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4 Amazing Stats about Central Vacuum

In new homes, central vacuum is the one of fastest-growing technologies (up 64%) and most profitable (50% margin). It's penetration rate is double lighting control and triple home automation.

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Central vacuum isn’t sexy, but neither is home security or structured wiring. Yet it remains the least-carried home technology product category by integrators. Here are three fascinating facts about the technology that might change your mind about CVAC.

Several of these topics will be central to the FREE CE Pro webinar on central vacuum entitled, “Overcoming CVAC Objections & Costs to Achieve a 40% Closing Ratio,” taking place April 23, 2014 at 2:00pm EST. A panel of integrators and security dealers will share how they approach, demo and successfully sell central vacuum to builders, along with their cost structure for quoting jobs and installing systems.

1. Central Vac Is Up 64% over 6 Years
According to the 11th Annual State of the Builder Market Study done jointly by the Consumer Electronics Association and the National Association of Home Builders, in 2012 (the latest year with data) 18 percent of all new homes included central vacuum. (See chart below.) That is a 64 percent increase since 2007, making it the second-fastest growing technology product category installed in new homes behind only home theater. But, the home theater growth is a bit misleading. The study defines a “home theater” as simply surround sound with a TV or projection screen over 42 inches. For many integrators, that is not necessarily “home theater.” So that leaves CVAC as truly the fastest growing category using that logic.

Central Vacuum
Source: CEA/NAHB State of the Builder Market Study

2. Central Vac Has Tripled the Penetration vs. Home Automation, Doubled vs. Lighting Control
Touchpanels, smartphone automation and energy-saving lighting are definitely buzzworthy, but it’s remarkable to see (see chart above) boring old central vacuum (18 percent of new homes) was installed in 3 times as many newly constructed homes in 2012 than home automation (6 percent), and twice as many new homes as lighting control (9 percent).

3. Central Vac Is the Most Profitable Product Category
According to the integrators on tomorrow’s webinar, multi-room audio and central vacuum are their two most profitable categories, routinely garnering them 50-point margin. The key is to set up a structure with the homebuilder so he is not trying to mark up the CVAC too much. In the days of searchable products online, a greedy markup can be a death knell. In the panel discussion, dealers will discuss their techniques for guiding builders to the sweet spot for builder markup (20 percent).

4. 85% of Integrators Do Not Install Central Vac
This might be the most amazing stat of them all. According to the most recent CE Pro Readership Study, only 15 percent of integrators installed CVAC last year. That means for the dealers who are installing these systems, they have less competition.

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Jason Knott
Jason Knott is editorial director of Security Sales & Integration.
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