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.
Believe it or not, SKILLS is the thing I find in greatest shortage. And plain old craftsmanship. It would be great in my eyes to hear more pitches for blower door testing, duct sealing, more willingness to consider the "V" part of HVAC. I think there is a potential for getting "up-market" by offering tests, measurements and reports which meaningfully tell the HO what's going on. Being able to make a smooth referral when it's something you don't consider exactly up your alley (e.g. I see eyes glaze over when I try to talk about humidity issues), would be a plus.
Humble things like doing ESP measurement, after explaining to the HO what it means, I think would help sell many ductwork improvements. Since 3M filters are supposed to be the HVAC guy's nemesis, would it be too much to procure and deliver some of the *right* kind as part of a year-round service contract? After all most HO's just want to not think about HVAC issues.
I think phoning the HO a couple extra times per year, fishing for feedback and problems you can help with, might pay off.
Hope you can work some of these into a business plan.
Best of luck -- P.Student
As a homeowner,
What I look for in an HVAC contractor is trust if you can't trust them to be fair, there isn't anything else that will make me consider him for my business and no matter what other replies you get, trust and relationships are what grow a business.
What I look for in an HVAC contractor is by far HONESTY and trust. Before I do anything including searching for an HVAC contractor I do research to familiarize myself with it so I have an idea what to look for and what questions to ask. I am a knowlegable home owner who may ask a question that you can't answer off of the top or your head, so tell me that you will look into it and not give me a half-assed answer that may or may not cover the question just to make it look like you are infallible. We all come up against something new every now and then in our professions that we might not know. In your case that is what this site is about. I had four HVAC contractors come in and two never called me back. I believe I scared them off when I began talking about heat gain calcs and to be honest I don't think they knew what I was talking about. They have this rule of thumb formula to go by and quite frankly I don't buy into it. My home is different from my neighbors (windows, insulation, siding etc) so don't tell me I need the same equipment. The third HVAC contractor I had come in seemed somewhat knowlegable but his price was out of this world. The fourth contractor seemed quite knowlegable but was too much of a pushy salesman. Needless to say I havn't found an honest contractor that I feel I can trust yet. This is why so many of us home owners become diy'ers, this just happens to be a job i'm not interested in tackling.
The following is what I look for in order of preference:
1)Honesty & trust
2)Quality workmanship(guarantee your labor)
Yes price is last, unless you come in with a ridiculously high estimate of 25% or more over the next guy. I will pay a little more for good quality workmanship but there is a limit.
Zoom 38 there is the problem to what you are saying. I would like to know how much each of the items on your list is worth paying for, and what price is out of this world. The truth is of course people are looking for most of the things on your list.
The truth is they are not willing to pay for them. It sounds to me you are not eather. When I bid on jobs, people seem to be concernd about two things how much and how long. If I do great work and I am the high bidder, I will not get the job, as a matter of fact I will not get 80% of what I bid on. Thats is probully why that guy has what you call out of this world pricing. The key to me is as a sales person is to make you feel comptable with me, to assure you that we will do the best job we can, and two convince you heat load or not, I know enought to complete your job on time.
I don't do heat calcalations and we did at least 200k of installs last year. we had one problem thats it one. A track of homes (80) did the heat loads they are now pulling all the units out as there not correct for our area. Don't judge a contractor that knows your area by one thing. Heat loads are a tool but don't judge you bids just on that.
Maybe its one mistake, help me out here, but 80 units is an awful lot considering Track homes and probably 4 or 5 load calculations would have prevented that.
At $2000 a peice times 80 thats $160,000...Or 80% of your work.
Did I misunderstand? Were you sugesting that 20% of your business was a good enough target?
Maybe its early and I missed something.
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]
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.
Need to choose a system, Furnace broke
I'm waiting for an in home estimate today.
I got one from Home Depot and I need to compare.
I need some assurance that I can make this decision well.
The cost is 8,500 for Forced Air Furnace and Trane 12 SEER 3.5 ton. 10 year complete Warrenty. I guess I could find cheaper, but I think I trust these guys.
Browsing this site for some info and reassurance
If you can point me to relevant posts, please do.
I need to replace my residential HVAC Magic Chef Furnace w/PVC pipe and Lennox AC Unit. I'm told the system I have is very rare and out dated, but was good in it's day.
Docholliday I think you have made some very helfull tips. I do most of what you have stated just not all the time and I know I should prepare better. I just work in a area that is real compeditive. I guess I am a bit senative because I lost a job last week to a guy I saw loading up in his trunk of his car. and no I don't do tracks the contractor came to me asking if I would buy the stuff they are pulling I am not sure it was all 80 homes I know I bought 35 2 ton condensers (Goodman 12 seer).All these house had heat loads done. I don't want to take away from 9mmnow thred I am interested in what people are looking for.My experence with home owners is not the same as what I read from them on threds I think it is because if a hom owner takes the time to ask questions on the internet they are smart shoppers, and like to compare before buying. Thats not what I see on a daily bases. I am little hard headed sometimes I will start doing them, maybe Don will send me one for free. The troble is it will make me want a lap top
Value and integrity
It's not a comfortable position to be in to choose a new HVAC System. Price is certainly important, but you want to know that the contractor is efficient with your money.
I'm prepared to spend $4,000 on a Trane 3.5 ton tomorrow w/10 yr wrnty but now my husband called and says he is getting feedback from friends at work that this is way to high and they say a unit like this should be about $2,000. And our old unit still works, but I believe it will be best to replace it with the furnace anyway, although I'm not sure. I like the offer from Home Depot because I am comfortable that the quality and service and installation will be good, but it seems the price is high.
Is there a failure to communicate?
Contractors wants home owners to write a blank check, sit back, remain silent and stay out of the way. Home owner want contractor to be able to answer reasonable questions, do good work, and be competitive in price. Humm
The truth is, a home owner shopping for a new system wants the same thing we all do when we look to purchase a car, home or a new piece of equipment for our service truck. They want the contractor to be able to answer their questions intelligently and guide them through the maze of choices while letting them remain in charge of decisions.
But in this process they also will make a determination about trust, and from whom they will get the most for their hard-earned money.
And yes Price does matter in their decision.
In the business we see all levels of quality of workmanship from contractor and we see home owners trying to make a decision with conflicting information from bidders. For instance if you had Doc and Ron
both bidding, who are you to believe. Yet I would bet you would get a quality system install from both.
We are often judged by mis-information, or differing views.
And we are often judged by things that have nothing to do with Heat and air.
You will not get my job without a copy of your heat load calculation - no matter how experienced you may be. I will compare to my own calculation - to see how much attention is paid to understanding my application and subtle details. To me, attention to detail reflects experience and integrity (honesty & trust). I want my installer to provide annual servicing also - so I look for traits that will benefit me in that area as well. Home owners are not just investing in an expensive system that will heat/cool their home - they are investing in you to provide a system that works for the home and its occupants, whether they realize it or not. In fact, the HO who does NOT realize this will be the first one to callback or complain. The educated HO (by you or self-learned) is your best customer and will recommend you to others. My 2 cents.