Home Automation: DIY Installation or Hire Professionals?

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I’ve been talking with some friends recently that are interested in installing various smart home tech – locks, security – and I found that they all have the same questions: should I do a DIY install, or should I just hire a professional to do it? My instinct is to tell them to install it themselves; I haven’t used a professional to install my smart home tech in years. However, it does take a certain amount of knowledge, patience, and time to DIY an install, which makes it unattractive to some people.

For all of those out there asking themselves if they should do their own install or hire a professional, here are my thoughts on the pros and cons.

DIY Installation

Pros:

  • Your overall cost will likely be less
  • You can do the install on your own time (read: not during your main work hours, meaning you don’t have to take time off)
  • You’ll have choices that aren’t available to those using professional installation
  • More planning involved (what do you want to do, how will you do it, how will you monitor it?)

Cons:

  • You won’t have the same guarantees or warranties that you get with professional installation
  • DIY installation can be time consuming before the project even starts since you’ll be doing a lot of research
  • DIY setup and installation on site can also be time consuming, especially if things don’t go smoothly – and let’s face it, no installation is without its own hiccups

Professional Installation

Pros:

  • Professional installation means you get to kick back and relax while someone else does the work
  • Your new home tech is guaranteed to work, or someone else will come out and fix it for you
  • Purchasing a device and installation services typically means that you’re also going to get a warranty on the devices and the installation
  • It also typically comes with some sort of support
  • There are less options out there if you go the professional route, which means you’ll have less options; there won’t be as much research to do before purchasing since you aren’t researching every known device
  • You’ll have someone guiding you along the way, from purchase to installation, that can offer advice
  • You might also get monitoring services for free, or get a discount on the monthly rate

Cons

  • Professional installation is going to be more expensive, and that can range from no big deal, to deal breaker
  • You have to work on their schedule, which might mean that you don’t get something installed before you leave for vacation, or that you might have to take time off work to be home for the installation
  • For some systems, you might not actually own the equipment – think of it like cable, where you just rent the cable box on a monthly basis
  • Changing your settings or services might require a professional install, or a visit from the team, which could cost you a fee

The truth is that the choice is a personal call, and will have to be determined by the consumer. There is no right or wrong answer, there are just the pros and the cons of each option.

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