Ron Cool, shame on YOU for not performing load calcs.
i am a H/O who just made a purchase on furance and air. price was not high on our list. i looked for a company that had been around for a while, i looked for the brands i wanted, i wanted a good long warrsnty, i asked lots of questions and listened to his answers, i wanted pictures of work they had preformed. with that said i'm glad to say i made the right choice. now my wife on the other picked the same company because of a different reason. he played with held, threw the ball and pet our bassett hound lol thats one nobody has mentioned. if you came in our house sat down and started yelling at my dog "leave me alone" i would show you the door. we have a very loving bassett hound she wont jump on you she just wants attention. theres my 2 cents.
In so far as HVAC, I would only go to the Retired HVAC tech who lives behind me or the currently working one a few houses down. Their houses are exactly the same as mine and I trust them to not rip me off or do a hack job. If I had to go elsewhere I'd get lots of contractors to stop by and rate them on things like what brand they carried, how well they returned phone calls, how professional they seemed, how well they answered my detailed questions, and I'd seriously consider quickly showing the door anyone who tried a hard sell on things I don't need like super efficient stuff that I'll never get payback on or extended warranties. Price would be a consideration, but I'd grade it exactly against what I was getting for it since no two contractors would do it exactly the same, etc. Also, if I think they they are going to send Mexicans to do the work I won't hire them.
[Edited by zzyzzx on 03-10-2005 at 01:38 PM]
So just what would be wrong with a "MEXICAN" installer? Are you trying to inply that one of "those" guys would not or could not do the installation justice? Not trying to point fingers here.Just pointing out that sometimes slang can be pretty darn mean to people when were not even trying to be.
I figure that if I'm paying $100/hr for labor that they should be at least able to speak English.
From a HO's perspective, I've learned what I don't like and what I like over the years. The thing I feel most importatnt of all is to have the HVAC pro please listen to the client as to what their concerns are, and- pay attention to the concept as to what the informed customer may be requesting.
In doing so, try to be aware of basic things that maybe are taken for granted by a pro, but are probably not thought about by the HO. Example, the fan switch being forever left on auto, or maybe there is a cold air return vent over the return plenum that the builder's contractor put in to save money and increase airflow. Maybe the HO is interested in a heat pump, but lives in a Northern climate. Don't dismiss the idea right off the get-go, perhaps it could be a cost savings, or it simply may not be the case. Perhaps the homeowner may not care too much about the costs, but might rather see the satisfaction of a lowered gas bill during milder months.
Honest assessment of the current situation and to what could be the situation may present you with great opportunities to help someone out. Please Pay attention to the total package. Things like third party products, other enhancement equipment that complete the total integration may be more appropriate than the dynamic duo of ulta efficient units. Only when justification value exceeds expenditure is where a sale will be made.
It's not un-common (from what I have seen) to find a HVAC pro to be so passionate about thier business and product lines that ideas as to what the HO is looking for gets either dismissed or diluted. The over-zealous pro will only frustrate the buyer and inevitably will result the HO asking more competition into the potential sale. It seems as though (apparently even in HVAC worlds) no one wants to spend significant money on equipment that should be out of mind day-by-day, unless it caters to someones' concepts or has other intrinsic value (such as comfort, cost-effective energy usage). The right fit is there, but this has to be discovered.
Granted, not every HO will have solidly formulated ideas as to what they want except for maybe the absolute lowest possible price. Likewise, it's probably not appropriate to install a low end unit on a .5M house and certaintly the HO will not be happy in short order. If your not sure about who you're dealing with, it may be helpful to profile them with items such as Energy conservation, comfort, and scale / scope of the residential application as appropriate.
You can ask the HO:
-Do you run your fan constantly? Have you ever tried this? Try it for a week and let me know what you think?
-Would you use the A/C less if your humidity level was more inline?
-In the winter, would you like to turn up your thermostat higher, but do not because of the fear of the gas bill?
-If you cannot afford all new equipment now, would it be better to draft a phase-in schedule over the course of time?
It's basic stuff, I agree, but often times the most simplest things will expose the bigger picture and lead to what is really needed. The bad ones will always deviate from this focus which is what I look for everytime. It's your job as a HVAC pro to interpet the customer's ideas into competent realities that fulfill or surpass the requirements/ideas of the client. If you follow through on this and install with a high degree of qualiity, competence and completness, they'll be the happiest customers you'll ever have.
It's a good thing you didn't call them on proper grammer!
Originally posted by zzyzzx
I figure that if I'm paying $100/hr for labor that they should be at least able to speak English.
One of the biggest problems I have seen in the Texas areas is the lack of communication between the guy selling the job and the people actually doing it.
A few years ago, I had my roof replaced. There were a small group of Mexicans doing the work. Their boss was out at my place several times to check on their work. They worked very hard and did a great job. I recommend that company to anybody that asks.
About two years ago, I had some duct work done under my house. The salesman was knowledgable and I think trustworthy. A couple of Mexicans again were doing the work. I don't think their boss talked to them after they started. I was suspicious and made two trips under the house finding major problems both times. It still isn't right. I'm never going to call that company again, and anybody that asks gets my opinion on them.
I start out looking for HVAC people at the home shows and look for somebody knowledgeable that is willing to answer my questions and not blow me off just because he doesn't agree with something I say. I'm still trying to figure out how to find somebody that is both knowledgable and has the right people skills to get the job done right.
03-16-2005, 01:50 PM
Excellent point! Ask the salesman how long he has worked for the company, how does he get paid, what arrangements or relationships do they have with equipment distributors/manufacturers? Then check the answers out. I personally prefer dealing with someone who has a financial stake in the company's reputation and long-term viability (like an owner)! This is not always possible - but preferrable.
03-16-2005, 05:36 PM
As a contractor, I look at every home like it was my own
( probably would be better to look at it like it was my mothers home ). I give recommendations based on what I would do if I were them. The recommendations are based on what the HO wants. And even if I disagree with what they want, I will give it to them.
But mainly, I will do the installation myself. I won't send a pair ( or group ) of men ( here, usually very young men )to do the job. By the way - installers are the lowest pay scale, so installers are usually untrained beginners.At least in this area they are.
Lost a job to a competitor because the competitor had a good 'presentation'. I didn't. The HO called me later to tell me that he wished I had done tha job. He said that the salesman was nice, honest, etc., but the salesman did not do the job. A couple of kids did, and the HO was not impressed or satisfied. Paid me to check out system.
03-16-2005, 07:38 PM
i'm a died in the wool DIY homeowner who just paid several hundred dollars to the pro's to come out and install an extra return air vent for me in my sons room. i've been happy with the company doing my regular maintenance (another thing that I pay them to do!) so I asked them to estimate that work for me. Luckily the attic access over it is easy and so they were able to do it for what I considered a reasonable cost.
They did run flex-duct But it was properly supported and not crimped or bent and they didn't make a mess in my house and didn't even leave any drywall dust laying around when they cut the new vent hole in his ceiling.
They didn't bug me about payment or even want me to do anything that day. I just got their bill in the mail today for exactly what they estimated.
I hang out here so that I can know what they should be doing to my equipment, and to make sure that it gets done properly. Not to put you guys out of business by stealing your double secret advice Without what I've learned around here I'd probably be burning out my blower motor by closing all the other vents upstairs to try to force more air into his room. Already what I've learned here has let me give advice to other folks that there were solutions to their problems and that they should find a local company that can tell them this that or the other. So you're helping to drive business to the more reputable among you by giving out this info!
I, for one, really appreciate it and hope that you won't be made cynical by chewing gum and bailing wire folks! Both items have their place and it can be fun to build things out of them But not when your family's health and safety are concerned... But that doesn't mean I shouldn't know how to do it properly, at least with enough detail to know if the "pro" is doing it properly.