It's not appropriate to talk specific prices per forum rules. But this one is easy I think. You could just word it that the one guy is charging X and the other 4X.
From what you described, the guy charging X was going to do a heat load calc. That's nothing but paperwork that estimates how much air you need for each room. It sounds like you're saying that the second guy will actually fix some ducts and get the air balanced for 4X. Is that right? If so then the quotes are for very different services and the price difference is very understandable.
Originally posted by madwhenhot
So, is everyone sick of hearing from me yet??
One last question regarding this if no one minds. I had the third (and hopefully final) guy out today. After I described the problem, just like I did for the other two, and after he took a quick look in the attic, crawlspace, and felt the air from the vents, he simply said, "Yep, it's a ductwork and balance issue." This is the same diagnosis the guy yesterday gave. Today's guy even went as far as saying zoning would probably not help this situation one bit. He pointed out that with some vents blasting air, and others barely having any coming out, he needed to balance it. He also pointed out several spots in the attic ductwork that had come loose, and had "a lot of air just leaking into the attic" that would he would need to fix before balancing. Now here's my dilemma...the price! I'm not sure if it's OK to discuss prices here or not, so here goes.
Yesterday's quote was "about 2 hours, so about $125 service charge." Today's quote, a flat fee of $600....doesn't matter if it "takes 2 hours or 6 hours" to get it right. Is a price difference of that much for a job (that seems small) like this to be expected between companies??
Also, is it OK to call the guy from yesterday, saying "OK, I had someone else look at the system today, and he confirmed the same problem you did...ductwork and airflow. He said $600 flat to make sure all of the ductwork was taped and sealed, and then doing an air balance at each vent. Why the heck is your quote so low?" Would that be considered rude? Understand I'm not trying to pit these guys against one another, I'm just trying to understand why one would be 1/6 of the price for quoting me the same work. Perhaps I did misunderstand the guy yesterday, so I'm going to call him in the morning and ask him to tell me exactly what he would do, and if there would be any extra involved. It just shouldn't be this dang hard to get this fixed.
Lastly, I do appreciate all of the insight and responses you people have given. I've learned a lot more about how these systems work than I ever expected to!
I have sympathy for you because I am going thru almost exactly the same thing and having the same problem deciding on which of my five contractors knows best and being honest about it. For my two story, I have gotten suggestions for two 2 ton heat pumps with separate air mover and thermo for each floor. Second floor air mover being in attic. I believe that 4 tons for 2000 sqft is too much and want smaller. I don't want compressors flailing around off and on. I can get 1 1/2 ton units but only at 12 SEER. I was pitched a one unit, damper system but most people on this forum claim it is nothing but trouble, because of multiple damper controls and especially the bypass function and result. So, who the heck knows. Everyone tells you to pick an honest contractor and turn him loose. Right. Good luck.