Common Questions

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Who is ProAutomated and what do you do?

ProAutomated is the largest, independent automation and controls on-site startup and commissioning provider in the country with 82 On-Site Engineers located nationwide. We provide on-site startup and troubleshooting services to the materials handling, life sciences, food and beverage, entertainment, medical, lighting, and retail industries. We have completed over 15,000 automation and controls projects since 2007 by building value through on-site service.

How do System Integrators and Manufacturers use ProAutomated?

System Integrators use ProAutomated for on-site startup, commissioning, testing, and implementation of projects. Our typical tasks include I/O checkouts, loop checks, installation verification, electrical, hardware, and wiring troubleshooting, PLC debugging, field documentation, user acceptance testing, validation, and production support. We are road warriors traveling 100% of the time to project sites to do on-site services. Please see our case studies on our Company Resources page. Also, click here to see how ProAutomated partners with System Integrators.

What industries are you in and what are your core skill sets in those industries?

ProAutomated has On-Site Engineers trained in the following industries:

For a detailed list of our core skill sets in each industry, click on the industry above.

What are your rates and response times?

Our rate for an on-site engineer is $85-$100 per hour, billed in full-day increments of $850-$1000 per day for a 10-hour day. Most of our customers schedule us 2 to 4 weeks in advance, though we can typically respond to requests within 1 week.

Where are you located?

We are local anywhere. Most of our team of 82 On-Site Engineers are based out of major metropolitan hubs. We have engineers based within a two-hour drive of 80% of the US population and we are in 16 of the largest 20 cities in the US. Our engineers traveled over 4 million miles in 2018! Click here to download a map of our current On-Site Engineer locations.

Do you use independent contractors and outsourced labor?

No. All of our On-Site Engineers are full-time employees of ProAutomated. We are not a workforce platform and we do not outsource labor. Our company is built on the reputation, quality, and consistency of our On-Site Engineers.

Do you provide your own training, equipment, and required certifications?

We cover it all -- training, equipment, and any certifications required for us to execute on-site projects. Our policy is if you are not able to invoice your customer for our work, then we should not be invoicing you.

What is an On-Site Engineer and how is it different than a Controls Engineer?

Simply put, the highest value of a Controls Engineer is to design and program control systems. The highest value of an On-Site Engineer is to startup and test those control systems on-site. Usually, the skills making someone a good Controls Engineer or a good On-Site Engineer are inherently in conflict with one another. Neither is better than the other -- rather they are two sides of the same coin. One excels in an office environment programming and designing, the other excels in a project environment implementing and executing.

On-Site Engineers are electromechanical tinkerers. They enjoy the challenge of making things work together on a project site. They are programming dangerous and able to debug code on-site. They love to travel and interact with others on projects. They have extensive training in customer service, project management, documentation, and safety. Click here for the profiled of a ProAutomated On-Site Engineer.

Do you have a list of references who have worked with you in my industry?

Yes. Send an email to partnership@proautomated.com with your industry listed and we will send you a list of references relevant to you.

Where would I even begin to start to organize and setup my business to partner with ProAutomated?

Initially, partnering with ProAutomated can feel like a mountain too high to climb. Through the process of on-boarding our customers, we have developed a Partnership Process to answer the unknowns and document the steps typically required to partner with us. Click here to learn about our partnership process and some of the questions we'll ask to get started.

Partnering with ProAutomated requires a commitment to communication and transparency. We are not a fit for everyone. For most of our customers, the time commitment to on-board ProAutomated takes two one-hour phone calls and a two-hour in-person meeting with our respective operational teams.

How do I know once we start to work together you will not try to steal my customers?

We do not have the ability to work directly with end users. We do not have engineers on our team who can design and program controls systems. Our entire business model is partnering with system integrators and manufacturers to implement on-site project work. In addition to this, we have solid service agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and non-solicit agreements with all our partners.

What are typical problems you solve?

We typically work with system integrators and manufacturers who, prior to working with us, were:

  1. Struggling to find Controls Engineers which is resulting in resource capacity issues for current and future projects.

  2. Worried about the amount their Controls Engineers travel which results in employee burnout, turnover, and lost productivity.

  3. Tired of their rigid workforce which never seems to be large enough during busy times and costs too much in overhead during slow times.

What are some of the benefits of partnering with ProAutomated your customers are telling you about?

Increased Profits

Everyone claims this, right? So here is how it actually works. You profit twice when you use an On-Site ProAutomated Engineer instead of one of your Controls Engineers. First, you markup our rates when you bill us to your customer at your engineering rate. This is typically between a $35 - $50 / hour markup. Then you use your, now available, Controls Engineer on other projects, at your standard profit. On average, our customers make between $70 - $100 / hour every time they use a ProAutomated On-Site Engineer.

Controls Engineer Recruiting and Retention

Simply put, Controls Engineers travel less when you use ProAutomated. You’ll be able to have the same job description with the same pay as your competitors, with at least a 25% reduction in travel time required. It is a competitive market out there. How many Controls Engineers do you know who wouldn’t like a little less travel?

Increased project capacity

When you partner with ProAutomated, You will immediately have the ability to take on more projects, to scale quickly, and you will not have to hire additional Controls Engineers to do so. You can increase your current capacity for projects – immediately – by 25% without adding a single person to your headcount. No extra overhead. No additional recruiting, hiring, training and management costs.

Smoothed Labor Curve

Workforce leveling is good for you during both slow and growth times. In slow times, there is no need to layoff highly trained and skilled Controls Engineers. During growth times, you can scale quickly to take as many opportunities as are available to you. With ProAutomated, you only pay for the hours you use, so your utilization with us is always 100%.

Increased productivity

When you partner with ProAutomated, your Controls Engineers can focus on their highest value work – programming and designing control systems. This level of focus -- and less time on the road -- leads to higher productivity and higher utilization for your engineers

These benefits give our customers a unique competitive advantage in today’s highly competitive market for both Controls Engineers and Industrial Automation projects.

What are some of the challenges we might face as we partner with you?

Setup

You may have not used a third-party service company before and not know where to even start. And once you start, it might briefly feel like it is getting worse instead of getting better. All of this is normal. We have done this with dozens of integrators and manufacturers. It can be difficult to figure out what you need to do to utilize ProAutomated. Which is why we created the ProAutomated Partnership Process as a resource for setting up our companies to work together. Typically, two, one-hour phone calls with both of our operational teams and a half-day in-person visit to your office will complete our setup process.

Change

Almost no one likes change and using ProAutomated will be a change. There could be resistance from your team telling you it can’t be done – that the work is too complicated or the communication too difficult. Once we go through the ProAutomated Partnership Process and document these steps, this fear of change usually goes way.

Training

All training required to get our ProAutomated team ready to complete work for your projects is on us. We send our engineers to your office and out into the field as necessary to get us ready. Depending on your industry, this typically takes no longer than three to five days of office training and no more than five days of on-the-job training to get us prepared to complete your project work.

First Project

Each company has a unique and specific way of doing things – for everything from your on-site documentation to your project escalation process. It is our job to figure out how you do things and follow it. Our first project will be the toughest as we figure out how to work together. For this reason, you will continue to be assigned the same On-Site Engineers for future projects in order to maximize our knowledge transfer and relationships.