Nest Wants You To Be A Pro Dealer

By: Ari Erenthal, Published on Nov 18, 2016

Dropcam / Nest Cam has been an adversary of security integrators, with them selling direct online and focusing on DIY installations.

Now, they are trying to change that. With their recent Outdoor camera release (see IPVM test results) and following an extremely rough period, Nest is ramping up their dealer program, called Nest Pro.

We spoke with Nest about the details of this program (including discounts, advantages, potential recurring revenue) and share those details and our analysis inside this post.

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Vote - ****

Comments (25)

Nest products seem too residential-y and basic for mid to large integrators to bother with picking them up, but I could see where this might be a good fit in the trunkslammer end of the spectrum.

A lot of consumers are familiar with the brand, especially for the thermostats, being an "authorized Nest reseller" could lend an air of credibility to smaller outfits. IMO the biggest piece here is the thermostats. On any resi burg or camera (non-Nest cameras most likely) setup you can upsell the thermostats while either quoting or installing the cameras.

Well, the biggest differentiator with Nest is their Works With Nest program. The Nest Cam can do all sorts of weird stuff that your average Hikvision camera can't do, or at least not easily. If you're purely a security dealer, then, yes, Nest is probably unattractive. If you do a lot of 'smart home' jobs, however, you probably have no choice but to use Nest, making joining Nest Pro a better deal than paying retail.

EZVIZ is on IFTTT, too. And since it works with the Value/Value Plus line, that means a lot of camera options which don't have the Nest limitations (bullets, domes, cubes, indoor, outdoor, wireless, wired, 720p, 1080p, 4MP, etc.). Though obviously it adds the Chinese ownership issue, which may be a problem to users, though a lot of people aren't exactly thrilled with Google owning their camera, either.

Huh. I stand corrected, thanks.

I was as surprised as you when it happened.

15% discount no profit selling what a deal

I've been getting Nest Pro emails since I saw them at the show in 2015 and it's been a weird program. This isn't making it much less weird. You would think they would've thought up how to run a dealer program before actually creating one.

That being said there are a lot of Nest Pros listed in my area, with most being HVAC companies. From talking to one person I know, his company signed up as a Nest Pro to get the referrals when someone wants a thermostat installed. And then they try and work that into service calls, cleanings, and upgrades, etc. The thermostat is just the foot in the door. They will also sell the Nest Protect to replace existing smoke alarms, but don't want to get into cameras.

I expect that Nest Cam may end up working similarly for residential AV and alarm companies. I don't think we'll see mass sign ups from commercial security firms.

From talking to one person I know, his company signed up as a Nest Pro to get the referrals when someone wants a thermostat installed.

Ethan, how often did he say he gets referrals?

It didn't sound like it was very often. I didn't ask how frequently but I'd guess it's maybe 1-2 per month, tops.

Part of the issue I would guess is the way Nest runs the "Find a Pro" form. You put in your zip code and there is no rhyme or reason to how Pros are listed. It's not by distance, as closer companies are listed after further ones...It's not by rating, because the highest rated companies are lower down...It's not by products they cover, because that's not even listed.

So there's no real management of referrals, just users clicking the link and near-randomly selecting companies based on limited information.

Is the no-profit selling thing common in this industry?

I know MAP is but this goes a step beyond that?

MAP is not "no profit". Quite the opposite, it's designed to keep online / commodity resellers from undercutting dealers.

Yes, I understand.

I'm say MSP, not MAP, is no profit (or very little).

no I was being facetious, 15% discount on a product, not much room to make any money especially on call backs for warranty or end user questions

I've used the Nest thermostat at home since 2012. It still works great. Since then I've added lighting and door automation through my intrusion panel. Now I wish I could add it into my security/automation ecosystem.

Nest may need to team up with a security solution before it gains favor with integrators.

Norm, good point about teaming up with a security solution. Sources inside Nest say they have been working on a security / intrusion offering for some time. When / if that is released, it could significantly change their positioning.

Nest does work with a couple security solutions. (I happen to use Scout Alarm)

The integration mileage varies by solution, and admittedly all the integrations are primarily on the DIY/Smarthome side.

They do integrate their thermostats into ADT Pulse,Xfinity Home, & Vivint to name a few.

https://workswith.nest.com/products?categories=security

Good info, thank you for the link. I think I remember seeing that page a while back.

How is the Nest/Scout integration? Is it well developed?

I did a SkyBell/Honeywell connection and yes, it does technically work. But, when you hit the SkyBell button in the TotalConnect app it just opens the SkyBell app!

The Nest/Scout integration is primarily around setting Home/Away states with certain alarm modes. (i.e. Set nest to Away when Alarm mode Away is armed)

One neat thing is the ability to integrate the Nest Protect as a sensor. So if the Nest Protect activates it can act as an alarm trip.

You can also have cameras set to turn on or off in relation to a mode, i.e. turn interior cameras off when alarm is not armed.

I agree with posters commenting about how this doesn't fit the commercial space.

However, I think Nest has done a great job on the home camera solution. For a consumer/homeowner it has all of the functions you need and has nailed the user experience. I'm more interested in knowing when a person is at the door than every time a car drives by. I've been very impressed with their App and their cloud analytics.

With their iOS notification update yesterday they improved on an already great solution by adding preview clips to the lock screen in iOS.

Disclosure: I've got multiple Nest Cameras, thermostats, and smoke detectors.

I am a Nest Pro. The margins are terrible and we haven't received one lead in over a year from their website where we are listed. Nest works standalone and really doesn't need any integration. We do automation as well and integration of everything sounds great but just isnt practical in day to day usage. The Nest is a set it and forget it learning thermostat and it does that well so why do you need to be fooling with it all the time? If you need to make that rare adjustment just use the app which is excellent.

With that said the residential security market is moving towards the do it yourself market with Amazon Echo/Dot and Google home bringing a lot of these devices together fairly simply and effectively. You can do some really easy automation with all of the Nest and Iot devies.

Here is the problem: Flash forward 5 years from now every home will have dozens of these internet connected devices with dozens of vulnerabilities creating a very insecure world where NVR attacks will be the least of our worries.

Update: IPVM applied for, and was approved for, a Nest Pro account. We were automatically approved for an account without having to provide a tax ID, a business license, or anything else to prove that we were integrators or installers.

We applied to see what the application process was like, not because we are interested in getting into the installation business.

They didn't even ask if, "You have a car with a trunk?" ?

Nest is spending money this fall in the trade magazines trying to win dealers:

And SSI:

Good for the trades that they are getting advertising but Nest is a still a poor offering for the commercial dealer including their most recent release. See our Nest IQ test results.

I would not be interested in being a Nest Pro Dealer, there doesn't seem to be much of an incentive to do so. However, I've installed Nest Protects and Nest Thermostats for some of my residential customers. I provide the installation only, but they must purchase the product on their own. This way I am not on the hook should they have difficulties or technical questions. I make it clear that I am only providing installation and they must call Nest for any technical support issues. I do not stock replacements.

Unless there is a way to work out an RMR situation such as a maintenance agreement or sharing cloud service fees, it seems that becoming a Nest Pro Dealer is like installing local (not monitored) alarm systems.

I had one call back on a Nest Protect, one of two, that went off line with the customer's WiFi. The customer bought the Nest Protects at her local Best Buy and I installed them. I suggested she restart her modem, but she said her WiFi was working just fine and she did not know how to restart her modem. I asked her to log into the Nest website for troubleshooting tips and she complained that she was not that technically astute. I gave her the Nest Technical Support telephone number, she did not seem happy but grudgingly agreed to call them. It seemed she expected me to respond to her home to figure it out, free of charge, since the Nest Protect was installed within the past year. Now, I'm reevaluating my offer to install, or suggest, Nest Products, even though I think their products are very good.

Even though the Nest Protect was off line with her WiFi, it was still performing as a smoke/carbon monoxide detector. This was proven when she recently burned some food in her kitchen and the Nest Protect sounded the alarm.

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