The Little Secret 99 Percent of AV Dealers Don’t Know About Motorized Window Treatments

By Norman Rosenberg

A/V dealers are losing out on opportunities to earn money and minimize wasted time on integrating motorized draperies, Roman Shades and other custom window treatments into their client’s projects. We’ll explain a quick and easy way to earn great margins and more importantly get the project done in as little as half the time.

Window Treatments Are a Pain for AV Dealers

Motorized window treatments are a hybrid kind of product — half machine, half fabric — and because it falls in between these two disciplines it is a major burden for most AV dealers.

AV dealers, though skilled at their technical craft, don’t have the knowledge necessary to design and install a treatment themselves, which forces them to accept the window treatment workroom that their client’s interior designer, architect or contractor brings in.

Then you have to struggle through the integration with people who have little to no experience with and don’t talk the language of, motorization and integration of window treatments. This process takes extra time and patience and wastes resources that dealers can’t afford.

The result is a litany of endless back and forth emails, phone calls, finger pointing and maybe even a change order here and there just to frost the cake.

It also forces you to hand over the keys to another driver. Putting another party in charge of the window treatment removes you from control of that part of the process. Most likely it’s a part of the home or office renovation that you know nothing about. Most AV dealers don’t know the first thing about motorized draperies. And because you don’t, you can’t control it. Yet you’re responsible for the end result and at the mercy of whatever person your partner has put in the driver’s seat. It’s a helpless feeling to say the least.

But brace yourselves, AV dealers, because it gets even worse! Here’s what it means for your almighty paycheck.

In addition to not getting paid for the time you spend on the integration, there’s also a huge lost opportunity cost. You’re missing the chance to earn money by selling the solution to the client yourself. Instead, the interior designer, architect, or general contractor is getting paid for designing the product, pitching it to the client, getting the client’s buy-in, marking it up, selling it and pocketing the margin for themselves.

Drapery Workrooms Don’t Understand Motorization, Integration or You!

Here’s another little tidbit of information. Remember when I mentioned that motorized fabric window treatment systems are a hybrid, blended product? This makes them so cryptic that even the drapery professionals don’t get it.

Most drapery workrooms are great at draperies but know nearly nothing when it comes to how to create a motorized and integrated window treatment system.

Let me give you some examples of what I mean —

#1 Way Drapery Workrooms Miss the Boat: Since none of the major motorization vendors have reached out to educate drapery workrooms in a meaningful way, they aren’t capable of doing more than attaching a generic motor and handing it off to the AV guy to integrate.  Normally what’s attached is a very simple, non-system, not easily integrated motor.

Good enough for standalone window treatments, but from difficult to impossible to integrate with whole home or office systems.  I’ve seen so many drapery workrooms attempt to do motorization, lose money on their first bunch of jobs, then abandon the idea altogether and go back to their comfort zone- making the draperies.  It only gets worse when motors are given to them to adapt to their treatments.

#2 Thing Drapery Workrooms Don’t Understand: How to talk to AV Dealers

Drapery professionals don’t speak the language of the AV world.  And AV dealers don’t speak the language of the drapery world.

Does that sound like a problem in the making?

I’ve seen many project meetings –you know the kind– architect, interior designer, general contractor, owner, drapery person, AV dealer, etc. all trying to have a conversation that never is complete.  Of course the AV dealer is the one that ends up with the responsibility of controlling whatever is being made.  There is always that big grey area left over to confound you.

#3 Way that Drapery Workrooms Fall Short of AV Dealer Expectations: Not Seeing the Big Picture

Most drapery professionals lack a complete understanding of all the related trades’ scopes and responsibilities. Why wouldn’t they? They are normally called in by the interior designer to fabricate and hang up sets of draperies.

Here’s another one of the reasons.  Drapery workrooms come in for the decoration phase of a project.  They rarely get involved during the construction process.  So they don’t know what they don’t know about construction and how to design pockets, soffits, etc. for multiple layers of treatments.  And, they have little to no experience working with construction trades.  They also never thought that AV dealers would make good strategic partners for them.

The bottom line — lots of lost opportunities here.

There is a solution!

For a blended product, find a blended service provider that can help you design and implement beautiful and profitable window treatments, and support you through the entire process.

Sounds logical, doesn’t it?

If you are interested in handling all types of motorized window treatments from start to finish, find the highest quality drapery workroom that matches your client’s budget and taste level, knows motorization, and most importantly is willing and capable of working with you. This will greatly improve your relationship with your interior designers, architects, general contractors and homeowners, becoming a one stop source, saving you time and trouble, and earning you the profits that have previously gone to others.

Norman is CEO of Rosenberg Interior Technologies  specializing in high-end window treatment & smart home design and installs.