If you understood the costs of running an HVAC business, you would realize they are not really "making a killing on labor."
A legit company with $20/hr technicians billing $100/hr for repairs wouldn't be able to keep its doors open without the markup on the parts associated with those $100/hr repairs.
There is obviously a balance to be acheived. On one extreme, you can have a high powered, but incompetent "sell, sell, sell" crew....or you can be the best tech on the planet, work out of your house, and never make a dime.
Those who don't understand "business", are destined to fail at it.
As a side note, there really is less durability built into most consumer goods today. It is not an accident that folks will tell you that "they don't make 'em like they used to." It's because they don't.
On the other hand, getting something that is cutting edge is not always best. There is an old aviation expression that says, "never fly the "A" model of anything." It is because the "A." or the first model of any new aircraft is the one with the design flaws that get corrected and redesigned in the following models. The current 737 is several design generations better than the first round of 737 aircraft. Often, this is true with new and "better" design HVAC equipment. My theory is that we the consumer are being used to beta test new goods. For example, I am using Xp on this computer, but it is "service pack three."
This past week, I needed to get a new printer. My old C88+ had printed maybe thirty reams of paper over the last seven years. So, I ordered a new C88+ that will accept my bulk inking system, and I got it cheap under a loyalty program. Sometimes the newest and fanciest stuff is just not the best. The C88+ is the third generation of the C86 design, so like the 737, it is the one you want to fly.
Sometimes it is better to fix than sell, and that requires the knowledge and skill upon which the trade will survive. At least some of the companies are upfront about their business model, by putting "HVAC Sales" on their trucks.
Just don't expect any first round draft picks to be behind the wheel...
Sounds like the 787 "A series" and the first large scale LiPo batteries!