Should I expect a discount from dealer for buying and installing complete system


I am getting ready to purchase a complete Home theater system from my dealer. It will probably end up at or over $17000. I am buying all the equipment from him and they are doing the install. He sent me the proposal today and I was surprised that there was no package deal. All the equipment which includes a receiver, a 9 speaker Atmos system. I may only need 7 if I can use my already installed rear ceiling speakers, cables, 65" TV 4K DVD player some other things I need. plus speaker stands. It's a complete redo of my home theater and will require extensive installation as my home theater room was done when we renovated and the room was frame. All the wiring is hidden behind the walls and all the equipment is in the closet. A lot of holes will be drilled and crawling under the house and going into the attic to do the work. Am I out of line to expect a solid discount on the equipment?
Thanks,
Bob
galleybob
Yes, on the equipment, cables, and speaker stands. No on the installation labor.
I doubt the dealer has any room to discount the 65" TV.


Did the dealer give you a breakdown price showing each piece of equipment,  cables, speaker stands,  65" TV, and installation labor? Or did he give you a package price? He may be giving you a discount.

You should have checked the individual retail prices of the items first.

10% minimum discount on the equipment, cables, and speaker stands. Start out with a 20% discount.

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If he is charging you for the installation labor apart from the components then by all means try to get at least 10% maybe even 15%.
if the labor is not itemized and he is charging for the equipment and not for the installation then the installation is is the discount. If you don’t ask you won’t get it, if you do ask you may still not get a discount. But the asking is a free option you should exercise.
i do know dealer that gets insulted if you ask for a discount and he has an ex-customer that now buys elsewhere. 
He has it broken down with the installation and equipment. The equipment is all list price. Installation is $250 an hour for a 2 man crew. It's a big order, I think I should get a break on equipment. Is it customary to get bids from other dealers and installers or to just go with the one who has put the time into talking, and demoing equipment. I think since dealer has put in the time I would not seek other bids


$125 an hour per man......

Is it customary to get bids from other dealers and installers or to just go with the one who has put the time into talking, and demoing equipment. I think since dealer has put in the time I would not seek other bids
Yes, shop around! When you buy a new car do you shop around for the best deal?

If I may ask what brand/manufacturer is the receiver and speakers?

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As a Master Electrician who has done a ton of custom installs I will say $125.00 an hour per man is fair.That kind of work is a BEEATCH!
4K TV’s are cheap,I’ll bet there is oversale here,have you done any online research of the models he’s selling vs what is available?What about cables?Have you checked online pricing vs what he’s selling?Does Installation include FULL ISF Calibration of monitor & source?Have you even heard the receiver and speakers together?I would do a LOT of research on this before laying down hard green only to find you got hosed..Also exactly what kind of training do the install techs have?You want someone drilling mindlessly into your walls,hell no you need someone who knows how to use the latest tech to plan raceways & pull wire without mucking up whats already there..Also if your paying full value per man they both better have the same Certs,if 1 is an apprentice the price goes down by half...
2Paradigm 75F and 155C
2Paradigm Surround 3
2Paradigm CI-PRO P80R
2 Paradigm surround stands
1 stand for 55C
1JL Labs TRX
1 Parasound Zampv3
1AQ Active HDMI
1 Sony X1000 ES blu-ray
1Sony XBR950G 65"
1 Sony STRZA5000ES receiver
He didn't include it but I know I will need 4K cables for Apple 4K and Sony Blue-ray player
I'm he will find some other things I need to set it up

System Installation

  1. 1  Remove existing receiver, DVD player, VCR. Install new components and speakers.

  2. 2  Pull new HDMI and CAT6 cables to TV location

  3. 3  Pull new sub cable to under TV location

  4. 4  Pull new speaker cables to front Atmos position. Use existing Sonance for rear Atmos.

  5. 5  Remove Samsung TV and mount new 4K Sony TV

  6. 6  Install new 4K AppleTV for Theater, existing AppleTVs for zone music playback

  7. 7  Bypass inwall volume controls

  8. 8  Program Universal Remote Control for Zone 2 (master bedroom

  9. 9  Install surrounds and wireless system.

  10. 10  Mount existing Samsung in Son's room

  11. 11  Calibrate System

  12. 12  Train client on Sony Web interface for zone use.

I picked out the Paradigm 75F's and the 55C. He wanted me to go with the cheaper 45C
I chose the Sony 950G
I probably was going to buy either Marantz 812 or Anthem 720 but he played me the Sony a few times and I had to agree that it sounded great. He wanted me to buy the Sony 3100 but I wanted the 5000
Installation does include calibration. The surround and the two Atmos speakers he suggested. I already have 5 ceiling speakers but we will only use the 2 rear for Atmos. The prices are all list. I haven't checked price of cable yet
Yes I have heard it but not with 55C. I think I heard 55C with another system. I also heard Anthem
I am assuming the installers are top notch. This is a very hi end store. I'm buying their mid-fi I guess in comparison to Wilson Speakers and all the super expensive amps and preamps, etc. They have been in business for 30 years and I have dealt with them for thirty years. This is the first time that they will install anything.
The labor estimate is $3000. I think it will go up though. When the installers come they will go under the house to see the feasibility of installing wired surround sound speakers. The owner thought it would be labor intensive and suggested the wireless surround. I have to see the difference in price because with the wireless I need the wireless transmitter plus the Parasound amp. I would prefer the surrounds to be wired so I am hoping it will be not to hard to install the wires through the back of the house.
Thanks your opinions!
Bob


  1. 1  Remove existing receiver, DVD player, VCR. Install new components and speakers.

  2. 2  Pull new HDMI and CAT6 cables to TV location

  3. 3  Pull new sub cable to under TV location

  4. 4  Pull new speaker cables to front Atmos position. Use existing Sonance for rear Atmos.

  5. 5  Remove Samsung TV and mount new 4K Sony TV

  6. 6  Install new 4K AppleTV for Theater, existing AppleTVs for zone music playback

  7. 7  Bypass inwall volume controls

  8. 8  Program Universal Remote Control for Zone 2 (master bedroom

  9. 9  Install surrounds and wireless system.

  10. 10  Mount existing Samsung in Son's room

  11. 11  Calibrate System

  12. 12  Train client on Sony Web interface for zone use.

Nothing there requires a licensed electrician. And just a guess neither of the two men will be electricians. If and when the dealer needs an electrician my guess would be he has an electrical contractor he uses. 
  
As a rule low voltage communication/data cable installers are paid about half of what an electrician is paid.   
Note: There are good and bad low voltage cable installers just like there are good and bad electricians.


If it's not a done deal yet renegotate!
Those are the prices that I am playing except for the Sony Blu-ray. He told me $$499.
I will ask him about a package deal
$250 an hour may be expensiveIf I hired one guy $125 an hour it would probably work out to the same amount. 
I can live with what they are charging for install. I have no doubt at all that it will be excellent work.  I think though that since I am buying so much equipment I should get a discount.
We first installed our home theater 11 year ago when we renovated our house. I regret not thinking about this business back then. We used an independent guy who our contractor recommended. At the time I knew zero about Home Theater. He definitely over charged, no doubt and did not set up receiver correctly, no sound calibration, installed 5 ceiling speakers when they all could have been in wall. The room was just frame. It all sounds good but I know it could have been a lot better for the money I spent
$250 an hour may be expensive. If I hired one guy $125 an hour it would probably work out to the same amount.

Installation is $250 an hour for a 2 man crew.

The dealer’s labor rate charge is $125 per man hour.
$3000 / $125 = 24 man hours. This is the total number of hours the dealer figured to do the job. Plus tax? (If the dealer is smart he added a little fudge factor to the labor hours he guesstimated to do the job.)

That’s not what the worker is being paid though. And there is a good chance there is lead man and a helper. (Lead man makes more money than the helper, usually.) The dealer has other costs than just the wages he pays the worker. FICA, workman’s comp insurance, unemployment insurance, Liability insurance, health benefits?, service van, insurance on the van, maintenance on the van, gas, tools, ect. On top of this he adds a percentage for overhead charges. He then takes that total times a percentage for profit markup.


I have no idea what the going rate is for an audio/video total install in Berkeley, CA. The dealer's price may be fair. Call around to other dealers in your area and ask what their hourly man hour rate is for the same comparable work.

If there are other audio/video dealers in your area I would compare prices. Check for independent customer reviews.

I would recommend you buy all the equipment and have it installed, setup, and calibrated, by the same dealer. Saves on finger pointing if there is a problem.



https://www.trackstreet.com/blog/map-pricing-vs-msrp-whats-the-difference

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Yes that is why I am buying all the equipment from dealer. I did check some independent installers. One of them did some work for me when I was having a problem with a zone 2 channel not working. While he was here he did a proper install of my HSU sub which was not connected right. Doing that changed everything for me in my home theater. It's really good with the sub properly installed. I talked to him about new ceiling speakers and he suggested just starting with a high quality Yamaha amp. I asked what it would cost to install and calibrate and he said $800. I thought that was crazy which is why I wound up going to my dealer 
$125/hr in the Bay Area is fair. There’s no money in tv’s, Apple products, or the DVD player. The only profitable items are the speakers.

Asking for a discount could seem offensive to him. Personally, if I had a customer in your position, I’d be much more receptive if they asked “Hey, could you do this for $15000?” If he can’t, then it gives him the ability to counter back and maybe meet in the middle.

He did spend some time with you and you obviously like doing business with him, so it sounds like he’s adding value to you and the experience, rather than just being a box-pusher.



Post removed 
As a former dealer for many years and selling most of what was listed above, I would have given a 12%-15% discount off of the gear, (except for the TV), but the labor would not be discounted.

Without seeing the install myself, not sure if $3000 is good or not?

Nice system. Good luck!
Instead of the 1 Sony STRZA5000ES receiver, I would have spent the extra $700.00 on the Anthem MRX1120 receiver, I think you would have been happier also with the Anthem receiver you get the ARC room correction which is great at helping to get all the speakers set up and working together.
I owner a Audio store for almost a decade and easily he could give you 15%
and he still make between 30-35% on average . The $250 an hour is also BS
i he is paying these guys $20 an hour maybe $25 per hour No way 
he i he says no, then walk , you  should be the boss ,you are the one 
shelling out the $$.
Any high end system, home theater or stereo, simply cannot be done right any other way than by investment of vast personal time and energy. It requires that you learn a lot, listen a lot, shop and compare a lot. You go to one place for everything you are doing none of that. Oh you may kid yourself but seriously, you get even a little way down the right path you learn so much no way would you ever try what you're doing.

So you put yourself in the position of having one dealer in control of nearly everything, you send the message of being unwilling (or unable, or both) of doing any of this yourself. You put yourself in this weak vulnerable position. Then you ask what should you expect?

You should expect to be raped, and count yourself lucky to not also be beaten. 

But hey, no worries, its a metaphor. You got plenty of money. This is what its there for. Maybe do better next time. Maybe not. Oh well.

And oh btw, on the off chance you really do want to try and get a better deal then you better look at the man in the Oval, maybe even read his book, or at least learn this one very crucial lesson: you got to be prepared to walk.
The 1120 Anthem is 3500. Sony is $2100. My dealer is longtime Anthem dealer and says Sony is now better
I have dealt with this business for 30 years. They are highly respected. I have been doing so much research online. I have listened to Anthem and yes they are outstanding. I have always liked Paradigm and had Studio 100’s years ago thati I bought from this dealer


Labor should absolutely be non-negotiable!  You have only yourself to blame for a mess and no warranty support on product if something goes wrong and you have someone else do the installation. Don’t listen to these people who are clueless as to the price of labor either. I work in the Pro AV market and no one negotiated labor nor should they and are charging you a fair deal.
Get multiple bids and visit other dealers for different pieces. IMO the dealer thinks he’s got you hooked and doesn’t need to negotiate. Tell him you are going to get multiple bids and listen to other systems and he might comeback with a better deal.
Right I’m not asking for a discount on labor. I think the price quoted is fair. My question was should I get a package deal on the equipment as I am probably spending $13 or $14 thousand on the gear. I don’t have the attitude at all that they are cutthroat and out to fleece me. I like them and trust them enough if they say Sony ES is the right receiver for me I will go along. They have tried to convince me to buy lower level equipment that they say will work with my speakers but I’m willing to spend more to get a higher level. 
I think 15% would be reasonable discount. If they no i’m Not going elsewhere as this is the top store
Post removed 
OK, as another former dealer, let's break down his/her costs for the labor.  Yes, paying the people 30-50/hr is in line with your area, which is a very expensive area to do business in.  The truck the labor people use cost about $125 every time it leaves the shop--payments, taxes, insurance, licenses, regular maintenance--you do want it to make it to your house, right?  So, no, he does not pay the people 125/hr, but it costs him a bundle to drive around in a van/truck with two people on the clock.  Maybe 125 is his break even point, but then why be in business unless you make enough to STAY in business?  Gotta be some profit in there somewhere.

As for the gear, there is NO MONEY in TV's at all.  Sony used to mark up 21% and my overhead was 23%, so I lost money on every Sony I sold.  I had to make it up on delivery and installation charges, unfortunately.  If you loaded it in your car yourself, money went out my door.

As for the rest of the gear, I have no idea but people on here who sell or have sold that stuff have posted some info.  I like the idea of asking if he would do it for 15K and see where it goes.  He knows how much he is making and will do what he can to save the sale, I would guess, since you are a good customer of long standing.  OR he might offer you a "free" service agreement of some sort to ensure your complicated system is working to its maximum capability.  I would be surprised if you did not have at least 2 visits in the next few months to make adjustments.  That truck still costs 125 every time it rolls whether you are paying or not, so that MIGHT be a better deal than a huge discount up front.  As I tell most people, when you buy a car, you are buying the warranty, nothing more.  Same here in some respects.

Ask--all he can do is counter at a higher number or say no.  Either way, you MUST have a agreement for support for the next few months or so.

Cheers, and enjoy the music!!
I think 10 percent is definitely fair. I would try for 15 percent.  As far as labor, that's their  rate, I dont think u can argue that. Did they come over to your home before he quoted you labor?  My reason for asking is you dont need a sliding scale on the labor after the job because more work than quoted. My dealer gives me 10 percent off everything and he is extremely accommodating, he doesn't sell TVs, I would check around on TV and just make sure its same price as everyone else. He gave me 10 percent off my anthem, bluesound and cables, all bought at different times
 I listened to the paradigm 75 you are getting,  but I went a different way. 75 are nice speakers. As far as Sony vs anthem,  not even in the same league.  Seriously ht reviews show the Sony having issues with low frequencies with room correction.  But maybe your dealer knows something we dont. You may want to Google this yourself.  The only room correction anthem did not beat out was dirac, but that's in a different price range. Also I believe you will find better amps in the anthem,  they started out as an amp company.  Sonic frontier if I remember correctly.  Like you I went down this road 6 months ago, I did extensive research before buying,  hard earned cash. Sum it up, atleast 10 percent off speakers and receiver.  Rethink your receiver, it is the heart of your ht room. As you research,  look at dates of reviews because these companies make updates.  Good luck Bob. 

Just remember, HT equipment has no longevity. Today’s top of the line system will be “last year’s” model by the time your check clears. And resale on used HT is like used computers - nil. Few receivers are capable of firmware updates that allow them to adapt to new formats, like a transition from 1080P to 4K. And of course that’ll require some cable upgrading as well. You may want to consider separates. Find the speakers you think sound best, pair them with an amplifier that will last ages and buy the processor du jour. The HT technology advances so quickly that just replacing the processor may provide a more forward-thinking and less expensive approach. And by all means, ask for the discount!


I really appreciate the comments. I am really getting a tremendous amount of useful information. I had never thought about a service agreement. That's a great idea.
I don't think that around $3000 is a lot for the amount of work that needs to be done. The owner has been to my house and understands the work involved. As I have said my home theater was installed when my room was just frame and all the wiring is behind the walls. 
I have checked the price on everything except the HDMI cable which I need to check as it seems expensive. Everything that I have checked is list price. I could do better I guess if I bought everything on Ebay or if I looked on Craig's list but thats not what I want to do. 
I get a lot of criticism for choosing Sony and I pretty much know that people just have an attitude without hearing it. I was pretty much shocked when I found out that this business was selling Sony. As I have said they are extremely high end and have always sold Anthem. I have read all the reviews that I can find and they are almost all positive. I read the 
Stereophile review which was a bit negative but it was written I think in 2014 or 2015 and so its not reviewing the current model. If you read customer reviews, most people are happy. I have heard Anthem which is great and I have heard Sony which was great. If my dealer who I trust says I will be better off with Sony, I will take his advice. It's not as though he is making more money on Sony. He could easily suggest the 1120 Anthem which I would have bought but he strongly suggested Sony and not even the top model. I decide to spend the extra $500 for the top of the line even though he said I don't need it with the 75F speakers.
Before I make my final decision though on the Sony I will have him play me again the 720 Anthem and have him explain exactly why the Sony would be better. I think though that I would be looking at the 1120 as the 720 only has 7 amps and I would need to buy additional amps to cover 5.1.4 and my bedroom. 
I will definitely ask for 15% discount on equipment when I am done deciding on what I want to buy.
Yesterday I pretty much decided I want to add a Bluesound music streamer and I have to decide which model. 
I think I have explained that its as though I can make an offer and if does not accept then walk away. This business is the best by far in my area. My alternatives would be Magnolia, or to buy from a home theater installer. As I have said, he is not jacking up the prices on the equipment. They are list prices that are the same everywhere and I totally trust that they will do an excellent job with the install. I will ask for a package deal that would include a service agreement, I will ask for 15% off of the equipment but I won't be going elsewhere. The owner has been to my house, I have been to the store numerous times, asking questions taking up their time, and having them audition the equipment. 
It's hard to answer every comment so I have tried to be comprehensive in my comments.
I like the idea of asking 15% and having him counter. I will ask for service agreement. I won't walk away if I don't get the 15%. I do believe that this business is completely honest and ethical and they are not out to get my last dollar. I do trust their opinions on which brands to buy but I make my own decisions. For instance my dealer downsells me. He suggested a lower level Paradigm floor speaker and center speaker but I decide to go with the higher priced 75F and the 55C. He suggested the mid priced Sony and I wanted the more expensive 9 channel. If after hearing the Anthem again, if I feel that it is a better buy than Sony I will choose it

galleybob OP Said:

I get a lot of criticism for choosing Sony and I pretty much know that people just have an attitude without hearing it. I was pretty much shocked when I found out that this business was selling Sony. As I have said they are extremely high end and have always sold Anthem.
Or it could be the dealer has a higher profit margin in the Sony. It’s very possible.
By all means I would listen to both HT receivers again. Call the dealer and ask him if he has the Blu-Ray movie, first release, "John Wick". The sound track is recorded in, "English Dolby TrueHD Atmos Mix". If not you should buy a copy and take it with you.


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The $125.00 an hour for qualified audio technician or electrician is what I would expect to pay for one person where I live. The helper should be 1/2 of that in my area.  The rate of $250.00 and hour for two men, could be a competitive rate in a major NE metropolitan city?
It’s been a while since I messed with home theatre in a serious way, but the last big one had lots of complications in terms of pulling cable, getting it all working- lots of gear racked up on big custom made Mid Atlantic racks- my electrician at the time came to install power outlets for the projector,  and a 240 volt line to feed a separate power system for the thing, but the install team worked very hard, long days, and I’m glad I was capped out at a flat rate for the whole package. The end product was great- but it took time. So, I didn’t really quibble about the line items of equipment cost- some of it was stuff I already owned that was refurbished- (I was insane enough to be running 3 ARC tube amps for the midrange at the time) plus woofers, plus all kinds of other stuff that, today, would probably be built in -native rate scaler/video switcher- etc.
It was not an easy install. The room was not to the studs, it was a finished room that required a lot of hole punching to pull cable.
The finished system was great- the owner of the company drove up from the city to see it and make sure I was satisfied. And apart from a few changes I made myself over time- eventually disconnecting the tube amps in favor of solid state --it just got too hot-- I don’t remember haven’t any issue with that set up, which was done in around 2005? and ran until I moved in around 2017. (I had upgraded the projector and a few other things over time which required follow up visits but nothing drastic).
The biggest issue to me was making sure it was done right, done well, and was reliable, and that there was support. That’s worth the little extra the guy might make by not discounting the equipment. Have you seen any of his other installs? And apart from the equipment warranties, what ’warranty’ do you get if things go awry and you need a visit to readjust, tweak settings or deal with some problem?
I’m sure modern home theatre can be less complex now (I use a small system that I basically installed myself- no more projection and huge theatre like experience). But, the key to me is getting it done cleanly and having the support if something goes down.

If the dealer is making a larger profit on Sony then why would one salesman and both of the two co-owners suggested the 7amp version rather than the 9 amp version which is $500 more. I really think people don't get that this is is not an operation like Magnolia. https://www.musicloversaudio.com
They are not trying to suck every dollar from me, it's the opposite.
Yes, I agree about having it done right. This business will do it right, I have no doubt.
Like I have said this isn't a simple installation as every wire including the sub is hidden in the walls as the room was just a frame when my 5.1 system was installed. All the electronics are in a closet so it will be a lot of work to do the wiring.
The owner loves the John Wick movie and he demoed the Atmos with the DVD. Was great with my speakers and the 7 amp Sony receiver with the 45C center so I know it will sound even better with the more powerful receiver and the 55C center
I did think about separates it does make some sense but I think good separates would be a lot more money than $2200 for the receiver. Years ago, about 40 years ago I was very interested in equipment and had a lot of different amps and preamps. I would most of the electronics used and they were easy to sell so I was always buying and selling. I think I had a Threshold Amp, Adcom, Nad, McCormick and so many different preamps. Bryston, I forget the others but they were all good. I think I bought and sold most of them on Audiogon. I bought my speakers back then at Music Lovers. So I know about separates and I don't want to go down that road again but it is an interesting idea

galleybob said:
3-24-2019
8:35pm
Like I have said this isn’t a simple installation as every wire including the sub is hidden in the walls as the room was just a frame when my 5.1 system was installed. All the electronics are in a closet so it will be a lot of work to do the wiring.

galleybob said:
3-23-2019
1:45am
The labor estimate is $3000. I think it will go up though. When the installers come they will go under the house to see the feasibility of installing wired surround sound speakers. The owner thought it would be labor intensive and suggested the wireless surround. I have to see the difference in price because with the wireless I need the wireless transmitter plus the Parasound amp. I would prefer the surrounds to be wired so I am hoping it will be not to hard to install the wires through the back of the house.


galleybob said
3-23-2019
1:45pm
It’s a complete redo of my home theater and will require extensive installation as my home theater room was done when we renovated and the room was frame. All the wiring is hidden behind the walls and all the equipment is in the closet. A lot of holes will be drilled and crawling under the house and going into the attic to do the work. Am I out of line to expect a solid discount on the equipment?
Thanks,
Bob

A lot of holes will be drilled and crawling under the house and going into the attic to do the work.

All hot and dirty time consuming work!
(One man will be working on the clean main level of the house, while the helper will be working in the crawl space and attic.)

Two men a day and a half.... I hope the dealer guesstimated enough time for the project.

Questions.
How will the cabling through the crawl space be supported?
How will the penetrations drilled though the floor for the cabling ran from the crawl space be sealed?
If any holes are cut in walls who is responsible for patching and painting?

Is the $3000.00 figure for labor a hard price or is it just a guesstimate? Are you paying $250.00 per hour (two men) even if the cost, (hours worked), goes above the estimated $3000.00 price? In other words say the job takes longer than a day and a half, (two men 12 hours each), are you responsible for the cost of the additional labor hours worked?

IF, the $3000.00 is a hard price, you might want to rethink your approach of asking the Dealer for a discount on the equipment, cables, and speaker stands. You might just ask him if he has any wiggle room to give you a break on those items.

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No I don’t think think $3000 is fixed, it has to be guesstimate until they actually go under house and into attic. Also I keep adding what I want done. I am going to add Bluesound Node 2i and also I want my 55” tv mounted in bedroom and bedroom tv mounted in my son’s room. 
They will patch and paint
i don’t know anything about support for cabling and sealing. My assumption is that they will do what needs to be done
We have discussed having them see what the labor will be to wire the back speakers. If the labor is close to the cost of adding $350 amp and$250 transmitter for wireless I would prefer paying for wired. 
The owner came to my house and saw the work that needs to be done but he did not go under the house or go to the attic. 
As I have said all the work had been done when the room was frame so it may not be as straight forward as he thinks. 
If the installers find that the installation is complicated and the price of the install goes up a lot I may not want to go ahead. The problem is he won’t send anyone out until I sign contract and pay half. Is there any way of protecting my self from a big increase in labor that I may not want to pay.  Would it make any sense to pay him $250 before signing contract to have workers come and give me a true estimate. If I agree I would think I could apply the $250 to the labor. If I doesn’t  agree he would keep the money.

No I don’t think think $3000 is fixed, it has to be guesstimate until they actually go under house and into attic. Also I keep adding what I want done. I am going to add Bluesound Node 2i and also I want my 55” tv mounted in bedroom and bedroom tv mounted in my son’s room.
They will patch and paint
Without a hard labor cost I would recommend a cost plus not to exceed price. That allows the Dealer some room for sight unseen, unknown, problems his men may run into. It also means if everything goes better than estimated you are only charged for the actual time the men were there.

The owner came to my house and saw the work that needs to be done but he did not go under the house or go to the attic.
No way he was able to give you a labor dollar cost. He just shot you a by the hour cost of $250.00, (2 men), per hour rate. What ever it takes to the job that’s the price you pay. How well do you trust the Dealer?


As I have said all the work had been done when the room was frame so it may not be as straight forward as he thinks.
He thinks? Unless he spent some time investigating the existing cabling rough-in he doesn’t have a clue how it is done. Did he pull any cable jack, or cable pass through, wall plates to see if the cables were just pulled raw cable through bored holes in the wall studs? Or was conduit installed or smurf tube (ENT) and the cabling was pulled in that? Size of conduit/s?

How deep is the crawl space under the house? 12"? 18"? 2ft? 3ft? ???
How much space is there for a man to move around in the attic. Any duct work in the attic? How deep is the blown insulation?

If the installers find that the installation is complicated and the price of the install goes up a lot I may not want to go ahead. The problem is he won’t send anyone out until I sign contract and pay half.
The Dealer has given you a quote for the equipment, 65" TV, speaker stands, and cables. Agree? He should also be able to give you a price for installing the equipment, hooking it up, calibration, and showing you how to operate everything. Same for installing the 65" TV. Same for the relocation and installing the existing TV.
You and the Dealer should be able to agree with the dollar amount for all of the above. Agree? If he wants half up front just say you do not have a problem with that providing the audio/video equipment is delivered to your home and not held at his store. That’s fair isn’t it?

As for the hard part installing the concealed cabling. It sounds like, he thinks, you are agreeing to pay him $250.00 (2 men) by the hour for the labor cost to do the job. No cap $$$$. You are just paying the dealer by the hour. If you sign the contract you best understand what you are agreeing to. To be honest it’s not unusual to pay by the hour for installing cabling with your type of situation. The dealer doesn’t have any idea what his men are going to run into. Do you trust the Dealer?

The problem is he won’t send anyone out until I sign contract and pay half.
I wouldn’t sign anything until you understand exactly what you agreeing to.

Maybe the Dealer charges a fee, hourly rate, for estimating labor to do a job such as yours.
If that is the case does he need to send two men to do that. But maybe he does. I find it hard to believe he doesn’t have a job install estimator. Apparently people trust him enough to pay him for his services by the hour. $250.00 per hour....... That’s a decision you will have to make.

Would it make any sense to pay him $250 before signing contract to have workers come and give me a true estimate. If I agree I would think I could apply the $250 to the labor. If I doesn’t agree he would keep the money.
That’s up to you.... It’s your money. Just a guess it could take 2 or 3 hours. Depends if the guy the dealer sends out knows how to estimate the man hour labor for a job. And there is a very good chance the time clock starts running when the truck leaves the dealers install shop.

i don’t know anything about support for cabling and sealing. My assumption is that they will do what needs to be done
Rule #1, never assume anything.

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I’ll add that despite the fact I haven’t done any major home theatre stuff in a while, I’ve had work done recently, including ethernet stringing, wall punching and routing, by an A/V contractor here in Austin, based on a flat rate. He went into the crawl spaces, did his due diligence and the quotes were reasonable. I’d definitely use this contractor again.
Ditto on major electrical work- though that may be different. When I had the sub system set up for the hi-fi in my new/old house in Austin, flat rate quote for the equipment and install, including parts and cabling. That was a serious job, including pouring a slab for the transformer, lots of cable pulling-- they did the hole punching, it was up to me to bring in someone to patch sheetrock and paint.
No issues over price, because it was all laid out up front. If there are variables, those should be identified up front.
He did have $3000 on proposal for labor. We agreed that if the back surround can be reasonably done by going under the house we will so the labor would go up. Other than that looks like $3000 is the quote which I find very reasonable for the amount and difficulty of the job. This business is known to be as high quality as you can go. I have no doubt that the job will be perfect. 
The owner keeps trying to save me money. He suggested today that instead of going ahead with buy two Paradigm speakers for close to $800 plus the labor why not just see how it sounds with my 2 front ceiling speakers. He said if I don’t like, I can always have the speakers installed. I think I will just go ahead and have the speakers installed 
My view is that if a dealer is providing the level of service and demo opportunities that this one is giving you then that dealer deserves compensation for that service. Paying list price is that compensation. I know you intend to buy from him whatever, and all credit to you for that. I find it very discourteous when people demo at a dealer and take advice from a dealer and then go and buy the goods at the cheapest price online. And then these same people express disappointment that there are few high street audio dealers left.
Exactly, thirty years ago when I was interested in 2 channel separates I had a lot of different business's to buy from. I did buy and sell a lot of used equipment but I also bought from the stores. Now where I live the store I go to is the only high end one left. If I didn't know about them I would be shopping at Magnolia's 

I am a dealer.  My advice to all of you potential customers is to start off with a budget in mind.

You enter the Dealer's store, You greet each other and then you tell him/her I want a new home theater and my budget is X for everything installed and it must be completed by this date.

Your dealer should be able to demo the system and at that point it is either a good value to you or not. If not let them know.

The Dealer spends money on the gear you are listening to, heating and cooling, electricity to run the place, advertising so you know they are there. Insurance, better business bureau, chamber of commerce etc.  


I would always ask for a discount and there is no substitute for comparison shopping. In NY we always say, "don't ask, don't get". A reasonable rule of thumb is that a dealer pays somewhere in the area of 60% of retail price. Ask!!!!
I don’t have a budget. I’m designing my home theater to be the best that I can afford without going crazy. That means spending a lot on high quality speakers, buying a good receiver, buying a good streamer, a great 4K tv and paying for a complicated installation which includes being able to stream audio around the house and connecting my bedroom to home theater system. 
I will after I see the final proposal ask for a reasonable discount on the gear I buy.