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New Idaho integrator builds thriving business serving home builders and homebuyers

by Matt Brown
New Idaho integrator builds thriving business serving home builders and homebuyers

When Frankwin Hooglander began experimenting with smart home products in his own home back in 2018, starting a smart home installation business was the furthest thing from his mind. Fast forward just three years later, and Hooglander’s two-year-old company, Treasure Valley Solutions, is now the go-to provider of smart home systems for home builders in southwest Idaho, one of the hottest new home markets in the country.

It all started with a simple home improvement project. Intrigued by the growing wave of affordable smart products hitting the market, Hooglander, a full-time software developer by trade, started piecing together his own smart home solutions using off-the-shelf products from Google, Nest, Amazon, Ring, SmartThings, and Philips Hue. That’s when his family and friends took notice. 

“People liked what I was doing and started asking me to install smart home devices in their homes, so I started offering my services on the side while I kept my day job,” says Hooglander. As he got more serious about his new side gig, he also recognized a huge untapped market he could start serving—single family home builders—and it didn’t take long to attract his first client, Maddyn Homes. Ironically, it was what they introduced and proposed to Hooglander that ultimately led to the rise of his thriving 5-person company.

Earlier that year, Maddyn Homes, a self-described “eco-luxury” builder, had attended the big Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the world’s largest annual showcase of all the latest and greatest tech innovation, and an discovered a promising new smart home product called Brilliant, a touchscreen-based smart home control panel that installed wherever a light switch was located. It appeared to Maddyn Homes that this was the missing link that might dramatically lower the cost of providing a fully-integrated smart home with a built-in control system. 

“They were getting ready for their first Parade of Homes display and knew that I was a member of the Building Contractors’ Association, so they asked me to install a few Brilliant devices in their Parade home, '' recalled Hooglander. “That’s literally how my business got started.” 

For Hooglander, this Brilliant discovery by Maddyn was a revelation. “It was a great product and the product I’d been looking for,” says Hooglander. “We were very much focused on the affordable version of smart home and it’s a very affordable product, so that was the biggest attraction to me. The second part was the amount of products that it already integrated with...Philips Hue, Ring doorbell, and all of the products we were already looking to incorporate. I said to myself, this is a really cool product that’s going to make it easy for us to integrate all the products we were already planning on working with.”

After a successful showing and lots of positive feedback at the Parade of Homes, Maddyn contracted Hooglander to start installing Brilliant as the cornerstone of their new standard smart home package, consisting of two Brilliant controls (typically one in the living room and  one in the master bedroom), a Ring doorbell, an ecobee thermostat or two, and a Ring floodlight camera on the back patio. He then offered upgrade packages to buyers that included a Sonos sound system, smart locks, and additional Brilliant Controls and smart lighting options. “Maddyn customers really like the Brilliant product, the ease of use, the way it looks, and the way it fits into the style of the Maddyn Homes,” said Hooglander. “They also like the integration of the various products they picked out, like the doorbell and the thermostats.”

The next builder Hooglander engaged with was the second largest builder in the state, Hubble Homes, a perennial top 100 home builder that builds around a thousand homes per year. “I figured go big or go home, so I approached them to say, ‘look, we have this very affordable new smart home system and it would be a great addition to your entry level homes,’ ” recalled Hooglander. After a courting period that included an extensive in-home trial by key members of the Hubble team, he successfully landed the business and currently installs a standard smart home package that includes one Brilliant Control, a Honeywell thermostat, a Samsung mesh Wi-Fi router and Zigbee / Z-wave hub, and a Brilliant Smart Plug in every home built by Hubble. 

Hooglander doesn’t just install and set smart home products for his builder clients, however. He goes the extra mile to make sure they get the most from their investment. “We train the showroom staff on how to offer additional smart home options to home buyers,” says Hooglander. “We also have a Smart Home display wall in the Hubble Homes showroom so visitors can browse and pick up other devices, like additional cameras, a security system, or smart locks. Once home buyers get settled in their homes, we get a lot of requests for additional smart home products too.”

Today, Treasure Valley Solutions services a growing list of home builder clients that currently includes six builders ranging from production builders to high-end custom and luxury builders. In addition to managing numerous smart home installations each and every day, Hooglandeer spends his time educating the builder community about the benefits of offering a Brilliant-powered smart home experience and helping his clients showcase their model homes and educate target buyers in the most compelling ways possible. He also recently helped one of his newer builder clients, Cotner Construction, win a Parade of Homes award for their Brilliant-powered smart home featuring six Brilliant Control Panels.

“The builders we work with love the Brilliant and report that their customers are happy and appreciate the value it adds to their home,” says Hooglander. “Support from Brilliant has also been awesome. It's been great working with everyone on their team. Brilliant is at the core of our business, so it’s very important to have a relationship with the company.”

While the journey has just begun for Treasure Valley Solutions, their impact on the surrounding community is already paying big dividends to the innovative builders they work with and bringing joy and convenience to thousands of new Brilliant smart home owners and families.

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