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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    1,815

    Hmm

    FIRST! Let me say that I love HVAC/R.

    Nothing is better than listening to a few old timers talking and really learning something new. I am not talking about at large failure of the individual tech as that has been beat into the ground we all know a lazy, incompetent tech that is not worth the powder it would take to do him in.

    What I would like to focus on is what makes our industry great and wild at the same time.
    We mainly are an industry of small-medium businesses we all have different opinions (I am sure someone will disagree with me on that) and that is what keeps us from forming a large alliance and becoming a behemoth like the car manufacturers.

    On the other hand I think a little manufacturer involvement is not a bad idea. For example: If we had one Train/Carrier commercial for every GMC/Ford commercial then our customers would be much more familiar with our products. Most people could not name five HVAC manufacturers but ten automobile manufacturers no problem!

    I said all of that to say this customers are not well informed about their systems in general the maintenance required, or who to contact if they need service. My father-in-law recently purchased a new Chevy pickup. It has several if not all of the available features one of them is a display on the instrument panel that alerts you when the engine oil requires a change not at 3000 miles. First let me say that I detest working on cars to say the least however being mechanically inclined I have done so but I never really made a special effort to learn a lot. It just did not seem right to me though that the oil in the truck only needs changed at the alert readout not at 3000 mi. I am sure the system is engineered with viscosity and temperature sensors etc. but it just did not seem right to me because of the manufacturer repeatedly advising me to change the oil every 3000 miles (even sending coupons). I even feel a little guilty when I go over sometimes but it probably is not necessary every 3000 miles. I think this is a common thing I know a lot of people who religiously change oil with less mechanical insight than me.

    Now how many times have you heard “This thing has filters what filters”? "Change them EVERY month"?
    As an industry we need to step up our customer education.
    What about an easy to use/read owners manual < 10 pages like cars have?
    Any ideas?


    [Edited by hvacbear on 12-22-2004 at 01:57 AM]
    Quote
    “Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own." Scott Adams

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
    Albert Einstein

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,214
    Where's "I've Got Ideas" when you need him.....

    Ok I think first of all you forgot to mention Goodman along side Carrier,Trane when obviously it is the best of that lot but not disputing brands.....

    The manual for A/C no matter how attractive you make it will not work IMHO. A car is different it is part of the personality of it's owner it can be a magnet for young scantily clad women, etc.... The a/c or furnace is just that except for engineer types most ho's do not care nor would they have clue if their system was working problem.

    Idea #1:

    Here is what would serve us a furnace/ahu with wireless capability hooked into the HO wireless network an airflow sensor by the filter when it picks up a predetermined reduction in airflow emails the HO 2 times a day every day until the homeowner changes the filter and pushes the filter reset button on the blower door. Diagnostic heating and airconditioning tests done using sensors. When a low refrigerant condition,incorrect superheat/subcool, combustion air problems,high carbon monoxide levels are determined an email is sent to the contractor ONLY. When contractor's computer system recieves the report it automatically generates an email to the customer reccommending service customer due to problem condition reports recieved. If customer does not respond or choose to have service call the system emails the customer with .wav files stating "system not operating properly possibility of serious damage to your equipment and possible safety issues in your home. Please call your contractor _________ at ###-####." First week message is ent everyday then once a week thereafter until the unit is serviced and a pin code known only by the installing contractor is entered on a keypad.

    Something along those lines especially the keypad pin system.

    IDEA#2 THE REAL DEAL HOW HVAC CONTRACTORS CAN CONTROL THE TRADE FROM THE MANUFACTURER TO THE HOMEOWNER:

    Imagine just charging the homeowner for the installation,
    providing the equipment "free"
    then charging the monthly rental/monitoring fee for the system forever.
    Then it if they dont pay be able to shut it off from a remote location
    The customer is only responsible for changing the filter which the system will instruct him to do when necessary. It is a win win situation the customer never worries about repairs .
    They pay xx amount of dollars a month and if something breaks we fix it because the equipment is ours we are just renting it to them with 5 year minimum contracts.

    Doing Hvac this way... If you ever wanted to walk away from the biz it would be easy to sell it to and for more $$$.
    You would have x amount of contracts at x amount a dollars per month.

    Contractors also would have a better grip on the nads of the mfr's as the customer would no longer dictate what brand they want cause it comes in a nice shade of green and basically mfr's would be at the contractors mercy....forget about customer direct sales,internet sales, etc...

    Not only that look at the numbers....
    2 ton changeout lets say your normal charge equipment plus labor=8 grand. So you charge 2 grand for the install and get that money now your monthly rental/monitoring/service fee is $135 dollars a month---- close to some peoples cable/satellite tv bill-- so easily sold as Don't you think heat in the winter and comfort in the summer for your family is worth the price of what you pay for the television shows they watch? Plus all maintenance breakdowns on the unit are our headaches and no extra cost to you Mr HO.
    Hell if you want to be really nice offer something like one free month if a service call is not responded to in 48 hours.
    The 5yr contract for $135 is $8100 so now you actually get the price of you wanted for your original install ( just over a 5 year payout) but you get an additional 2 g's upfront for the install(hidden finance charge/bad debt coverage). The kicker in this...5 years later you still own the equipment and can continue renting/monitoring until it looks like something on the Wall of Shame then you can go thru the process again with your customer.

    GETTING A MFR TO WORK WITH ME ON THIS IS THE HARD PART BECAUSE THEY REALLY DO NOT WANT THIS UNLESS THEY ARE GOING TO BE THE ONES THAT INSTALL,RENT, AND MONITOR THE UNITS. (GREEDY CORPORATE TYPES).

    But sending the industry in that direction would be good.
    Or I am lacking sleep and Nevada's becoming a bad influence on me BUT SERIOUSLY I THINK THIS HAS POTENTIAL. WHAT DO YOU THINK BEAR?
    thehumid1-------I live in NJ, a state where it's free to come in but you have to pay to leave!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Belton, Texas
    Posts
    107
    thehumid1,

    Have no idea about the laws other than Texas, and not positive about the laws here without a lawyer, but I -think- in Texas a contractor cannot remove anything attached to real property (talking about homes) for failure to pay. Things like carpet, electric wires, and hvac equipment would fall into that category. So the homeowner refuses to pay and you cannot remove your equipment. I would think you could be sued if you disabled the equipment and they froze to death or their property was otherwise damaged due to frozen pipes, etc.

    If you decided to charge a flat rate for all repairs on existing equipment the way the home warranty companies do, except a real program and not a scam, the government has you again in Texas. You have to be licensed as an insurance company and they are heavily regulated. That is something for the large corps to do.

    My personal opinion is that the fastest most sure cure for the ills of the industry (ie hacks) is not more licenses or certifications UNTIL the government decides it is going to enforce codes and push real install and service quality. The fee is already being paid to the government in the form of permits. I can't understand why they are not doing their job properly. Self regulation seems to be the only way since the government fails to fix the problem. Seems manufacturers need to be more proactive with a combination of public education and industry training. Perhaps a small fee paid for every piece of equipment could fund such an effort. $5 will not break the bank on each new piece and could result in some serious cash to help the issue. Just my 2 cents.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Ft.Worth,Tx
    Posts
    4,581

    Lightbulb Great Idea's

    I think the alarm idea that sends e-mails is great, but as stated you would get into too many legal issues with turning off systems. There are lease programs on commerical air conditioning equipment,this might be an answer. If you lease furniture,t.v. or appliances they can be repossed.
    The pin code idea I don't feel is bad but if the homeowner deciedes he does not want the installation company out anymore then the code is locked. That is bad. But the idea of monitoring hvac systems by contractor would really be great. Might even open a few jobs into our industry, you would need to be a licensed contractor in order to even get into the network.HACK's bye bye..Installers and the guy working out of storage buildings would go by the way side.

    Might want to bring this to Steve Wiggins he does alot of work with the state of Texas.
    "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>

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,214
    I am not even in Texas just putting some thoughts out there.

    But Texan 30 either I did not explain myself well enough or you did not understand, let me respond to what you said:

    1) In Texas a contractor cannot remove anything attached to real property (talking about homes) for failure to pay.

    But your not removing the equipment from the home what your are doing is at the push of a button at a computer shutting it down , rendering it inoperable, like when your phone gets shut off for non-payment. But granted there will be legal issues like an gas/electric company about what has to be done before you can shut off a heater in home when it is 3 degrees out and there is a single mother with 3 young children inside nor would you want the press involved with that. However, utility companies can shut off gas and electric in a home they are not required to provide this for free to a non-paying customer.Each state has different procedures on how it has to be done which would have to be followed. Yet most people are not NOT going to pay for their hot or cold air especially homeowners. To do this with rentals apartments then the risk of bad debt becomes higher.


    2)If you decided to charge a flat rate for all repairs on existing equipment the way the home warranty companies do, except a real program and not a scam, the government has you again in Texas. You have to be licensed as an insurance company and they are heavily regulated. That is something for the large corps to do.

    You need to think outside the traditional HVAC box for this.
    NO there is no flat rate for repairs nor are you insuring anything. There are no repairs being made for the customer, you are repairing your own equipment not theirs. It just happens to be your equipment is in their home. What your are selling is the service of climate control, you are providing hot air in the winter and cold air in the summer. Not selling them the equipment and maintaining it. You are no longer a install/repair service but a sort of commodity service provider the commodity being conditioned air for the home and that is what you are charging them for. Like Direct TV they charge to install the dish then charge you a monthly fee for the commodity of television programming in your home (most of it crap too).

    But wondering phone companies charge maintenace plans on in home wiring and in Texas then would be subject to be licensed as an insurance company as well in the state of Texas. Are they? Anyway no maintenance charge would be applicable here because the customer owns nothing to be maintained.

    Your idea is good: Perhaps a small fee paid for every piece of equipment could fund such an effort. $5 will not break the bank on each new piece and could result in some serious cash to help the issue. Just my 2 cents.

    Problem is chances are this fee would be wasted and squandered in administrative costs,etc, and never truly be appropiated for what you suggest.The people in charge of the fund would probably eventually become the crooks like most union officials are today just cutting scraps off our piece of pie to feed themselves.
    thehumid1-------I live in NJ, a state where it's free to come in but you have to pay to leave!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    1,214
    The disadvantages to what I am proposing are the liability incurred if your gas heating equipment providing the hot air for the home blows up and burns the house down and god forbid someone dies....well there is a tremendous liability there. So obviously someone would not want to do this as a sole proprietorship as the personal financial loss is too risky. You would have to be incorporated and insured for this scenario. Also a lawyer would have to be consulted to see what if any lianility there is if the computer system crashed and took all your heater s offline for a certain amount of time. Again it would be the same liability occurred when a gas main breaks or a transformer blows and customers are without gas or heat for a time.

    Personally I feel the occassions of this type of occurence would be less doing HVAC the way I suggested. You eliminate the HO DYI tinkering with his system to save himself $5 dollars at the expense of his families lives so units would always be serviced by professionals because it is their equipment.
    thehumid1-------I live in NJ, a state where it's free to come in but you have to pay to leave!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Colorado flatland native
    Posts
    15,067
    Originally posted by hvacbear
    FIRST! Let me say that I love HVAC/R.
    On the other hand I think a little manufacturer involvement is not a bad idea. For example: If we had one Train/Carrier commercial for every GMC/Ford commercial then our customers would be much more familiar with our products. Most people could not name five HVAC manufacturers but ten automobile manufacturers no problem!
    [Edited by hvacbear on 12-22-2004 at 01:57 AM]

    Naw.... can't work. They say with a brand new vehicle, 30% of the price is to pay for the ads just to get you to buy it. GMC/Ford has a huge percentage or their budget going into ads and it is reflected in their price. Thats how cars are marketed and every mfgr does it and we pay for it all.

    Now as an Amana dealer, I wish Trane/Carrier would do a huge media saturation. Their prices would be so darn high that I would beat them 100% of the time....... "Oh yea Mr Customer, I know of Trane. They spend all their money on those high priced national ads and nothing on warranty's and engeneering and building a quality serviceable product. This AMANA furnace is by far higher quality at a much lower cost because they trust me, as a Dealer, to convey their message of quality to you."
    My doctor gave me six months to live, but when I couldn't pay the bill he gave me six months more.
    Walter Matthau

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Nevada
    Posts
    1,815
    Humid1 ,

    I really do not know about remotely shutting of the A/C but the filter reminder/monitoring is a great idea. Also it should e-mail the contractor too.

    Your idea sounds like equipment leasing and there would be some legal issues. I do think there is a place for it but I don’t think most customers would go for it. It seems like eternally leasing the stuff to me.

    I know in Texas you can shut off the water and the house is declared uninhabitable after three days with no water and the tenants can be evicted three days after that this was in the early 90’s and I don’t know if that has changed but it was a pretty simple process mainly some filing fees etc. So the shut off idea could work but could really put a stain on the industry.

    I do know of a corporate building where the previous owner declared bankruptcy and left the country. Shortly after the bank sold the building the A/C was really messed up 60 in one office 90 in the next etc. A Boston company that monitored the system was not being paid it cost a tremendous amount on the electric bill and the bill was paid pretty quickly after the problem was discovered.

    Also what if the HO decides to change contractors?
    What happens when the monitoring is consolidated by a computer monitoring firm with no HVAC experience and then the manufacturers buy them out eliminating all of the little guys?


    Spotts,

    It probably would raise the cost considerably.


    All,



    I would like to see more quality checks and balances but that is hard to do unless it is self-imposed.

    The whole brand thing really is not the issue the education of consumers is what I would really like to see more of. I would like for the general public to that know that the filter needs changed every month just like they know the car needs an oil change every 3000 miles. My question is how can we do that?

    Quote
    “Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own." Scott Adams

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."
    Albert Einstein

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