4 ways Wireless Lets Contractors Do More With Less

Over the last six months, no one has been unaffected by the global health crisis. Electrical contractors, who were already reinventing their business models in the face of widespread skilled labor shortages, have also been dealing with challenges resulting from changes in local and regional work rules, unanticipated supply chain disruptions, and unusual schedule constraints.

 

As contractors work to make up lost time and take care of their customers, there has never been a better time to consider the advantages of wireless lighting control. Let’s look at four ways wireless solutions can save time, reduce costs, and minimize risk, while adding value on each job.

 

Overcome the Unexpected 

We’ve all heard the saying, “the only constant is change.” Customers change their minds at the last minute, construction plans can be altered, and there is always a chance a contractor might miss a sensor or control in the rush to finish a job. With wired systems, accommodating last-minute changes can be difficult or costly, especially in the case of building retrofits. With the right wireless solution, those last-minute changes are no problem.

 

You can give your customers exactly what they want, enhancing value without adding significant costs to a job. For example, easily add a point of control that was not on the original layout or adjust the position of an occupancy sensor to provide better performance, all without adding a wall box or fishing wires through the wall.

 

The versatility and scalability of wireless has even greater impact when your customers are looking to expand their building footprint or add enhanced system functionality. A standalone solution can be turned into a smart lighting control system by adding wireless hubs and managing the system right from an app on your smart device – all without replacing existing controls or disrupting workflow.

 

Improving a contractor’s ability to give the customer what they want, within budget and on time,
is a game changer in a highly competitive market.

 

Wireless solutions are also more likely to offer intuitive, app-based programming or simple, push-button device pairing than their wired counterparts. Look for solutions that don’t require hours of training, or provide in-app, prompted step-by-step instructions making it easier to train anyone on your staff to set up, or make adjustments to, the system. This not only helps you overcome the unexpected but adds to your ability to do more with less.

 

Look for a Reliable Supply Chain and Easy-To-Access Training

Even the best solution is only as good as your ability to get it when you need it. Rely on manufacturers who have worked diligently to make sure the products you need are available at distributors around the country and offer quick shipping options to help you take care of your customers and grow your business.

 

Manufacturers with long-standing distributor relationships, their own plants, and a history of strong supply chain management are likely to be able to leverage these advantages in difficult times.

 

And if you’re new to wireless installs, a ready supply of online sales and service training, simple installation and programming videos, and a responsive customer support network is also essential.

 

Smart phones and tablets are ubiquitous, so make sure you can use them to access technical help wherever and whenever you need it, and take advantage of downtime to learn about new technologies and techniques.

 

Tools and Personal Help 

Success often depends on your ability to get project estimates out quickly and easily. In the past, contractors typically had to rely on their local lighting rep or the product manufacturer to get the necessary information for even simple projects, but online project estimating tools and the simplicity of some wireless systems can put the power to generate fast, reliable estimates in the contractor’s hands.

 

These tools can even provide system options for quick comparison, helping customers make an informed choice and helping you close the sale. Software tools can automatically account for regional codes and labor costs to generate, in real time, a suggested bill of material, pricing, and project estimate ready to present to the customer.

 

Tools like the Lutron QuEst-D online assistant help you deliver code-compliant project estimates and a bill-of-materials with just basic information like square footage and number of fixtures. It can also help you understand the projected savings you can achieve when you choose wireless over a wired solution based on the information you provide on each project.

 

With the new Wireless v Wired Comparison Feature, along with recommended control solutions, the assistant displays wireless savings calculated as a result of the specific project details. Projected savings are calculated based on installation labor time, product cost, and additional material required in a wired solution, and they are adjusted in real time as additional project information is entered into the tool.

 

We are all in this together. Whether you are looking to expand your opportunities, quickly finish current jobs, or create more value on each project, wireless lighting controls can be a key differentiator.

 

Preparing for What’s Next

Moving forward, wireless technology will continue to make contractors more efficient and able to expand their opportunities, especially in existing buildings. With wired options, adding lighting control to an existing space hasn’t always been feasible if it involved major construction, disrupting employees, and impacting productivity. Wireless control is flexible, agile, and better able to adapt to the demands of an evolving industry and an uncertain construction cycle.

 

With the labor market for skilled electricians especially tight, and many skilled electricians nearing retirement, wireless is a way to prevent labor shortages from impeding business success. As smart technologies become more and more common on your jobs, it won’t be an issue of whether contractors use wireless technology, but how they can implement smart controls in a way that maximizes their project opportunities, offers ongoing value to their customers, and protects profitability and growth in their business.

Tom Perich manages the Electrical Wholesale Channel for Lutron Electronics, focusing on LED+ dimmers and accessories, Sensors, Caséta by Lutron, Ra2 Select, and Vive Wireless Lighting Control products. He is responsible for evaluating industry trends, opportunities, and competitive examples to develop marketing programs, campaigns, and product launches to drive sales with distributors and electrical contractors. Lutron distributes its lighting controls through over 6000 electrical wholesalers in the United States and Canada for commercial and residential lighting control projects.

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