How NSCA’s Labor Installation Standard Can Stop Project Profit Bleeding

Labor Installation Standard is a resource from NSCA that helps secure profits by applying value to intangible services on AV projects.

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NSCA executive director Chuck Wilson explains why the Labor Installation Standard standard was very much needed by NSCA members and AV integrators.

If you’ve ever felt as though your company isn’t compensated for 100 percent of the work you’ve done on a project and, as a result, saw diminishing profits, you’ve got to read NSCA’s Labor Installation Standard.

The idea behind the research piece by NSCA, available here, is that it provides integration firms with quantifiable values to charge for many of the project tasks that might not be obvious to the customer.

It’s a tool to assist with job costing and to aid sales personnel in correctly estimating and closing projects, as NSCA’s Industry Research center describes it. The report contains average labor hours required to complete a vast array of tasks for multiple low-voltage systems.

It’s not about squeezing the customer for every penny. Rather, it’s about integrators running a tight business and being paid accordingly for all the labor that contributes to a successful project.

NSCA’s Labor Installation Standard includes detailed costs for tasks related to the following solutions:
  • Access Control
  • Audio Sound Reinforcement
  • Cabling
  • CATV/MATV
  • CCTV
  • Clocks
  • Digital Signage
  • Equipment Racks/Cabinets/Wall Plates
  • Fiber Optics
  • Fire Alarm
  • Industrial/Commercial Sound
  • Networking
  • Nurse Call
  • Security and Alarm Systems
  • Telephony
  • Video Presentation
  • Video Conferencing & Unified Communications

Labor Installation Standard: Less Than Obvious Costs

NSCA executive director Chuck Wilson says he’s often asked for advice on how to charge for labor that happens beyond the job site. “It’s an interesting question that’s coming up more and more,” he says in an NSCA’s Industry Insights video.

“It isn’t like you can just eat that project management time and not expect to be paid for that,” says NSCA’s Chuck Wilson.

The customers, understandably, look at what’s happening in front of them on the job site. “We might have a 200-hour project, but we’re only on the job site for a certain amount of time.”

As all integrators know, however, all lot of project-related work doesn’t necessarily get done on the job site. NSCA’s Labor Installation Standard aims to help integration firms allocate that time and better communicate to customers the value and cost of these tasks.

“It provides you with information that you can give to people on average amount of time that is spent doing CAD work or documentation or shop drawings. Even if you’re doing a lot of staging, putting the equipment together, taking it apart and bringing it to the job site rack assembly — all that kind of stuff,” Wilson explains in the video.

He adds that project management is another sometimes intangible service that integration firms should have no problem billing. “It isn’t like you can just eat that project management time and not expect to be paid for that,” he says. “You can actually calculate the project management time number of hours and show them that based on these studies.”

Download NSCA’s Labor Installation Standard here.