First, what is a smart home?

Most residents can set up a single smart plug or speaker just by following a set of instructions. But one device doesn’t make a smart home. Smart home tech companies  will come to you for help with installing and setting up  internet-enabled devices. By connecting lighting systems, temperature controls, door locks—and even voice devices—devices become part of a high-tech ecosystem ready to serve its residents with cutting-edge convenience.

This connected suite of smart services allows residents to link device behaviors into helpful sequences. For instance, a  routine based on the approximate  time a resident returns home for the evening, that triggers the thermostat to cool the dwelling to an optimal temperature before their arrival. Without human intervention, the smart home automation system can set the stage for a post-9-to-5 sanctuary, automatically turning on the lights on dark winter nights and cueing a relaxing classical music playlist.

Are smart homes a passing trend?

While some naysayers view smart home tech as a get-rich-quick scheme, leading IoT companies know that this couldn’t be any further from the truth. Home automation is not just a buzzy trend amongst tech aficionados—the demand is trickling down to the general population. In fact, nearly 87% of renters say technology is now a prime indicator of how much they enjoy a living arrangement.

By 2025, there will be just shy of 500 million smart homes across the world. Now’s the ideal time to start positioning yourself as a reputable installer, so you can get a leg up on the local competition.

How to become certified as a smart home installer

Whether you specialize in ground-up multifamily, new construction or acquiring and improving retrofits, there are plenty of ways to add value with home automation. Here are some tips for getting started quickly in this growing space.

PS – check back at IOTAS soon for our upcoming installer certifications.

Dive into online coursework

Luckily, you have complete access to a highly knowledgeable instructor—the internet. Organizations like the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association provide a long list of virtual and face-to-face educational opportunities to level up your residential technology solution repertoire. You’ll not only learn the ins-and-outs of smart home installation, but also gain insight into more business-oriented content like how to prepare accurate cost proposals and project timelines.

Many local community colleges also offer programs for up-and-coming smart home installers and technicians. For extra hands-on experience, invest in a handful of your very own starter devices and practice setting them up for home testing. If budget is a concern, popular e-learning platforms like Udemy and Teachable offer cost-effective online instruction to guide you through the early stages. If you’re stuck on a certain question, YouTube is your go-to source for elucidating key concepts. Many smart device manufacturers also offer helpful how-to videos, spec sheets, and instructional guides you’ll find useful.

Receive your first certification

Now it’s time to show potential clients you’ve got the stuff to take on their home automation project. Certifications not only enhance your personal confidence, but in their search for an installation partner, 66% of homeowners are looking for a verified professional. Pick from a variety of certifications like Schneider Electric or CEDIA to prove your newfound mastery. For some certifications, the granting body may assign you a local job suitable to your skill set. An experienced expert may tag along in-person or remotely to provide guidance on your first gig.

Successfully complete a job

If you’re already in the field service business, start folding your new skills into your offering. As an electrician or electrical contractor, you can offer the wiring of smart lighting to your customer base, or add Nest thermostat expertise to your HVAC portfolio. If you’re just starting out, you can search for one-off gigs on platforms like Houzz, or explore opportunities with established companies on platforms like Indeed.

There’s nothing more attractive to potential customers than an online profile chock full of five-star reviews. In fact, 8 out of 10 people trust online testimonials just as much as a recommendation from a friend. Direct satisfied customers to your Facebook, houzz, or Yelp profile so they can leave the kind of positive feedback that grows your reputation.

As you gain more experience in home installation, you’ll open new doors to bigger and greater opportunities. Many manufacturers like Nest host a database of experienced installers for homeowners looking for assistance. Submit your resume to platforms like these to appear at the top of the list of recommended local experts.

Maintain your certifications—and your knowledge base!

Pay attention to the requirements for maintaining your certifications. You may need to brush-up on the latest and greatest technologies throughout the year or prove your awareness of new local or federal regulations. Keep important deadlines in mind—you never want one of your well-earned certifications to expire!

You can also stay up to snuff by signing up for popular industry e-newsletters. Sign up with top manufacturers to receive alerts on brand new product launches so you’re always a step ahead of your competition.

With nearly 50% of homeowners clamoring for these new-age home experiences, now’s the perfect time to add intelligent device expertise to your portfolio of services. Don’t miss the boat—use these steps to kick off the next phase of your home installation business.