Breaking down the cost of a smart home

If you’re including smart home technology as part of your new home or renovation, you may be wondering how to plan your budget for the project. This post may give you an idea of how you might design your budget for your new smart home, as well as receive advice for avoiding expensive mistakes by professional consulting from AutomatiCH Smart Home consultants.

If you’ve not yet assigned a budget to your project, or you’re looking to find out more about the general costs of a smart home, take a look at our ‘How Much Does A Smart Home Cost blog here.

If you’re still confused about whether a smart home would be worth the investment, take a look at our ‘Making A Smart Investment’ post.

This blog will be dedicated more towards budgeting for a professionally installed smart home system. If you’re planning to create a smart home yourself using a selection of products from different manufacturers, then some of the costs outlined below may not be relevant to you.

The budget breakdown

Your budget will most likely be split across two main aspects (installation and hardware costs) and some smaller aspects such as design/planning and additional or ongoing costs.
Typically, the hardware (that’s the cost of the physical products, devices, and cables required to control your home) will make up around 40% of the total project cost, with a slightly larger chunk going towards the cost of installation. These are approximate percentages but are typically reflective for a self-builder working with an AutomatiCH™ Partner on a project.

Design & Planning

Should I budget for the design of my smart home?

If you’re planning to have your smart home system professionally installed, it’s worthwhile speaking to a qualified smart home designer and/or installer. Their experience will enable them to come up with ideas and make suggestions that you may not have yet considered, and advise on which features and solutions would be the best fit for your project. They’ll also be able to give you a realistic idea of costs, and if necessary, help you to narrow down your options to fit your needs (and budget.)

    When should this conversation take place?

    The best time to contact your smart home installer is usually once you’ve had the go-ahead for the project. For those undertaking a self-build or renovation, this is usually as soon as you’ve started planning on how you’ll be using your new space.

    As with most things, the earlier you can start planning, the more cost-effective it’s likely to be. Since home automation will form part of your wiring infrastructure, it’s a good idea to have your system planned out well in advance at very initial stage. 

    If you are past the initial stage, or you’re not undertaking a full rewire, then wireless may be a better option. There are lots of wireless options, such as AutomatiCH™ WiFi + BLE Switches that can offer the same power and reliability as a wired system, but without the cables. Generally speaking, however, it makes sense to run wires where possible.

      How much will it cost?

      How much this will cost will very much depend on the individual project and how detailed you would like your designs to be. However, as a rough guide, for planning that includes a detailed functional specification and cable schedule, expect to pay in the region of ₹25000 – 75000. Full lighting designs and bespoke design work may incur higher fees.

        How can I avoid buying products I don’t need?

        One of the easiest ways to avoid this is with proper planning. An experienced AutomatiCH™ installer will be able to understand your needs and advise on the best products to use to achieve your vision. They will also be able to spot where you may have ‘planned up’ needlessly. For example, if you were planning to have an AutomatiCH™ system with a motion sensor for your lighting, and another for your burglar alarm, you’d actually only need one, since the same motion sensor can be configured to look after many different functions. Likewise with a smart heating system – if you’re budgeting for temperature sensors in every room and a separate light switch, you may find it’s better value to opt for an AutomatiCH™ Touch, which can be used to control lighting, blinds, and music and has an in-built temperature and humidity sensor which can talk to your heating system.

          Agreeing on features

          Another important thing is to agree on a feature specification with your installer. Put simply, this means agreeing on a defined list of features that you can expect from your smart home. This could include something like an ‘All Off’ button by the front door which switches off all the lights and arms the alarm.
          It’s important to agree on a feature specification with your installer before diving into specific products because it ensures that both you and your installer have a clear checklist to work from. If you only sign off on a list of parts, there is room for ambiguity, and you leave yourself open to the risk of receiving an installation that is not what you expected. It may help to take note of features you’re interested in before meeting with your installer.

             

            How much will it cost?

            How much this will cost will very much depend on the individual project and how detailed you would like your designs to be. However, as a rough guide, for planning that includes a detailed functional specification and cable schedule, expect to pay in the region of ₹25000 – 75000. Full lighting designs and bespoke design work may incur higher fees.

               

              How can I avoid buying products I don’t need?

              One of the easiest ways to avoid this is with proper planning. An experienced AutomatiCH™ installer will be able to understand your needs and advise on the best products to use to achieve your vision. They will also be able to spot where you may have ‘planned up’ needlessly. For example, if you were planning to have an AutomatiCH™ system with a motion sensor for your lighting, and another for your burglar alarm, you’d actually only need one, since the same motion sensor can be configured to look after many different functions. Likewise with a smart heating system – if you’re budgeting for temperature sensors in every room and a separate light switch, you may find it’s better value to opt for an AutomatiCH™ Touch, which can be used to control lighting, blinds, and music and has an in-built temperature and humidity sensor which can talk to your heating system.

                 

                Hardware & Wiring

                The hardware for your home will likely take up a substantial share of your budget, however, the exact cost will depend on the solution you’ve chosen, and the features you’ve agreed with your installer if you’re having the system installed.
                Your installer may purchase these products on your behalf, or some manufacturers will allow you to buy direct.
                Be aware that by choosing third-party devices, such as antique switches, or requesting unusual features, you may incur additional charges for your installer to set up and configure them.
                Similarly, whilst it can be tempting to opt for cheaper switches to keep the budget trim, bear in mind that the additional labor and quality of after-sales service required may end up costing more in the long run.

                Installation

                Assuming that you’re going to have your smart home system installed professionally, the installation cost is likely to be a significant chunk of your budget.

                Of course, you can go down the self-install route to reduce this cost. If you’re electrically competent and confident with configuration, or you’re choosing a ‘plug and play’ or wireless solution, then this could be an option.

                However, if your installation is complex, or you’re not technically skilled, you could end up with accidents and spending more on remedial work than if you’d had someone in to install it in the first place.

                Also bear in mind that you’ll need to conform to building regulations and any caveats that may be attached to your home insurance before cracking out the toolbox. 

                If you’re going for AutomatiCH™, we’d always recommend working with an AutomatiCH™ Partner. You can find AutomatiCH™ Partners that are local to you by calling on our toll-free number 1800 103 8898 and we’ll be in touch to help.

                Other costs to consider

                You may wish to hold back a small portion of your budget for additional options or services for your new smart home. Some of the additional costs to consider may include:

                Maintenance/support agreements

                Some installers offer support and maintenance contracts as part of their services. This often includes site visits to make adjustments and updates to your system. If you’re hoping to make additions or optimizations to your system later on (for example, if you’re running speaker cables now to upgrade to multiroom audio later), it’s worth discussing this option with your installer.

                Subscription fees

                Some solutions may come with a monthly or annual subscription fee to make use of their services, app or to use extra features. Whether you choose to pay for these is, of course, up to you, however, before committing to them, make sure that they’re going to give you additional benefits.

                The AutomatiCH™ Smart Caller, for example, will send calls to your phone to alert you of any dangers or emergencies. The AutomatiCH™ Weather Service, on the other hand, is great for automatic blind control, temperature regulation & more. The cost of these may be included in your ‘hardware’ costs if these features have already been agreed upon, so be sure to check with your installer.

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