View Full Version : Is the lowest quote ALWAYS a bad idea?
10-06-2006, 09:08 AM
I'm trying to do my homework here. As per my previous post, I am replacing a gas furnace and all ductwork in a 200 yr old, 1750 sq ft, 2 story house (no AC). I have lived here for almost 20 yrs, and have no experience with any project that is "heat" related. I have 3 quotes from local, long established contractors in my area. (yes, I pulled them out of the phonebook, and checked with the BBB. They were not referred to me by anyone I know). I know i cannot put $$$$ here. But lets put it this way. I got my first quote. The next was 50% higher (only difference being a 120k btu furnace vs 90k, both 2 stage), and maybe 2 extra supplies. The 3rd was 40% higher than first, and quoted a 75k single stage. Many on this board say you get what you pay for (true). On the other hand, if it is a single female, living alone, with a 200 yr old house, would any of you entertain the idea that the higher quotes may just be totally inflated?
10-06-2006, 09:15 AM
Low bid does not guarantee poor workmanship, any more than high bid ensures the best job.
Ignore the prices, and figure out a way to compare contractors.
Here's a good read. (http://www.hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?threadid=38790)
10-06-2006, 09:32 AM
It always possible that any quote can be inflated regardless of the gender of the HO.
It is also very possible the lowest bid is fair and reasonable although generally speaking not very likely.
It is not possible for anyone here to fairly evaluate the proposals without seeing the house and the actual bids.
I would be interested as to why the heating capacity of the bids is so different. I am not from a clod climate so really cannot comment on the units sizing.
The best way to evaluate the proposals is to look at them side by side and see how they stack up. I suspect that the biggest cost difference is in the ductwork. Ductwork is or can be very expensive when installed properly.
What kind of ductwork are they offering flex or metal? Flex duct is much less expensive to install than metal duct. Either type of ductwork will work very well if properly designed and installed. I much prefer metal ducts especially on a two-story home but it depends on the layout of the home.
Finally just because a company is well established and has a good record with the BBB doesn't mean that much. Around here the oldest largest companies do the worst work for the most money? Ask to talk to recent and past customers of each company, ask that the references have had the same scope of work done.
10-06-2006, 10:06 AM
Answer is not always.
Got a call this week from a potential customer I just gave a system quote to. He was questioning my bid with an air of excitment. I reviewed his bid with him over the phone and discovered why he was excited. Personally I got to feeling sick. In short I did myself no favors. He will now have the top lead installer currently working in the area, bldg his system. My lead man will shoot me as well when the time comes because the job is no walk in the park.
10-06-2006, 02:02 PM
You have to take a good hard look at the estimate. Does it include specific model # and brand names and what will be replaced?
Start asking a lot of questions when you see a big price difference from other quotes.
10-07-2006, 01:59 AM
Originally posted by classical
Finally just because a company is well established and has a good record with the BBB doesn't mean that much. Around here the oldest largest companies do the worst work for the most money?
LOL, and here I thought it was only the DFW area that was like that!
10-07-2006, 06:27 AM
And maybe 2 extra supplies ?
You can't compare quotes, unless you know for sure what each quote includes.
Have them all quote the same work, then compare.
10-07-2006, 11:14 PM
All replies have great points I have seen some very poor craftsmanship in thhe last months. Your system in your home should be equally as important as any number of things we purchase on a daily basis. As a homeowner I would have to evaluate the different brands of products that each contractor has to offer because you truly get what you pay for.
10-09-2006, 07:58 PM
I got a call from a guy that DID NOT go with me,he called me 2 weeks ago and said I found someone to do the job 2500 cheaper and I am going with him. He called because it has been 2 weeks and he left many messages and he cannot get a hold of him to put the job in.I think he priced it wrong and does not want the job.
10-09-2006, 08:59 PM
i lost a job over 1000, the homeowner went with the other company,he called me during the installation to ask how i was going to get the (same model and make) air handler in the attic.i told him to collaspe the air handler and reassemble it in the extremely hot attic.the money was the extra labor for 2 men for 1 day. he told everybody what happened and i got many referrals from him.i even got one of the competetors workers out of the deal.
10-09-2006, 11:31 PM
It appears that you aren't satisfied with any of the proposals. You should check a couple more contractors, until you feel confident in the company you are going to have install your system. Trying to buy a HVAC system is a lot different than buying a car. When you buy a car, you put all of the options in it and shop around for the best price. For you to compare pricing in a HVAC system, you would have to have all of the contractors bidding on a designed system. Since, residential systems are usually designed by the installing contractor, you will get a wide range of prices. No two contractors will design the system the same way. Duct sizing and equipment sizing all affect price. A load calculation should determine the proper size of equipment. Duct work should be sized per Manual 'D'. Your prososal should state that the equipment is sized according to Manual 'J' and the duct system was designed per manual 'D'. All joints should be sealed.
You have to trust the company that is going to do the work for you. Ask for references of jobs that are similar to yours. An undersized duct system is just as bad as oversided equipment. Room by room load calculations take time to perform. A good duct layout also takes time to design. Most contractors are not going to invest a lot of time on a job they may not get. "The Bitterness Of Poor Quality Remains Long After The Sweetness Of A Low Price".
Select a reputable contractor that you feel comfortable with. You are the desicion maker. Good Luck!
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