unreasonable installation fee for projector?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Gary Hunter, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. Gary Hunter

    Gary Hunter Agent

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    I have recently finished my theater project that included the Sony HS-20 projector. For the project, I consulted with a home theater firm located 90 miles from my small town home. I decided that it was best to use a dealer for some aspects of the construction, including video since I have no expertise in that arena and I wanted to make sure that it is correctly calibrated. I had originally planned to purchase the projector and remote from them, and got a price quote from them (all list prices). They told me they would give me a price for labor after the site visit(which was to include all wiring, which I ended up doing myself) but would be less than $1,000 for everything. Well time passed, the site visit came and went and it was time for the projector to be installed. I never got the price quote and frankly forgot about it. The remote did not come in so they planned on bringing it when the ISF tech came to calibrate the projector.

    Well I got an invoice for $625 labor, including travel time and mileage, just for the install, no calibration yet. I about choked. I could easily have gotten the projector for $800 less and installed the thing myself and just paid for the calibration. I take full responsibility for not getting the quote prior to having them install it, but I felt good about the company because we had several conversations about the equipment and design and it was supposed to be under a grand for everything, including the wiring (which would have taken much more time than just the projector).

    My question is, does that seem reasonable for an installation of the projector (all wiring was in place by me, all they had to do was cut a pipe to mount the projector mount to the flange and tweak the image size). I was told that the labor rate for the ISF technician will be $125/hour and if they are going to charge me for time and travel to the place, I'm not going to spend that much because that will be another $500 at least just in travel time!! He was going to program the remote as well but I'm going to buy one online and do it myself now.

    We have all read the debate of whether we should buy online versus use local dealers and I do try to support them as much as possible, when they carry the products I need, and of course I pay a premium price. But, is it unreasonable to expect some level of service when spending full list price from a dealer rather than buying online? I can see charging me mileage since I am not in town, possibly.

    Obviously I was remiss for not getting the labor quote prior to having the installation performed and have learned my lesson. I have not contacted them about the invoice because I needed a little time to digest everything, and thought I'd see what experiences others have had.
     
  2. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Supporting Actor

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    Sounds like a major rip off to me. I calibrated my HS20 with the S&V disk and the results are fantastic.
     
  3. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    If you do it all yourself, you will have the satisfaction of having done it making it all the more enjoyable.

    All the expertise you need is right here.
     
  4. Gary Hunter

    Gary Hunter Agent

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    Frank,

    What is the S&V Disk?

    How intensive was the process?

    Gary
     
  5. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Supporting Actor

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  6. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Gary:

    Also you can check out the AVIA and Digital Video Essentials discs that you can get online or via your local Best Buy or Circuit City.

    Parker
     
  7. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    No. Maybe that would be appropriate for physically hanging a CRT projector (that is a PITA), but with no calibration, that is pretty damn steep. hanging a digital projector is really really easy. No half-dozen guys needed, or winch lifts, and bloting plates, adjustable mounting bracketing for angling, and movement in all directions, etc.

    For calibration, that still sounds pretty high, unless it were a CRT. Then it would sound low, or that they would be doing fairly crude setup. IMO, I'd probably do it all myself first, and use Avia to calibrate (HUGE picture improvements) first, then maybe later consider an ISF calibration if you are picky. That sounds a quite high for just having a worker monkey install the unit, no calibration at all.
     
  8. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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  9. Gary Hunter

    Gary Hunter Agent

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    Thanks everyone, I appreciate the input and will order the DVE and Avia and check out the S&V.

    Gary
     
  10. Jack Ferry

    Jack Ferry Stunt Coordinator

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    Although I haven't hired anyone in this field, I would think around $40 to $60 per hour is reasonable. It is also reasonable to charge for travel time. But $125 per hour is not reasonable for hanging a projector.

    I'd check with a few other installers and find out what their hourly rate is. Personally, I would not pay that bill unless you find that it is close to what others would have charged you.

    For what it's worth, I'm a lawyer and $125 per hour is my hourly rate. (When I can get it.)
     
  11. Gary Hunter

    Gary Hunter Agent

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    I should clarify those charges. The $125/hour is for the calibrating by an ISF certified technician, which I have not had done, nor am I going to at that rate with the advice I've received here. The two guys that installed the projector were billed at $60/hour for the main tech and $40 for the helper tech. The total labor time was 2.5 hours. Then there was 3 hours of travel for each, so 6 hours total at $30/hour, plus a mileage rate.

    I guess I'm just a little miffed because I thought I was doing the decent thing to use a "local" dealer and am feeling like I got ripped off big time. I'm just trying to decide what to do about it. I've not paid the bill, but I do have a $1000 credit for the remote that I've paid for but isn't available. So I'm sure they won't refund my $ with an outstanding balance for that installation.

    thanks again guys.
     
  12. Jack Ferry

    Jack Ferry Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I suggest that you decide what you think is a fair price for the work you received and then contact them with your proposal. It helps to put it in writing, and you've got a better shot at getting a fair result if you have a lawyer do the letter. (Gotta put in a plug for my brethren in the Mississippi Bar.)
     
  13. Shawn_Z

    Shawn_Z Auditioning

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    IMO, calibration fees should be a flat rate. Installation fees could arguably be hourly rates, but IME it is better to get a flat service install quote. That is what the quotes are for, so you can have a total estimate.

    As far as hanging the projector. It is relatively simple. Especially with the forum support out there. With so many people online doing the same thing , and all the online calculators for PJ placement...I'd say it is definately a low to medium difficulty job, depending on your particulat situation. Sounds like you did the hard part (running all the wires and switches!)
     

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