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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    67
    (mods - this is not double posting)

    I've seen so far five estimators, who came basically to measure my home and send me written proposals. They were very limited in discussing options of equipment and designs with me. One tech had the nerve to tell me that he was on a limited time schedule and that I should hire an engineer to design a system by specs because he couldn’t help me. He just came to measure. If I asked about VS fan or R22 vs. R410A they saw it as a nuisance.

    From previous threads I learned that owners do a better job than an average tech. One owner in this forum even stated that he charges for his time. I would pay!

    My question: How do I get an owner to see me, rather than a "walking measuring tape" tech? My hunch is that a 30 plus employees outfit owner won't do it. Who would?

    I figure that a small/medium size business owner has an incentive to go on a sales call because he wouldn't pay the commission to a salesman. Don't get me wrong. I want the contractor to make money but I don't want a skimpy job made like a cookie cutter. My needs/concerns/priorities are different than those of another Joe Shmo. A car gets you from point A to B but people get different cars with different options. The same is true about HVAC.

    Please advise how to find the knowledgeable owners out there.
    If one of you guys do biz in Eastern Mass, you have a good shot. I realize that those who participate here are WAY above those whom I've seen so far. Perhaps I should ask the prospective contractors "Do you post at HVAC-Talk?" :-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    67
    PLEASE DON'T TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY but I have my own business and keep in contact with other business. We love when the homeowner knows what they want. BUT-the homeowner doesn't always know what they NEED. My BIGGEST concern is when a homeowner has been on the internet researching systems and he/she calls me.(homeowners must understand-most estimators are USUALLY the business owner in a small-medium business setting )Now that I have been called, the internet savvy homeowner now QUIZZES me about model numbers and bells and whistles in which aren't even available from my local distributor here. Most contractors are busy and shy away from customers who like to tell them how to do their job. True, cars have a lot of options. But the difference is this, the buyer is not standing there watching them build it and questioning every step of the way. What I have had happen in some situations is this, for example-AFTER doing a service call, the homeowner wants to know then how everything works. You kindly explain to them how it works and spend some extra TIME(the key word). 45 minutes later, you're collecting your money and are late for your next 4 appointments. TIME IS MONEY. If I think that a customer MAY cause me issues, I move on. Again, don't take this the wrong way, it's just how I see it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    67

    Krinst - you misunderstood

    Originally posted by krinst
    PLEASE DON'T TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY but I have my own business and keep in contact with other business. We love when the homeowner knows what they want. BUT-the homeowner doesn't always know what they NEED. My BIGGEST concern is when a homeowner has been on the internet researching systems and he/she calls me.(homeowners must understand-most estimators are USUALLY the business owner in a small-medium business setting )Now that I have been called, the internet savvy homeowner now QUIZZES me about model numbers and bells and whistles in which aren't even available from my local distributor here. Most contractors are busy and shy away from customers who like to tell them how to do their job. True, cars have a lot of options. But the difference is this, the buyer is not standing there watching them build it and questioning every step of the way. What I have had happen in some situations is this, for example-AFTER doing a service call, the homeowner wants to know then how everything works. You kindly explain to them how it works and spend some extra TIME(the key word). 45 minutes later, you're collecting your money and are late for your next 4 appointments. TIME IS MONEY. If I think that a customer MAY cause me issues, I move on. Again, don't take this the wrong way, it's just how I see it.
    I don't want to tell the pro what to do. I want to tell the pro what kind of benefits I want and let him design. Here are three examples:

    1.I told my estimators that I want year round air cleaning, so that the system would work on fan-only mode year round (cooling season is 3 months.) I told them I am concerned about cold drafts in the winter. (Heating is by steam radiators). They didn't address the issue. They never suggested VS. They never gave me options of air cleaner and never explained what they would do. When I mentioned VS some said "it makes sense."

    2. I asked one tech what he suggests - R22 or R410A?
    His answer was: "It's up to you to do your homework and decide."
    Believe it or not, one guy even didn't know squat about the refrigerating gases. He subs out the "refrigeration" part of the job. He's only the "ducting guy." And he's the owner of the business and learned AC "on the job". Would you believe this nonsense?

    3. I told a pro that it doesn’t make sense to have an 18 SEER equip in our area which has a 565 cooling hour season, and that I'd rather spend the money on other stuff such as individual bedroom returns instead of one central return (as everybody here suggested), and an air cleaner. He sent me a proposal for an 18 SEER sys without the other options!
    Do you get it now?

    [Edited by myez_ac on 04-27-2006 at 11:57 PM]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    7,405
    Originally posted by krinst
    PLEASE DON'T TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY but I have my own business and keep in contact with other business. We love when the homeowner knows what they want. BUT-the homeowner doesn't always know what they NEED. My BIGGEST concern is when a homeowner has been on the internet researching systems and he/she calls me.(homeowners must understand-most estimators are USUALLY the business owner in a small-medium business setting )Now that I have been called, the internet savvy homeowner now QUIZZES me about model numbers and bells and whistles in which aren't even available from my local distributor here. Most contractors are busy and shy away from customers who like to tell them how to do their job. True, cars have a lot of options. But the difference is this, the buyer is not standing there watching them build it and questioning every step of the way. What I have had happen in some situations is this, for example-AFTER doing a service call, the homeowner wants to know then how everything works. You kindly explain to them how it works and spend some extra TIME(the key word). 45 minutes later, you're collecting your money and are late for your next 4 appointments. TIME IS MONEY. If I think that a customer MAY cause me issues, I move on. Again, don't take this the wrong way, it's just how I see it.


    You got it all wrong! Taking care of that customer is the right thing to do. Ok, you spent an extra half hour to hour, big "F"ing deal. What's important is leaving that customer with them thinking "man, this guys is great, I'm gonna tell my friends and neighbors about him!". Trying to "avoid" these people is just plain bad business. With each and every customer, you need to be thinking about referrals. Scooting out quick because you might be late to an appointment is wrong. You take care of who is right in front of you first and foremost.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    783
    I would call different contractors if you are not happy with what they tell you.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    9,548
    But the difference is this, the buyer is not standing there watching them build it and questioning every step of the way. What I have had happen in some situations is this, for example-AFTER doing a service call, the homeowner wants to know then how everything works. You kindly explain to them how it works and spend some extra TIME(the key word). 45 minutes later, you're collecting your money and are late for your next 4 appointments. TIME IS MONEY. If I think that a customer MAY cause me issues, I move on. Again, don't take this the wrong way, it's just how I see it. [/B]

    1. Tell the HO you'll have to charge them for the time it takes you to explain stuff to them, as this is why you went to school, and you had to pay to learn.

    2. They can stand over you and ask all the questions they want, but each time they ask you put down your tool/s to answer them. And answer SLOWLY.


    Time is money, you're right.

    Flat rate is $20 for each question answered, $15 for repeats.
    If everything was always done "by the book"....the book would never change.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    67

    You're on the money, Seaton!

    Originally posted by seatonheating


    You got it all wrong! Taking care of that customer is the right thing to do. Ok, you spent an extra half hour to hour, big "F"ing deal. What's important is leaving that customer with them thinking "man, this guys is great, I'm gonna tell my friends and neighbors about him!". Trying to "avoid" these people is just plain bad business. With each and every customer, you need to be thinking about referrals. Scooting out quick because you might be late to an appointment is wrong. You take care of who is right in front of you first and foremost.
    See, the more you talk, the more I realize that you are a good "salesman". During my selling career , many times I've had back to back appointments. Often the first one takes longer than I thought for various reasons. When I'm in font of a prospect I'd give him everything I can offer, because right then and there they are my ONLY customer, and they deserve the best. The second appointment would be rescheduled and the prospect should be getting a call once you know you wouldn't make it. I would apologize to the prospect and explain exactly what happened. They would appreciate both the honesty and the ingerity. A prospect loves to hear that you don't cut corners. Not only you serve them better, but you serve yourself better. Giving your best without "winging" it, is IMHO the only way to go.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,599
    Qualify the contractors on the phone before you have them come out.

    If they don't or won't do Manual J, and D, they aren't the type of contractor your looking for.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    241
    1) I would not waste his time asking stupid questions that you can find answers anywhere on the internet.

    2) I would tell him:
    ManJ - if his company gets the contract they must provide you with copy of manJ before any work is done.

    Media Filter - or whatever

    R410A -

    13 SEER AC ( or If you are want HP ....)

    Master Bedroom must have own return.

    90+ Gas or.

    TXV

    Thermostat

    If you want Infinity, Mod aski him to price it
    Any other concerns.

    This way he or she will know exactly how to bid.
    Keep number of options to two or three max.

    2) Ask if He or She will be doing the install.

    3) Tell him your job expectations.
    You most likely don't want vents to be crooked,
    carpets covered with mud, old equipment left for
    dead on your property.

    They must gurantee that equipment will cool and
    heat house properly.

    3) 5 / 10 / etc year warntee


    Rule No 0.

    If you are not comfortable with the guy DO NOT HIRE HIM.
    If he is not wiling to listen at sales call he won't listen to you @ install.

    When I replaced my equipment, I kept sales appt to 30 min.

    One of the sales folks wasted 2 hours+, cause he wanted to explain to me everything, like PCS vs VS. I droped that I am EE, done lots of designes for different types of motors. Soo 5 minutes later he tries to explain to me AC vs DC.

    Somewhat remided me of Best Buy guy who tried to tell me that AC3 amps need yearly maint, cause circuits need cleaning and adjusting.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Kingston Ontario Canada
    Posts
    1,222
    Originally posted by krinst
    PLEASE DON'T TAKE THIS THE WRONG WAY but I have my own business and keep in contact with other business. We love when the homeowner knows what they want. BUT-the homeowner doesn't always know what they NEED. My BIGGEST concern is when a homeowner has been on the internet researching systems and he/she calls me.(homeowners must understand-most estimators are USUALLY the business owner in a small-medium business setting )Now that I have been called, the internet savvy homeowner now QUIZZES me about model numbers and bells and whistles in which aren't even available from my local distributor here. Most contractors are busy and shy away from customers who like to tell them how to do their job. True, cars have a lot of options. But the difference is this, the buyer is not standing there watching them build it and questioning every step of the way. What I have had happen in some situations is this, for example-AFTER doing a service call, the homeowner wants to know then how everything works. You kindly explain to them how it works and spend some extra TIME(the key word). 45 minutes later, you're collecting your money and are late for your next 4 appointments. TIME IS MONEY. If I think that a customer MAY cause me issues, I move on. Again, don't take this the wrong way, it's just how I see it.
    Please sir, don't get me wrong either. But your kind of thinking is what makes me furious about contractors. Being in business is "creating and keeping customers". If you can't take the time to work with a customer and answer his or her concerns then I wouldn't be dealing with you either. Myself or any other potential customer that has a bit of knowledge about the product or service they may be buying should be a good development for a good contractor, not a "move on". You sound like a pure salesman, nothing more and nothing less. I personally would not deal with you unless I felt comfortable with you and have answered all of my questions. I have changed the heating and cooling system in my own house as well as a couple of rental properties I own. In my area, there seems to be a lot of just salesmen that just "want the deal" and don't really care if the system suits ones needs or not or works at top efficiencey or not. When I was in the market to change my own system the salesman the installing company sent, didn't like me asking him a lot of questions either. He finally said to me "now let me ask you something" in a rather sarcastic manner. I could tell he didn't like it that I knew about the equipment I was interested in buying. Finally, I phoned the owner of the business and asked if their was anybody there that knew anything about heat pumps. The owner did, and he answered all my questions to my satisfaction and a deal was struck. Another company I tryed to deal with sent a saleman that knew absolutley nowthing about heat pumps. I will admit, that heat pumps are not a big seller in my envoirment. They are just coming back into vogue now. They were popular in late seventies and eighties, but fell out of favour because they were not being installed properly back then.

    Thorton

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Posts
    1,996
    If I were you, I'd get a hydronics guy in there who's a steam heat expert. Many do AC and probably have been asked the same questions you're looking for. You have steam humidifiers, hydronic heat coils, etc that could be added to the ductwork to use it year round. (But not your primary heat source).

    Checkout heatinghelp.com. Steam fanatics there will help you.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    tip of the mitt
    Posts
    1,986

    man o man

    I love a educated customer this makes my job so much easier. It rules out the hacks. It increases my chances of providing a premier system. The more questions they ask the more value building answers I can provide. I wish every customer was like this. Not only that when they have a idea in mind , I can cut right past the good better best bull$itt and present them with a customized solution.
    I have my own little world. But it's OK...they know me here.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Ft.Worth,Tx
    Posts
    4,584
    Originally posted by myez_ac
    (mods - this is not double posting)

    I've seen so far five estimators, who came basically to measure my home and send me written proposals. They were very limited in discussing options of equipment and designs with me. One tech had the nerve to tell me that he was on a limited time schedule and that I should hire an engineer to design a system by specs because he couldn’t help me. He just came to measure. If I asked about VS fan or R22 vs. R410A they saw it as a nuisance.

    From previous threads I learned that owners do a better job than an average tech. One owner in this forum even stated that he charges for his time. I would pay!

    My question: How do I get an owner to see me, rather than a "walking measuring tape" tech? My hunch is that a 30 plus employees outfit owner won't do it. Who would?

    I figure that a small/medium size business owner has an incentive to go on a sales call because he wouldn't pay the commission to a salesman. Don't get me wrong. I want the contractor to make money but I don't want a skimpy job made like a cookie cutter. My needs/concerns/priorities are different than those of another Joe Shmo. A car gets you from point A to B but people get different cars with different options. The same is true about HVAC.

    Please advise how to find the knowledgeable owners out there.
    If one of you guys do biz in Eastern Mass, you have a good shot. I realize that those who participate here are WAY above those whom I've seen so far. Perhaps I should ask the prospective contractors "Do you post at HVAC-Talk?" :-)
    Here is what I would suggest:
    Call and ask for estimator to come to your home , state that you want load done to insure the best fit, indoor air quality is concern and that you want options on R-22 and R410a systems.

    Carrier Infinity is just a step above most systems now on the market. I sold Trane for many years, but with the newer technology out there I would state Carrier for the ability to let the customer see what there system is actually doing at any given time.
    "Everyday above ground, is a good day".
    "But everyday that you have made a difference in someones life, may insure you stay above ground a little longer".<aircooled>

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