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  1. #79
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Las Vegas
    Posts
    786

    Re: Ho's wants

    Originally posted by 41gasman


    I hope we can get somemore home
    owners in here.To here what they
    need to feel confident in a
    contractor.This can be a very
    hard hurdle at times to get
    over.Thanks
    41Gasman
    Direct quote from one of the Professional Members of this Forum.

    Suggestion: Learn the difference between a good contractor and a bad one. Learn enough and you'll realize how incredibly poor most of the workmanship is out there. After that you won't care one wit about the brand. Finding a good craftsman will be your top priority. But if not... you were warned.

    Of course this member is not talking about anyone's workmanship that is posting on here is he ?

    Anyway back to the OP topic of what home owners are looking for in an HVAC Co.

    In regards to fast service, Don't promise to be right over then come 4 hrs later while things do come up don't promise what you can't deliver.

    Of course we all want lower prices that is why we shop around, does lower price's mean bad workmanship or bad equipment? Not in all case's,I know of a few contracters that bid high on purpose because they were too busy and really didn't want the job, Why waste the time bidding just explain to the homeowner that current commitments have you currently occupied.Most of the professionals I deal with do the best they can and don't try and jury rig things to make them work.

    In my neck of the woods you most likely don't have to have that spit and polish look but at least don't be cussing, smoking or spitting and have your fly zipped up when you arrive and most ppl will be ok with you, they understand you may have just come from the duck blind, fishhouse or deer stand.

    On another note most homeowners don't want to take the time to explore the different brands or options that is why they have a HVAC contractor come in, they hear things on the T.V. or get friends and families imputs and then make the call, Like a lot of ppl mentioned on here its not the equipment in so much as the installer but they still like the name brands, grand pa had a lennox, pa had a lennox so I am getting a lennox too of course there is other brands but you get the jest of it.

    Up here we read the see the ads in the papers, yellow pages and such but a lot of its word of mouth as well, if someone we know had a good install and was content with it they give references if, not pity the fool that screwed the pooch his job just got harder.

    One other note if someone is gong to build a half a million dollar home do you think they care who the installer is that is why they pay the big bucks for the general contrator who has is own criteria !

    But hey its just my thoughts anyway !!
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. (President Theodore Roosevelt)

  2. #80
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Las Vegas
    Posts
    786
    Just a few more Imputs

    Up here keep it simple, heat load calculations and blower test don't mean diddly to the customer that is is chasing chickens and rabbits off the chair for you to sit in. nor do high end media filters and humidifiers concern them all they want is heat to keep the critters warm.

    You might be able to sell the high end equipment and dazzle the Big City Dwellers with Seer ratings and efficency ratings of the different units but unless the older customer ask don't push the issue about AC, their window shaker has been working just fine for yrs.If they want it they will ask for it.

    But most of All Remember the Ten Commandment's of Service and you'll do just fine !
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. (President Theodore Roosevelt)

  3. #81
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    144
    In Texas all licensed air conditioning (and refrigeration) contractors are required to have their Texas air conditioning contractors license (TACL) number and company name posted on both sides of their vehicles, no less then 2 inches tall, used in their contracting business. If subcontractors are working under a licensed contractor, They must have temporary signs with contractor's name who owns the job on the sides or in the front wind shield visible, or have a sign in the yard visible from the street.
    I have my truck properly lettered with my name on it, and this leads me to TRY to keep it clean and as uncluttered as possible.
    At the supply houses, I sometimes feel like the only guy who spent anything at the lettering shop - I guess they are all subs getting parts for their contractor's permitted jobs, and the sign is at the work site - LOL.
    I do not have a "uniform", but I do always wear button down canvass shirts or guide shirts (read - cool), carry boot covers, and hate white carpets.
    Licensing laws are tough, and it's about time.

  4. #82
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    31


    As for bidding jobs, its part of the game. I would suggest bidding on the job with the same size equipment as the others with a clear understanting that if you get the job a proper load calculation will be performed and if the equipment needs to be adjusted so will the price up or down. Maybe even prepare quotes for alternate sizes and use the one that fits. Explain to the customer that you cannot determine which one until a load calculation is performed and that you are not interested in guessing on a 15 year investment in their comfort. Explain that it must be done and you also want to protect yourself from providing such reports to your competitor. To me that's honest and shows integrity and qulaity. Prepare quotes with Good, Better, Best set-ups so they can see some justification for various pricees. Share photo's and testimonials and have alist of references along. Offer fiancing options. Odds are you will be at a large advantage. And if you get the job... Do it right and you will get calls from his/her friends and family, rest assured.

    [Edited by docholiday on 02-14-2005 at 08:35 AM] [/B][/QUOTE]
    Docholiday,
    With your advice and attitude, I sure wish you were in my area as I am doing a replacement contractor search. After reading this forum for the past ten days, I have to say that 90% of the installers posting here are not people I would want within miles of my house. What lousy attitudes they have toward homeowners is embarrassing.

  5. #83
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    175
    Kampeh, I am not sure so don't quote me on this but I think that Home Depot would subcontract the job out, as far as I know they do not have their own a/c people.

    As a customer I would want the best of both worlds, competent service and a competitive price. But as we all know there are alot of hacks out there that do not belong in our realm who are over priced.

    I have seen a $100k house with bottom of the line equipment, drain lines not trapped, rust in the secondary pan, wet rafters from poorly sealed supply plenums sweating and r/a not sealed off in attic, and the house was not even 6 months old. The house belonged to a purchasing agent of a chemical plant we had just acquired and he asked me to evaluate the install and make a hit list of problems. I did so, charged him a small fee for that, and quoted him my price to do it right. He asked me, do you want to see the other unit on the other side of the house? I said "I don't need to".

    I guess my price was too high, did not get the job.

    You get what you pay for!

  6. #84
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    North Las Vegas
    Posts
    786
    Originally posted by wasp
    Kampeh, I am not sure so don't quote me on this but I think that Home Depot would subcontract the job out, as far as I know they do not have their own a/c people.

    Your Correct in that Home Depot does not employ there own A/C techs, all the jobs they list for installs are done by sub contractors.At least in my area this is true, Of course they still take a beating for selling equipment to Home Owners but hey they have to make a buck too.
    Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. (President Theodore Roosevelt)

  7. #85
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    31

    Thumbs up

    Home Depot sent me a sub contractor very politely and very quickly, great 1-800 service. When he came, he presented a very good bid and I had no reason to doubt what he told me were his company's very high credentials. Yes, I believe Home Depot uses subs for all in-home services, I see nothing wrong with that.


  8. #86
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Richardson TX (ne of Dallas)
    Posts
    6
    Originally posted by fixit50
    Here is a question for home owners , We as business owners and techs would like to know what you look for in an hvac company, what do you expect, for instance, fast service, lower prices, clean and honest techs, name brand, When you call where do you find them? yellow pages? newspaper adds, flyers? Your input on this can help us to serve you better.
    Thank you.
    The short version:
    If the client is an engineer or has that mentality, send one of your more experienced install techs. You'll probably get the business because everyone would rather hire someone like them. If you can't figure it out before your sales guy goes over, have the sales guy figure out if that's what the client is. If the sales guy detects an engineer, have the sales guy say "You know, I think this is over my head. Would you mind if I had our most experienced guy come over and talk to you about it?" In that case have your engineer call / stop by. Note I did not say "has a degree" or college educated. I'm talking about the mentality. Plenty of guys without degrees that have the mentality. You don't know what it is? Read Dilbert.

    If the client doesn't have that mentality, then the cheapest price and smarmiest sales guy are your ticket to winning the job.


    The LONG version:
    Given that I read things regularly at this site, and have been doing so for over a year and a quarter, I am probably not the normal consumer. However:
    Clean and honest techs would be the biggest one. If I feel a tech is lying to me, I pay them the fee to come out and tell them to leave. Too expensive to let someone dishonest work on your system whether its HVAC, auto, or plumbing.

    Next biggest is knowledge. I want an engineer, not a sales guy. Yes, I do my research. I try to be informed, because the temptation to be dishonest is greater in many folks when they are dealing with someone who appears not to have a clue. I ask questions and I toss in at least one obviously wrong remark [if they miss the first one, I come in with an even worse one]. The guy I hire for the job will correct my error. An exasperated look is worth extra.

    Ideally the guy I'd pick also having glowing references from people I know and trust to know that the contractor really did a great job. This isn't going to happen. Everyone who came [all referred] applied rules of thumb, measured by sight (guessed), and ignored certain realities, while overpromising their equipments' abilities. Certainly none of them counted bends, measured line length, etc. Only one really talked about the return air issue, but that's only after I mentioned it. If I had to pick someone right now, I guess he'd get the business. Thankfully, I don't. The closest proxy to what i want is to see how a user here has answered other users' queries.

    Also, I'd like to know in advance who the install team is going to be and how experienced they were. I personally believe that while brand has something to do with the ultimate success/failure of a given system, the reality is that how good a job the guys who install it do determines how soon it's going to need servicing. None of the guys I talked to had much to say about their installation crews, except that they were the best. I probably should have asked best at what, but I didn't have the heart.

    Price is about 10% of my consideration, but price is 50% of my wife's. We have to agree on someone, of course. So, 1/3 of the chance of success for the bid is price.

    Now, you want to talk about the vast majority of your customers?

    For the vast majority of folks, its safe to say that at least 50% of their decision is based on price, and I'd be leaning towards 75%. I talked to the people about the guys they referred to me and one of their first comments was invariably, "Yeah, he had the best price. But I was pleased with his service which is why I am recommending him to you." Needless to say I approached the initial round with a pessimistic heart.

    The other 25% is their mood that day, how much they liked the guy who came by sell them their system and if a friend recommended the guy to them. Near as I can tell most HOs put in about an hour or two's worth of research on a $7500 investment.

    Now, if I can come to a site like HVAC-talk and view answers by a potential contractor to others' questions I can get a feel for the fellow. Then, I wouldn't need to resort to the testing and running out a lot of bids. Hard to tell by talking on the phone. BTW, please put your location in your signature or credentials so it's easier for a HO like myself to track you down.

    Rather aggravating to click credentials and find yet another user who hasn't put down their location and yet has consistently answered questions from people.


  9. #87

    Yes!!!

    Originally posted by johnsp
    I would think quality of work is #1. This can only be verified by references and word of mouth. Of course thanks to the internet, we also now can find HVAC pro's that have an interest in peoples problems. I find the ones that come on sites like this and bad mouth others for taking part in discussions are probably not that knowledgable and fear customers knowing or understanding anything about the trade. A true pro doesn't fear a DIY'er, but should know his years of experience and knowledge will impress a customer by explaining his design implementation which justifies his costs.
    Well said... This is exactly my take on this market. The only reason I have come to this BB is to educate myself as a DIY'er that would rather pay someone else to do the job but cannot find anyone that is capable or that I can trust. It is sad that most of the so called experts posting to this site have the same attitude as the bully tech that drives up in his truck looking to s---w me out of my check book and frankly never solves my problem.

    My house was built one year ago in Georgia and the HVAC contractor installed three heat pump units. One 2 T upstairs and two 1 1/2 T units down stairs.

    My problem is this: The living room kitchen upstairs are an open plan with a vaulted sealing design. The system has only one return for each unit and the return for each unit and the T-Stat for each unit is located in this open living space. Needless to say the heat from downstairs rises to the upstairs hallway and shuts off the unit up there making all the rooms up there cold. The ceiling fan in the living room helps.

    I have begun looking into options such as Zoning or ductwork to transfer heat from upstairs back downstairs using some sort of duct fan solution. I am not sure yet I what I am going to do to fix this but I know this none of the HVAC experts I have spoken to have any solution for me. And they seem to have the same attitude towards customer satisfaction as some of the techs on this BB.

    I find this sad as I am willing to spend the money to do fix my system but Trust is the main problem I have and it is driving me into the DIY areana.

    AB

  10. #88
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    31

    Ahimonkey

    Have you tried ServiceMagic.com? Contractors are screened by someone and have some info listed.

  11. #89
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    4H: Hot, Humid Houston H.O.
    Posts
    3,304

    Sometimes simpler is better

    AB wrote:

    >>I have begun looking into options such as... ductwork to transfer heat from upstairs
    >>back downstairs using some sort of duct fan solution.

    This is an idea which is so simple and low energy, that I had wondered why it's never talked about. Could it be because it's the antithesis of a 5-figure sale for new HVAC and ductwork? Is there really a legitimate reason why the central fan is looked upon as the only tool to do ventilation? I'm not trying to be too hard on the industry, I know not everyone is always trying to replace a whole system, I know there are ERVs and the like for ventilation. But feel the need to ask these questions to communicate an idea which has never (to my knowledge) been discussed in this HVAC forum.

    >>The only reason I have come to this BB is to educate myself as a DIY'er that would
    >>rather pay someone else to do the job but cannot find anyone that is capable or that I can trust.

    I know exactly how you feel, AB. My own experience has been frustrating but it's very hard to find an HVAC guy who is motivated to do all the things that need doing. I suspect part of the problem is that Building Science spreads over several traditional trades, and people experienced in one trade are reluctant to try their hand at something that involves another trade. And ideally you would like to have a highly educated guy (Lstiburek?) designing things and there aren't too many like him. In the meantime one can feel pressured to be a reluctant DIY-er. In my opinion the board is poorer for not recognizing this different DIY motivation -- it's not really *trying* to pull any business away from HVAC pros, it's motivation is primarily to get a job done. A job that pros usually don't want.

    Best of luck -- P.Student

  12. #90
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Richardson TX (ne of Dallas)
    Posts
    6

    Re: Ahimonkey

    Originally posted by bigalf
    Have you tried ServiceMagic.com? Contractors are screened by someone and have some info listed.
    Yep, for a plumbing job. The first guy who came out told me the job required the floor to be ripped up and it would be at least $800. I could tell he was lying. Some people just can't lie convincingly. So I ushered him out. The leaky seal at the bottom (connection with the floor) was the problem. Sent some pictures and desc to a buddy of mine in New York. He laughed at diagnosis and $800. I tried servicemagic, but do you know who their number one pick was? $800 guy. Maybe the person who vets contractors in SC is better. Guys who fixed it, came up with my buddy's diagnosis and they did it for under $80. Took less than a half hour.

    Haven't had a problem with the guys I'm using now, though I know the plumber by name and I make sure he's the one doing the job at my house. He's booked the next three days? No problem, I'll wait.

    The only reliable way I've found to locate honest, experienced auto mechanics, plumbers, and contractors seems to be know enough to test them. Once I find one however, I'm not really interested in giving my business to anyone else.

    Here in Dallas, at least, one of the biggest problems is that the guy who writes the contract often doesn't do the work- it's a crew of spanish speaking immigrants. I can't really blame contractors for using them (how are they going to compete against the ones who do- most HOs make price #1) So, you usually have to watch them do the job, because otherwise they cut corners (can't say I blame them for it) and do a slipshod job. (Like using 2 inch nails to hold down shingles on a roof- that's what I got for not watching them after the first hour of nailing (when they were using the right length nails)). Ran out of nails in the first bucket, no problem we'll just use these other ones. Had a business meeting I couldn't miss. They also cut the ridge vent then- wide variations in width of gap (1-3inches) These guys were working for a company with one of the best reputations- and they weren't the cheapest bid. They weren't even within 25% of that.

    That's why I asked for recommendations on installers here in Dallas on my other thread. Knowing the name of a good installer and ensuring that he (she?) is on the crew that installs it will go the longest way to giving me confidence that the install will be done properly the first time.


  13. #91
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    WYO
    Posts
    2,019
    you answered all your questions fixit50 in your original poot. we/ they want all the first stuff. Advertizing in the MAIN yellow pages gets you there first. The rest is how you present it. Good Luck...
    never say never

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