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Automation Unplugged

Automation Unplugged is a Facebook Live show recorded weekly with our host Ron Callis, Owner and CEO of the digital marketing agency, One Firefly. In each Automation Unplugged episode, Ron speaks with leading industry personalities and technology professionals to discuss all things business development, technology trends, and more. These interviews are designed to help our clients and members of the custom integration industry keep up-to-date with the latest news as well as learn from experts in the field.

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Home Automation Podcast Episode #174: An Industry Q&A With Omar Alarcon

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Omar Alarcon, CEO & Founder at A's Smart Home Solutions shares advice and best practices with leveraging Instagram and his journey towards starting his own integration firm.

Home Automation Podcast Episode #174: An Industry Q&A With Omar Alarcon

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Omar Alarcon. Recorded live on Wednesday, June 16th, 2021, at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Omar Alarcon

From baker to electrician, Omar initially gained interest in home automation while out in the field on job sites. Then, with a newfound passion for tech and helping others, he and his wife were inspired to establish their own integration firm in 2015. Today, Omar is focused on providing his clients with best-in-class, high-quality technology solutions that upgrade their daily lives.

Interview Recap

  • His journey towards starting his own integration firm
  • Advice and best practices with leveraging Instagram
  • And how he selects which brands to work with

SEE ALSO: Home Automation Podcast Episode #173 A Custom Integration Industry Q&A With Doug Greenwald

 

Transcript


Ron:  Hello, Ron Callis here with another episode of Automation Unplugged. Today is Wednesday, June 16th, 2021. It is just a little bit after 12:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, so we're coming to you on our normal day and our normal time. My guest today is Omar Alarcon, although he will help me with better pronunciation as soon as we go live. I'm going to bring him in because he tried to help me. I've got a rolling "r," and I was butchering it. I'm not trying to offend your name. You have a beautiful name. He is the CEO and Owner of A's Smart Home Solutions, and he is out of Fountain Hills, Arizona. He's running a very nice business. He's had a really neat set of career changes that I will let him tell you all about. He has a background as well as an electrician. He's now with his wife and his team running a very successful integration firm. Without further ado, let me bring in Omar, and let's get this show started. Omar, I tried, man, I just let me give it to me, give it another shot here, Alarcon. I wasn't confident enough to do it on the first read-through, but I appreciate your patience.

Omar: I like that you tried. That's always good.

Ron:  Language when I was in high school, I did French, and then I did German. I've had many friends from Mexico and Puerto Rico and many places throughout South America that speak Spanish. My wife is Brazilian, so she speaks Portuguese, English, and Spanish. Man, the language thing. I struggle with English. I just don't think that part of my brain is very functional for other languages. At least I'm honest.

Omar: Yeah.

Ron:  Guess what, Omar? We are already having some people say hello, and this is pretty cool. Look at this. We've got Steve from Nairobi, Kenya. Steve, we need to talk. I know we had an appointment we missed. I think maybe I missed it. But let's talk soon. We've got Wes. What's up? Wes, you have to tell us about how you just ran one hundred-mile race, and I think you made it pretty far in that race. I can't even imagine running five miles, much less 50 miles or 100 hundred miles. Wes is an ultra-marathoner. I appreciate that. Oh, and look at that. Wes is even saying I made an A+ effort. That is a wonderful play on the name. Then let's give a few more hellos, Omar. We've got Jeremy also from Arizona. Look at that. Jeremy is from Level3. And I'm not sure if Jeremy serious or not. He's saying, "Wow, Ron, on the pronunciation." I'm assuming you're on the positive side of that, and you're actually congratulating me for almost rolling the R. Alright, Omar. Tell us a little bit about you and your business. What type of projects do you do, maybe the size of your company or what feels natural? Tell us about the basics.

Omar: Yeah. We're based in Arizona. We have five employees, two installers. My wife and I make the sales, and that has been the business. We have somebody else to help us with filing. Our typical projects are a whole home automation package, which is all the distribution, security cameras, sometimes outdoor audio, which is a big thing here in Arizona. Because of the weather, you can enjoy the outdoors time.

Ron:  Similar to Florida. Do your customers enjoy the outdoors year-round?

Omar: Oh, yes. That's a plus here. We also do media rooms. We do projects from installing just a TV or setting up monitors for clients. We don't do any commercial. We only do commercial sometimes when we have clients that asked us to do something for them, like put in a monitor on their offices or taking care of the network. That's the only time we do so.

Ron:  You're one hundred percent residential?

Omar: Yeah, residential.

Ron:  Got it. OK. We just had Tomas from Panama tune in. "Hello, all. Saludos from Panama." Thanks, Tomas. Oh, look at that. He's got a cool new character as his, whatever you call it, his picture icon. Yeah, that's pretty cool. Omar, take us back. Take us back in time. How did you get started in this business?

Omar: Years ago, I worked for a company called With the Semiconductors. I don't know if you remember those microchips for Nokia phones or Motorola phones. I worked for the company doing inspections for microchips and all that. After that, you know, that was the start of the technology.

Ron:  Did you have to wear a white lab coat and go through the anti-static?

Omar: Exactly. You have to be strapped to the base of the computers because you put everything on reels and stuff like that. Then I went to college here in Arizona, and I needed a job at night. I went to work for a baking company. I worked in a baking company, a great industry, for eight years and then after that. But when I was there, I noticed that I was always the I.T. cubicle. Helping the guy with a computer going in there also to fix something on the rack. Oh, we need to create more for this TV over here. I was always very excited. I was the family fix it for like, "Hey, we need to help with this computer." I have this passion. I decided to go work as an electrician because I thought it was the best high voltage and I think it was the right decision. I did work for them for two years. I learned how to prewire, pulling wires, connections, dealing with high voltage. Luckily after six months of training, I was thrown into service calls. I was doing a lot of changing breakers, you name it, changing a GFCI and stuff. But I noticed that we also prewire homes for custom builders. I'd always look at the companies doing the low voltage, and we did the low voltage a lot of times. We prewired those homes. I started learning about what is required in the panel. We got a great opportunity with a friend. I want to mention him. It's John from Cybersmart in Chandler, Arizona. He let me go to some training when I didn't have my company and learned many unstructured panels about how you do the distribution. That opened my eyes to eventually talk to the company and say, "Hey, you want to open a low voltage firm?" We can run it together. We can be partners. At the time, the company wasn't ready for that because they wanted to continue to work. I decided to go on my own. I talked to my wife, and we made that decision. It was scary.

Ron:  It's a big, scary decision to go out on your own. You could not have made that decision lightly.

Omar: Yeah. Those listeners who sometimes feel that I don't know if I want to go on my own or open my company, just do it. There's always going to be thinking about if you didn't. I think it was the right choice and the best decision that we made. Yeah, there are things that you have to learn, but you can always listen to automation and also get some tips.

Ron:  All these brilliant folks I get to interview all over the world, and they share their wisdom. I'm curious when you went out on your own, did you have kids?

Omar: Yeah, we already had kids. Giselle's 18 now going on 19. She's in college, and Santiago is 11 years old. Yeah. We had two kids at the time.

Ron:  I'm going to say you're braver than me because I was married when I started my business in 2007. I'd been married for four years, but I did not yet have kids. I also fairly had not even the slightest remotest clue of what I was getting into in the adventure of entrepreneurship. You must have an amazing wife and amazing kids to act as your backing for that adventure, basically.

Omar: Yeah. My wife and my daughter, she's been a lot of help. My daughter was helping me with filing. She learned how to file documents. She learned what the product was, what the brand separation and all that, helping with social media. She used to take care of social media. She helped me with posting and stuff. They've been very supportive, and I'm very thankful that they always behind my back, helping me with the company.

Ron:  Now, I want to go back, if you don't mind. By the way, we're getting lots of comments here. Chad dropped the note, "You have a nice rack." He's referring to the rack over your shoulder. Then he says your Instagram posts are super hot. And I actually agree. And I'm going to share them on screen in a little while. I want to talk to you about that. By the way, Jesse says, "Buenos Dias! Glad to see Omar on the show."

Omar: Hey , Jesse. Como Estas man.

Ron:  Let me read what Chad says. Chad says, "You and Jesse are both from Arizona and both coming from banking." Now, Jesse came from banking. Did you come from baking?

Omar: Baking.

Ron:  Almost Chad. They sound the same. Maybe that is where I need to hire my next employee. But what I was going to ask you is, you went from working in the baking industry to an electrician. What was that process like? I've heard of the term apprenticeship. Did you apprentice, or did you become an electrician, or did you work at an electrical house? How exactly did that work?

Omar: No, I was hired by the company, and the company needed an electrician. I was lucky enough to be hired as an electrician with 20 years of experience. And luckily, he was very open to training me to be the most that he can on anything electrical. The questions that I had, he was always happy to answer any questions that I had. Then and then I started questioning to like when we did low voltage under cabinet lighting. I said, "Why are we using this thing?" And then I noticed that there was a lot of disconnection in between low voltage with the company. We prewire audio for all the projects. But on the low voltage, I noticed that they didn't know the difference between the twenty-four or twelve volts. I started reading the packages of how we installed this product. I started helping with that. Then all of a sudden, two months later, after the six months of training, I was the low voltage guy. They'll send me to do the under cabinet lighting of the prewired infrastructure panels. It was actually not difficult. It was easy for me just to learn. I had that motivation that I want to know. I want to learn.

I want to see what this can do. What are the limitations with high voltage limitations, with low voltage? Then I've seen all the trades on custom-built. The other low-voltage companies coming in. They show up after we pre-wired the house. And I was like, "Hey, I'm excited. I want to do that." Running wires and then obviously when we come back, we install all the chandeliers and lighting. At the same time, they were there installing all the touch screens, TVs. That's when I realized this is what I want to do. This is my thing.

Ron:  Got it. That makes sense. You work with your wife in the business. You have a five-person team. How do you guys work together? How do you distribute roles? Who does what?

Omar: Mostly, my wife does all the financials. She takes her files, making sure payments, purchasing, everything gets done. I make the sales. For the last two months, I've been training my wife on many products, learning how do we use and how do we present them to clients, but mostly knowing the product. She uses the systems here in the house. But we have so many products that a lot of times they don't have that experience. In one thing, it's like we started doing shades as well. She's very interested in the shades, and she would like to be in charge of that section of shades and lighting.

"I would think in Arizona, shades have to be big business or big opportunity at least."

Ron:  I would think in Arizona, shades have to be big business or big opportunity at least.

Omar: Oh, yeah, it is.

Ron:  I see the rack behind you. Are you in a home office right now?

Omar: Yeah, I have it in my home office.

Ron:  I'm in my home office as well. What sort of tech do you have in your house? Do you mind sharing?

Omar: We have a Savant system, and in the living room, we have a 7.1 Dolby Atmos, and then we have this office. I only use two speakers, and then we use the receiver just for the video distribution. We have an Xbox, Savant music and Sonos as well, Lutron lighting, Savant lighting. I have a combination of everything that we do. The purpose for me was to test the product as well. One of the goals that we started the company is that we will not sell anything that we don't use ourselves. That gives you the experience to know when the product fails and when something is not working properly with the software updates from Apple.

Ron:  Software updates from hell. They break everything.

Omar: I'm pretty sure everyone's familiar with those. We just updated the software. Now something changed. You started getting e-mails the next day—phone calls. Hey, my Spotify account is not working on the music, or this is changing. We're trying to make a system that they can use, and they're easy to use, but they're reliable. That's the main focus.

Ron:  You and I talked before we went live here, and you were filling me in on some lessons learned over the years. One of those lessons was that you and your team have decided to more standardize around certain types of products, and you can choose to name them or not. I don't need you to name them unless you want to, but you've decided to standardize versus trying things out. Can you talk through that? How did you land on that strategy, and how does that play out for your day today?

Omar: Definitely. I think when you start a company especially, you depend on a lot of the distribution side. You try different products because you know that somebody offered to you to sell, you wouldn't sell it. You want to offer it because you a lot of times you think it's a take. Oh, I'm excited about this technology. I want to try it, and I want to use it. But I think the biggest mistake if we do try something on the client's house is a big mistake. I always recommend trying to put it at your home or your showroom and then apply it to any client. But going back to the question is what we did, which is my wife and I talked about last year, and we made the decision to stop using brands that we were not using before. We only use it once a year, twice a year, not because they were not good brands. It was more like the package that we were creating. Those companies had everything in it so that the brand speakers and LCR's will have a soundbar. Bowers and Wilkins will be our high-end audio. Somebody who wants to channel will have the Bowers towers set the Bowers and W if that's what they decide. We decided to either use an automation control: we use Savant, or sometimes we don't. We just use Sonos and Lutron, and clients are very happy by bringing it all together. But they're comfortable enough to be bouncing between two apps to control the lighting and control their audio as well.

Ron:  Omar, since you guys have decided to do less of the trying what's being pitched to you and standardizing around. You mentioned a lot of great brands there. Have you been able to track any improvement in the performance of your systems, of your installs, increased profitability, fewer service calls? Have you watched the needle move?

Omar: Yeah. You just named it right now, service calls. We realized that some products that we deploy. Everyone knows Sonos is something that a lot of integrators have mixed feelings with Sonos. But it's also a company that I feel that the product is very reliable, but it's no brainers, no headaches. You set up Sonos. You can use your audio distribution amplifier. You can just use Sonos. Once we install that Sonos system, I can tell you that I went back just once or twice to replace that unit because of something overheated or something like that, but not for any issues. That saves us rolling a truck and going over there, get it fixed. When we set up a soundbar, it's the same thing. You set up a soundbar below the TV. You can use the Apple TV for the audio, and you don't have to do video distribution. And you know the story about the video distribution with matrix switches and all that. Volumes are going bad. We always have to go back and change this or clients decide to change their TV.

The HDMI extender is not supported for the new TV. All the things that I tried to do when I meet clients are not to overwhelm them but to make sure that they understand the technology. When you get a 4K TV, we have to explain what's available in 4K, what they can enjoy, and what they need to enjoy that TV. Because a lot of times, it's like, well, I have my receiver. It's good. There are no issues yet. But your receiver is not 4K. Anything that you plugged in there, you're not going to get that content. Content is limited and not as much as before. But with Netflix or some other distributed platforms, you'll be able to enjoy 4K, which is becoming the standard.

Ron:  I'm looking at your logo on your shirt, and for those that are listening on the podcast, Omar is wearing a black shirt and a big bright-colored logo right there on his chest, A's Smart Home. What does the name come from?

Omar: A's Alarcon. Since we are 4 Alarcon's. A's Alarcon's for four people.

Ron:  Are there 4 four members of your family in the business?

Omar: Yeah. I mean, there are only three of us. My kid, Santiago, is still 11. But when I was a kid, if I go on a Saturday to just visit a job site just to see how everything's going, he just loves to go with me.

Ron:  Oh, I bet he does. I bet he loves being included in that. A's Smart Home, the ownership smart home. Yeah. That's me. That's my family. Yeah. That's amazing.

Omar: That was through just the representation by the A's.

Ron:  Alright, well, it's lightning outside, I don't know if you just heard that, but it was pretty loud there. Alright. I want to switch gears. You guys, Omar, are pretty dynamic on social media. We even had Chad here in the comment. Chad Maroney commented that your Instagram is on fire. Talk to talk to our audience. While you're explaining to us your thought process or approach to social media, I'm going to share your Instagram page here on the screen so that our people that are watching live can see it. Tell us how you think about that and why you do what you do on maybe all the platforms, specifically Instagram.

Omar: Yeah, I think Instagram is one of my favorite social platforms because you can just grab pictures from your latest installation or a project that a client might not know how it will look at the end? And I try to include pictures where the finished product, the middle of the installation, and the beginning of the installation so that clients can see and builders, architects can see what's the process in the middle of that. We do a lot of custom builds too. We have the prewired part that it's always essential to work for a system. Mostly just trying to create organic content for Instagram followers to see what we do. I enjoy it. Just taking pictures, sharing, and taking pride in what we do.

Ron:  Are you drafting the copy here on these Instagram posts and creating the hashtag strategies?

Omar: Yeah. In the beginning, we didn't all have hashtag work. Eventually, we realized how that influenced or can be seen in another platform.

Ron:  Did Jesse coach you at all? Because Jesse and his team, their rock stars as well, doing this?

Omar: I did, actually. He did. Jesse. I asked him, hey, what's a hashtag? He mentioned it and said, hey, you know, this is all you have to do with the hashtag. That's how we eventually realized, oh, I can use this on this and that.

Ron:  Talk to our audience that's not doing anything on Instagram or what they're doing on Instagram is not their work. Maybe they're posting. I'll just say manufacture images or random stuff. They're not posting their own jobs. Why? Why do you do it? And I'm going to ask for a follow-up. Are you yielding any results from it? Is anything seem to be benefiting?

Omar: Yeah, every time that we post something, we get a lot of questions, or I get people reaching out and asking what we do, as well as fellow integrators saying, "Hey, I noticed that you use this product. How does that work for you?" It's always helpful, but for clients, it gets them a little bit of experience of the installation and the process and just getting the product. Also, the brand, the product to get him out there and Instagram and say, hey, this is the brand that we use for this outdoor installation, like a Coastal Source post that we did, and that it shows the whole speaker is playing in the pool. It's playing in the pool and then from the ramada and all that. I think it's helpful for the clients to view your job, rather than seeing a picture of something to download.

Ron:  We're getting some comments here. Arturo says, "Thank you for always sharing your knowledge and your neat installs. The industry is lucky to have you."

Omar: Oh, Arturo gracias. Como estas man.

Ron:  Yes, that's a very cool post. And then Chad says that "You do a great job, Omar, and you raise the bar for others. Plus, you do a great job showcasing your customer's user experience."

Omar: Thanks, Chad. Appreciate it. Thank you.

Ron:  That's pretty awesome. Shawn Sturmer just posted said, "Takes keeping up with the Joneses to a whole new level." It definitely does. Why Omar, why Instagram and maybe position as a platform your opinion, how does that compare to Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter or Houzz or Pinterest or all the other alphabet of social platforms? What is proven to make a difference for you guys?

Omar: I think, honestly, the user experience for me on Instagram. I think it's easier to create content posts that get it just you get it out there. I don't know if you noticed that on Facebook. I'm not really that much on Facebook. I just think our account from Instagram to Facebook.

Ron:  Do your Instagram posts go to Facebook? But it's not as personalized.

Omar: Exactly. I feel like Facebook is kind of clunky. There's so much stuff that it's not. Maybe it's a different platform for different clients or from different users. But I think Instagram, it's easy. You just get the pictures, share the story. You have to share your story. Now we have the share reels or the IG stories as well. I don't know. To me, it's just much easier. I think the app is clean, and you will be able to see if you've got a profile. You can see all the posts, all the jobs from other fellow integrators, or just other companies as well.

Ron:  For those that are listening to the podcast. And you don't see what I see if you go to Instagram.com/smarthomesolutionsas. You'll find their page, and they have 2272 followers as of June 16th, 2021. All of these people following your page? That's a pretty impressive number. Is that organically grown, or have you done any paid to try to boost that, or is that all through your kind of socially sharing organically?

Omar: No, it's just organically. Everything that we do when we do some paid advertising is like our showroom and just people visiting a showroom and stuff like that. But everything has been organic, and I've been lucky to have people follow us and check for our posts. I did pay for some consulting on Instagram, what to do, how to create organic content when it's good. Then the other thing, too, is between other fellow integrators, especially Rusty from Digital Installers, when we talk to each other.

Ron:  Sure. Rusty Diebel. Yeah.

Omar: Once in a while, we just jump in and. Hey, Rusty, what are you doing? Then he calls me and says, "Hey, I saw your post yesterday. Omar, you need to be happier to be more smiling. I was falling asleep with the post that you created yesterday."

Ron:  Yeah. There's no falling asleep when you watch Rusty. You're like, oh, my God, what are he and his team cooking up now?

Omar: It's great, right? Because he's just trying to help me and then give the best advice for me, I take it as very constructive and use it to try to have a good life for a long time, but we're super busy right now. It's not us going from one job to the other one, and it is not as easy as before.

Ron:  Let's jump into that busyness level of busyness. How is a business, and how does it compare to what was behind you? And when you look forward, what do you see in front of you?

Omar: Business is great. It's right now it's 40 percent over last year. Even if we had a really good year last year, the only thing that we're struggling with right now with the product. Getting product, we just don't have receivers. Many of the brands that we have are just catching up like we're getting products in two months, three months. One of the projects that we have is getting pushback back for installation because of the lack of product. And at some point, I'm afraid that's going to be impacting our business. Hopefully not. Hopefully, it's just a feeling. But it just impacts the experience for the client. Getting the project done locally, when we do custom builds, we set up that, and everything signs up, six months, seven months before the installation date. Many of the products are already in the warehouses are ready just waiting there to be installed. But the new projects that we have coming out, that's with the struggle.

Ron:  Are you having conversations with your clients and letting them know this? And is it changing anything? Are you getting them to pay earlier or paying in advance, or has it changed your terms?

Omar: Yeah, no. We work that once they accept our proposal, we get all the products upfront paid. That's ordered. And the reason is that it's always better to have the product on hand for the installation because the system is designed already. There are not going to be any changes. There's not going to be anything that it's going to change except changing HDMI. You change something else. Or if we cannot find a specific brand to match it with something that isn't the same caliber like a transmitter-receiver, we put something else, the same expectations that we make sure that we layout those expectations for the client from the beginning of our conversations.

Ron:  Got it now that makes sense, and when are you do you have any gut feeling, any whispers in your ear about when some of the supply chain stuff is going to ease up?

Omar: No, I honestly don't. Since last year or the beginning of the year, I've heard that June seems to be the magical month.

Ron:  But this June, as in right now, or are you saying next June?

Omar: I haven't seen anything that has changed at all.

Ron:  That's funny. We're coming up on when obviously we're in summer now, but we will be coming up on many shows happening in the fall. Are you guys going to do any of the shows you're going to go to CEDIA, or are you guys going to wait till next year?

Omar: I think for CEDIA, we're going to wait until next year. I think we have many brand partners or reps visiting, some of them having some advance. I think this year I'm just going to wait until next year.

Ron:  Got it. That makes sense. What has you most excited about the balance of this year in your life, in your business, and what's going on? What are you excited about?

Omar: Excited? Growing the business all this year has been very helpful in making decisions and determinations for the next year. We're excited to bring more brands, to add more services to our company, but also we want to make sure that we bring all of those new brands and services, that we're ready to do it the right way. We're excited we have some partnerships that we will be announcing in the next month. We're adding a few more employees to the business. I'm excited. Like I mentioned to you before, the cast, I listened to one of your podcasts last year, I think Will De Vos?

Ron:  Wim De Vos from Spain. Genesis. He's in several businesses over there.

Omar: One of the pieces of advice that he gave is, "Whatever happens, just get ready." When COVID hit last year, and I was like, he's right. Instead of just wondering what's going to happen with some of the time you had when that happened, we were going to get ready. We got our showroom ready even though we knew that it would not be able to have people over as we thought. But now, when everything's going back slowly to going in person, it's great because now we have everything set up and ready to go.

"It's very fulfilling for me to know that you've listened to some of the shows and found value in some of the interviews. We try to bring in a nice, diverse set of our industry from all sides, from dealers to consultants to manufacturers and businesses of all sizes, because I think you guys are all amazing."

Ron:  That's amazing, and I tell you it's very fulfilling for me to know that you've listened to some of the shows and found value in some of the interviews. We try to bring in a nice, diverse set of our industry from all sides, from dealers to consultants to manufacturers and businesses of all sizes, because I think you guys are all amazing. You guys and gals are all amazing, and business is hard, and our industry is hard, but it's also exciting. And I think there are so many unique stories there to be told. You were telling me offline you're like, Ron, you have personalities. I'm not a personality. Yes, you are, Omar. You're exactly the DNA that makes up our industry. I love that you said yes to coming to the show.

Omar: Thank you for the invite.

Ron:  In terms of I want to close on this. If folks are listening, and maybe they are, I'll let you think about that. Maybe they're just like you. Or maybe they are businesses that are looking up and aspiring to be like you. What's a word of wisdom or to an idea or two that you've practiced or found in your business or life that has helped you get to where you're at?

"When you want to reach out to brands because you want to build your business, you're always afraid to reach out to a big brand, and they might say no to you. I had that experience, and I felt sad and thought this was not what I needed to do. Just keep going. Keep knocking on doors, and eventually, the doors will open for you."

Omar: I think one of the things that I like to share, especially for new businesses. When somebody is trying to build a business, don't be afraid. When you want to reach out to brands because you want to build your business, you're always afraid to reach out to a big brand, and they might say no to you. I had that experience, and I felt sad and thought this was not what I needed to do. Just keep going. Keep knocking on doors, and eventually, the doors will open for you. Have a plan for if something goes wrong. Have a contingency plan. What if something happened, a TV broke when you did an installation? Make sure that you lay out the expectations for your clients in writing.

Ron:  Not just words. Not just handwaving.

"When you set up a contract, make sure that it's always in writing, and then you let them know what the system is going to do for them and then make sure that you don't oversell the experience."

Omar: Yeah. When you set up a contract, make sure that it's always in writing, and then you let them know what the system is going to do for them and then make sure that you don't oversell the experience. Because a lot of times, the mistake is we oversell the experience. When it's time to give the product or the system to a client, if the system underperforms, you have many service calls to get the result. That's just my advice.

Ron:  I'm curious in terms of that performance level. Do you find that do you put a text description in your proposals for every room that describes that room's functions?

Omar: Yes, in the beginning, we didn't. Eventually, we had to. This room, this is going to be a TV, is going to work with this. It's only going to be for streaming. You'll be able to use Roku, and then you're going to use your hand-held remote provided for Apple TV and especially in audio distribution. Often, clients get the idea that because you're installing a receiver in the living room for the 5.1 surrounds, that receiver is going to run the speakers on the patio. That runs into yeah, the receiver can be used with zone 2 while we need a source to be able to.

Ron:  It's such an astute observation, Omar, because I'm betting, so many listening or watching send out proposals consisting of equipment, lists, and labor. Did you used to do that, or did you do that at the beginning of only giving the customer equipment lists?

Omar: Yeah, we did that at the beginning. And then we realized eventually, obviously, we had an experience where it was not fun. It was a learning experience to realize that making sure that you layout your proposals. What's the product's performance, what's the word on this of each product at all? What's the expectation of that room to perform? It has been a lot of help in that.

Ron:  That's brilliant, and Thomas is agreeing. He says, "Sometimes we learn the hard way. Great advice, Omar." I can tell you in my life, I don't know how many lessons I've purchased, and they're almost all expensive. It sounds like you've done the same. Omar, if folks want to follow you or get in touch with you directly, what would you recommend?

Omar: You can always email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or DM me on Instagram @Smartphone Solutions AS. Instagram will always be a way to reach out to me. I'm always on Instagram checking posts or also admiring or other integrators' work.

Ron:  I know that I've received feedback from my team on your Instagram and that actually, even though you're my client, we've worked together for many years. It was my social team. They said you've got to have Omar on the show because his Instagram is hot and he's active, and we need to talk to him about that. It's definitely working and getting attention. And I see that my team has dropped your email and dropped your contact information. I imagine we'll put your Instagram in the show. Actually, I already see it here. Up in the show notes are down in the chat string will also have that on our website. Omar, it was a pleasure to have you on the show, sir. I really appreciate you taking the time. I know you're busy. I know everyone listening is busy. Thank you for agreeing to come on.

Omar: Well, Ron, thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to be here. And also just wanted to thank you. I just want to let you know that I listened to your show, and it's not going to sound like, oh, I just want to tell you this because of an interview, it really helps you have different personalities and different guests on your show. It helps businesses like me to grab a little bit from everyone and use it. I feel like one of the persons I learn something about every day, and it's the same every time it's your show. I learn something new from everyone. Thank you for what you're doing for the industry. I think you're doing an amazing job with this podcast, and it's amazing and put in your time and effort to get this podcast out there for everyone.

Ron:  I appreciate that, Omar. That's very much appreciated. It is a lot of work. And I have a big team behind me that helps make this all happen. And I'm going to name them. There's Alison. There's Stephanie. There's Jessica and another Jessica. And there's Carlee. And there's Carlos, all the team members behind the scenes here at One Firefly work on these shows every week. But I love doing it. I love this industry, and I love the people in this industry. It brings a lot of joy to me to be able to do this. I appreciate the kind words.

Omar: You're welcome.

Ron:  Awesome. Well, Omar, thank you, sir. I'm going to sign off here with you, and there we go. Ladies and gentlemen, there you have it. That was Show #174. I'm going to get Omar's name right here. That was Omar Alarcon. CEO and owner of A's Smart Home Solutions. It is a family business, and they do beautiful work. Check them out on Instagram, and you can see what they're doing if you have not already done so. We are also on Instagram. Maybe we are not as cool as Omar's Instagram page, but maybe we are up there. I'm joking. We have an amazing team putting out really fun content. Definitely be sure to follow us if you do not. And that's @OneFireflyLLC on Instagram and also on our podcast. If you haven't subscribed to Spotify, Apple, whatever your preferences, I'd love if you'd follow the show or even be willing to leave a review that ultimately helps us in the comments so that more folks just like you if you're listening and you're still with me. More folks, just like you, can see and hear these interviews and gain this wisdom from all of the really amazing people that make up this industry. On that note, here's our show art. You can visit us at onefirefly.com. Feel free to give us a call as well. I will see you all next week. Thanks, everybody.

SHOW NOTES:

Omar has a diverse background, including working in the baking industry and as an electrician before starting his own integration firm, A's Smart Home Solutions, in 2015. He initially gained interest in home automation while out in the field on job sites. Today, Omar focuses on providing his clients with best-in-class, high-quality technology solutions that upgrade their daily lives.

Ron Callis is the CEO of One Firefly, LLC, a digital marketing agency based out of South Florida and creator of Automation Unplugged. Founded in 2007, One Firefly has quickly become the leading marketing firm specializing in integrated technology and security. The One Firefly team works hard to create innovative solutions to help Integrators boost their online presence, such as the elite website solution Mercury Pro.

Resources and links from the interview:

To keep up with Omar, visit the A's Smart Home Solutions website at smarthomesolutionsas or email Omar directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Be sure to follow A's Smart Home Solutions on Instagram and Facebook.

 

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