Taking the installer focus Q&A this week is Finite Solutions’ Joe Gormley.
What are you up to today?
I’m delighted to be raising invoices for two new projects I won yesterday. I am then meeting an existing client’s brother, as he is interested in a system for his new house. The rest of the day I am working on proposals for three other clients.
How and why did you pursue a career in the AV/install industry?
Having always been an avid music and film fan with an interest in electronics it was an obvious avenue to pursue for me.
I actually worked in the film industry for a few years but found I preferred enjoying the content rather than creating it.
This led me into the home cinema and Hi‐Fi world. Working on large custom install smart home and cinema room projects was always my goal and I am very pleased to be doing that at the highest level.
What project are you most proud of in your career and why?
I am most proud of a cinema room project we completed last year. We called this project ‘What lies beneath’ for our portfolio as the cinema is in a purpose-built basement room under our client’s garden.
This was a stunning dedicated cinema room with amazing aesthetics, performance and functionality. We were delighted to win the coveted CEDIA Best Home Cinema £40,000 to £100,000 award for this project – a very proud moment in my career.
What is the worst thing (outside of your control) that has ever gone wrong on a project?
We are currently working on a large smart home project, which is the total refurbishment and extension of a large detached house.
First fix was due to commence two weeks ago, however the main contractor has discovered asbestos in the property.
In my view that is actually good news for the client as they now know the Asbestos is there and can have specialists remove this nasty material. On the downside of course, this is more cost for the client and will hold up the project considerably.
As an installer, what is one thing you’re tired of hearing either on the job, or about your job?
Hearing horror stories from clients who have had really bad installations done in the past.
From what I have seen and heard about, there are obviously many companies out there who sell themselves as being custom installation who do not have the skills or resources to deliver proper custom installation projects: designed, documented, installed and supported to the required standard.
I often have clients contacting me for help saying they spent lots of money on a system with another firm and it never works properly.
These few companies doing substandard work gives clients a very negative picture of our industry and it is hard to rebuild their trust and prove to them there are good companies like Finite Solutions out there.
What one thing could the industry collectively do to improve its standing and profitability?
We should distance the custom installation business from the AV retail sector; I have worked in both and would argue that they are very different businesses.
I do appreciate there are some good retailers out there who do great installation work and they are the exception.
All companies providing proper custom installation solutions should use specialist products which are not available online or on the high street, from specialist manufacturers and suppliers who properly vet their dealers to ensure they are up to the job. This way we can all sell custom installation as the specialist solution it is.
What is your favourite piece of AV kit on the market right now?
The Bowers & Wilkins Custom Theatre 800 range of speakers. I love the detailed yet effortless quality of their sound.
They are comfortable reproducing everything from the most delicate sounds, to the musical score and the crash bang of big action movies.
The huge dynamics of movie sound tracks can be very demanding of speakers and these products handle the job with ease.
What product/s or concepts do you think will be the next big thing will be in the industry?
Fibre optic infrastructure in the residential market. As we move towards ever more demands on our data networks and the much higher bandwidth requirements for 4K video and potentially 8K in future it seems to me that the industry moving from copper to the huge potential of fibre is inevitable.
What’s the best thing about life as an installer?
Delivering above and beyond what your client was expecting. I love seeing our client’s reactions when we perform the first demonstrations of their completed systems.
We always aim to surpass their requirements and deliver something really special.
You can invite three people living or dead out for a pint or over for dinner (not including family and friends!) Who are they and why?
Groucho Marx, Chuck D and Stanley Kubrick.
Groucho for the comedy and unbeatable one-liners, Chuck D for a bit of truth and perspective and Stanley whom I could talk to about films and film making forever.
I’m sure the chat between those three would be interesting too!
You can only listen to one album and watch one film for the rest of your life, what are they?
The album is a hard one. For the rest of my life, probably Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On.
For the movie: Dr Strangelove. I will never tire of Peter Sellers and Stanley Kubrick.
What’s a common pet peeve during a project?
When working on a big project with lots of other trades involved, the timeline will often slip backwards which can be problematic in terms of planning.
However, we know this business and accept that a project taking longer than estimated is common in the world of construction.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can set up, load and operate a 35mm movie camera – though it has been a number of years since I did that.