FAQ | Home Technology Association

FAQ

Homeowners

Why should I hire an HTA Certified company?

HTA Certified companies have been thoroughly researched for reputation, technical competence, customer service, and aftercare support policies. They have also provided an enormous amount of data that we publish to allow you to see exactly what their specialties and capabilities are. Although the Home Technology Association cannot guarantee a perfect technology installation, we can astronomically improve the odds of success through highly vetted firms.

Doesn’t Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor accomplish the same thing?

These are great review services, though they typically do not provide enough data to truly evaluate a home technology installation firm's capabilities. The firm that does a great job installing a few TV's around the home may fail miserably on a large-scale project despite their 5-star rating. A litany of 1-star ratings usually is telling, but a plethora of 5-star ratings still does not guarantee the right fit for your project.

How much should I budget on my home’s technology systems?

We recommend between 4 - 8% of your home's value. You will be on the higher-range if real estate in your area is a bargain, and on the lower range if you live in a high-cost real estate market (ie. Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York). We highly recommend using our home technology budget calculator which you can access by clicking here.  

Can any home technology integrator become an HTA Certified company?

No, the guidelines are stringent for certification. Either a company meets the criteria or not.

Does the HTA endorse Certified firms?

We provide information to enable homeowners to choose a technology installation firm that is the best fit for their project. We believe that our certification criteria and vetting process dramatically improves the odds of success, though we still recommend that every homeowner interview the firms and do their own due diligence before hiring any home technology installation company.

Do I still need to do my own due diligence on HTA Certified firms?

Yes, there is no substitute for your own due diligence.

Design & Build Professionals

Why should I work with an HTA Certified company?

HTA Certified companies have been thoroughly researched for reputation, technical competence, customer service, and aftercare support policies. They have also provided an enormous amount of data that we publish to allow you to see exactly what their specialties and capabilities are. Although the Home Technology Association cannot guarantee a perfect technology installation, we can astronomically improve the odds of success through highly vetted firms.

What is the HTA Certification criteria?

We highly vet each firm for reputation, technical competence, customer service, and aftercare services. Each firm must meet our rigid 60+ certification requirements. Click here for more information about HTA Certification criteria.

Are all HTA Certified firms equal?

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.

Can any home technology integrator become an HTA Certified company?

No, the guidelines are stringent for certification. Either a company meets the criteria or not.

How much should my client expect to spend on home technology systems?

We recommend between 4 - 8% of the home's expected value. Select a higher percentage range if real estate in your area is a bargain, and the lower percentage range if you live in a high-cost real estate market (ie. Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York). We highly recommend you and your client use our home technology budget calculator which you can access by clicking here as a great starting point for determining budget ranges.

Integration Firms

How does HTA Certification benefit my business?

Assuming your company meets the HTA's stringent certification criteria, you will receive the following benefits:

  • Reputation: recognition of being amongst the best 10% of home technology pros in terms of technical ability, customer service policies & company reputation
  • Marketing: outreach on your behalf to architects, builders, and interior designers
  • Sales: have the distinction of a 3rd party company certification that sets your firm apart from the trunkslammer / subpar firms that compete against you
  • Sales: HTA Budget Calculator is increasing project sizes, increasing number of subsystems sold, and causing consumers to shop around less
  • Sales: a legitimate tool (your HTA Certification) to have non-certified firms disqualified from the bidding process
  • Sales: give your architect, builder, and designer contacts a defensible reason to say No to accepting bids from non-certified firms
  • Sales: leads from the HTA Certified Installer finder service
  • Validation: the HTA's Budget Calculator may be used to validate your proposal numbers
  • Education: the HTA website educates homeowners and industry partners what they need to know to find and hire the best integration firms 
Doesn't the HTA need to be a household name for the certification to have value?

In a word: No. Much like the GIA certification is to diamonds, ASE certification is to mechanics, and being a CPA is to accountants, a brief explanation that an industry standard exists is all you need to explain to a consumer. A short visit to the HTA website will help any consumer understand that HTA Certification is The gold standard for integration companies.

How is the HTA different than CEDIA?

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 education, advocacy, and the annual CEDIA Show. CEDIA certifies individuals, not companies.

The HTA certifies companies, not individuals. The HTA is a consumer advocacy group to help homeowners and specifiers 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.

Is the HTA a competitor to CEDIA?

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.

How are you going to get the word out about the HTA?

The HTA has an aggressive awareness campaign that encompasses a digital marketing campaign, trade shows, and traditional advertising. We reach out to HTA Certified integrator's architect, builder, and interior designer partners, showing them why it is in their and their clients' best interest to only hire HTA Certified firms. Getting the word out about the benefits of hiring HTA Certified companies is a top priority for the HTA.

What are the certification requirements?

HTA has 60+ certification requirements and a confidential proprietary algorithm to objectively evaluate a firm's capabilities. You can get a high-level overview of the requirements by clicking here.

Do you share all of your evaluation & scoring criteria?

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.

Who came up with the requirements?

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.

Do larger firms benefit from HTA Certification more than smaller firms?

Company size is not a scoring factor at any of the HTA Certification tiers. We do not ask gross sales figures as that is not relevant to what matters to the Home Technology Association. What IS important is a company's demonstrated: 1 - technical ability 2 - customer service & aftercare support policies, and 3 - reputation in the marketplace. There are plenty of small companies (less than 5 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.

Are all HTA Certified firms equal?

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.

Can any home technology integrator become an HTA Certified company?

No, the guidelines are stringent for certification. Either a company meets the criteria or not.

How long does HTA Certification status last?

Once a firm is HTA Certified, their qualifications will be inspected every year. At any time, though, HTA Certification may be revoked if the dealer fails to uphold the high standards of professionalism, service and reputation as required by HTA standards.

What do manufacturers think about the HTA?

The HTA has received overwhelming support by consumer electronics manufacturers. The goals of manufacturers and HTA 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.

Who runs the Home Technology Association?

Josh Christian is the Home Technology Association’s (HTA) Director of Certification and manages the day-to-day operations of the organization. A Board of Advisors made up of AV industry executives oversees the HTA’s activities and ensures the organization remains neutral. Josh works closely with HTA’s team of Certification Coordinators to vet and score each application in accordance with the HTA’s certification criteria.

Does the HTA's Board of Advisors decide who gets certified?

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.

How is the HTA funded, and what are the funds used for?

We are funded solely by revenues derived from certification fees. The HTA does not derive revenue from any other source at this time. We use the certification revenues for the following activities:

  • initial due diligence / vetting of the HTA Certification application
  • ongoing yearly verification of company information
  • consumer dispute research and resolution
  • HTA awareness campaigns directed design/build professionals & consumers
  • dealer marketing collateral
  • trade show expenses
  • website development and SEO
Is the HTA a Non-Profit organization?

HTA was kickstarted on investments, not donations, therefore we did not meet the requirements of a Non-Profit organization.