We suggest using the HTA's budget estimator first, as ours is brand neutral and created with the help of many industry pros. Since the HTA is a standards-setting organization designed to educate consumers, our calculator is perceived as more neutral and authoritative than an integrator's, since the integrator is selling something and the HTA's is purely educational.
Prequalify your clients first and work more efficiently by first starting with the HTA's budget estimator. Explain that it was created to share a realistic installed-cost budget for systems ranging from very good to top-of-the-line. Then, after a discussion with the client, tighten up the budget range using your company's budgeting tool built around your specific metrics. Doing this before creating a proposal saves a lot of proposal revision time.
The HTA has an awareness campaign that encompasses direct marketing, digital marketing, trade shows, and traditional advertising. The Home Technology Association has also built relationships with national design and build trade associations to let them know about the HTA Certification standard and how to find the most qualified integrators (see our relationships here).
Additionally, we will (optionally) reach out to HTA Certified integration firm's architect, builder, and interior designer partners, proving to them why it is in their and their client's best interest to only hire HTA Certified firms.
Over 25 respected industry professionals were consulted on the certification criteria. The final set of certification criteria was approved by our Board of Advisors, which is comprised of some of the most respected names in the custom installation industry. Click here to meet our Board of Advisors.
The Resource Guide is a directory of some of the best brands in the home technology industry. These stellar companies are hand-picked to participate in the Home Technology Association's mission to connect homeowners, architects, builders, and interior designers with the very best custom installation firms in the world.
HTA Certified firms are divided into three categories: Estate, Luxury, and Foundation. Although we feel that great companies exist at every level, they are grouped into these categories as they excel at different types of projects. Our goal is to match homeowners with the right fit for their project. Click here for an explanation of the differences between the three HTA Certification tiers.
Company size is not a scoring factor at any of the HTA Certification tiers. We do not ask for gross sales figures as that is not relevant to what matters to the Home Technology Association. What is important is a company's demonstrated:
There are plenty of smaller companies (less than five employees) that are exceptional in all three of these categories. A company's focus on excellence, not size, is what is important to the HTA.
No, the guidelines are stringent for certification. Either a company meets the criteria or not.
No. Home technology installation firms are not certified based on the brands they offer. No brand (participating or not) has the ability to influence our objective certification process.
No. The Board of Advisors each had a hand in setting the HTA Certification criteria. Home Technology Association staff process each application in accord with these guidelines. Either the applying dealer meets the criteria or does not.
While we are happy to share some of the criteria we do not share it all, as doing would so would dilute the value of the Certification by making it easy for some to overstate their company’s statistics or include inaccurate figures. We do however list the minimum requirements so applicants can be prepared for what will be required (read them by clicking here). Bear in mind, while any Custom Installation (CI) firm may apply for HTA Certification we estimate less than 15% of CI firms will meet the HTA’s stringent criteria. Our goal is to ensure only the best firms may achieve HTA Certification.
The HTA has received overwhelming support by consumer electronics manufacturers. The goals of manufacturers and the Home Technology Association are in complete alignment. Great consumer experiences are delivered by great technology integrators which results in an increase of business for everyone. This is a triple-win and is easily recognized by every manufacturer. In 2020 the HTA launched the Supporting Brands program, click here to see leading brands supporting the HTA's mission of consumer electronics excellence.