Alula recently launched its Builder Program to help meet the increasing demands of homeowners for the comfort, convenience and security of a professionally installed integrated solution when they buy a new home. We recently spoke to Brian Motheral, general manager of Republic Elite Integration, a leading Northern California dealer and advisor on the formation of the Alula Builder Program, to gain his insights on how the program benefits dealers and integrators.
Homeowners expect functionality and control
He said consumer expectations have changed with the average price of a new home topping $800,000 in his area.
“For that price, the average buyer expects some basic functionality and control over their home,” he said. “I always use the analogy of a car. You wouldn’t buy one today without Bluetooth and a navigation system. It took time for some builders to understand the concept, but they have come around. These systems changed builders’ marketing. Now, they’re quick to say their new projects are smart-home ready.”
When Motheral talks to builders, he reminds them they’re already putting locks, thermostats and garage door openers in their new homes. The cost of turning these into smart devices is relatively inexpensive. Motheral estimates a basic home automation package costs about $500 – maybe adding a couple of dollars per month over a typical 30-year loan.
He said installing home automation systems into new homes still isn’t a large portion of Republic Elite’s revenue – most new home business still involves pulling wire and related activities. But he sees that changing as he works with larger and more nationwide homebuilders.
“We want any builder, especially a national developer, to make home automation systems a standard in every single home,” Motheral said. “We want to install as many of these as we can. We never lose money on an install – the builder is paying for it.”
How Alula helps
The Alula Builder program also presents opportunities for Motheral’s team to boost RMR. Republic Elite dispatches service techs to set up the Alula app and power up the system as the homebuyers move in.
“The builders love the extra white-glove attention we provide,” he said. “That visit also gives us a chance to ask homeowners if they want a camera in the backyard, extra contacts on all doors and windows and monitoring.”
Motheral said monitoring home security and interactive services represent potential RMR. To hook new homeowners on the value of these offerings, he works with Alula to provide a free year of interactive services.
“This is an area where Alula stepped up for us,” he said. “The Builder Program gives me the flexibility to determine what I want that trial period to be. At the end of the year, I’d guess up to 80% of the homeowners say, ‘Hey, wait a second. I still want to be able to control my home.’ We tell them we can make it happen, but there’s a monthly fee for that.”
Sleek design provides excellent aesthetics
Motheral also gives Alula credit for designing a modular system that easily enables the addition of video doorbells, cameras and additional sensors. He said he adds as much as homeowners want to the Alula platform. It’s more customizable and cost-effective than other platforms on the market, and he praised Alula for building sophisticated devices not resembling a child’s toy, like some other manufacturers’ offerings.
Among its many other benefits, the Alula Builder Program offers model home discounts, remote service activation and an optional Asset Protection Plan for during-construction coverage. The program is open to all Alula dealers. For more information, visit https://alula.com/builder/.