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  1. #27
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    110
    I start thinking is this one of those customers that wont be satisfied no matter what I do. Is this the kinda guy thats gonna call every week with something silly. Is he gonna stand over my installers & watch em put every screw in.
    My thoughts exactly. I think he makes some valid points. But my "difficult HO" radar started beeping real loud when I read that post. I usually can tell from the way they speak, the questions they ask, the know-it-all way of talking, the tone of voice that they have called a ton of contractors and/or are going to be difficult. I usually decline the the estimate.

    When 6 out of 15 contractors actually DECLINE the opportunity to give a bid, I would say the problem may not lie with the HVAC contractors.

  2. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    7
    Originally posted by lusker
    csj

    After careful research I have found many contractors will act differently depending on their venue and region of the US.

    This information coupled with a time factor or should I say seasonal salting would cause the effect you received.

    Please specify your regional area and the month you requested 15 contractors. If you would, please give the average temperature during the month you made your requests.

    Thank you.


    I started asking August 22, 2005. Southeastern PA area. Temperatures mid 80s to low 90s....high average to a bit above average for the area. I stated that I have no deadline for the install but would like it sometime before the majority of the heating season hits....November as a completion date essentially

    Guys...you need to understand that I did not call 15 contractors in one day or two days. I also did not tell them I having a bid meeting with 14 other contractors and you are cordially invitied to attend. Come on. This has been over a period of 5 weeks. The problem is, like I said above, proposal after proposal was incomplete, misquoted prices, no equipment listed, non responsive to my specific concerns, etc.

    Let me put the scenario to you this way...the first day I had 3 contractors over and I seriously hoped that would be it. The first one sent me an error on price in his proposal....the 16 SEER being cheaper than the 14 SEER unit and then when I said, ok, I like the price for the 16 SEER unit, lets install the 16 SEER unit for $XXX, he told me he had made a mistake in his pricing. His revised pricing was way out of line compared to his "intial error pricing" as both the 16 and 14 SEER prices were wrong and off by some $1000.

    The second contractor of that day took almost 2 weeks (learned after the fact) to get me a proposal and it was for system with a box plenum when I specifically stated I did not want such. The third was Home Depot and was incomplete because the guy just had to leave. 3 contractors, 3 errors. So lets start again. 8 days later I decided to get other contractors for quotes since the first 3 provided essentially nothing. And so the story goes and essentially repeats.

    The bottom line is this...if a contractor cannot provide a professional written estimate in a timely manner (within 5 days of your site visit) and in terms of content (correct prices, correct model numbers, speced out insulation, overal description of ductwork plan), why should anyone ever believe he is capable of a professional job when the time comes to install the equipment? Image and presentation are your first contacts with your customer, and if you suck here, good luck. You may be the best damned contractor for equipment selection, ductwork design, and installation, but if you cant put it down in a contract and present it properly, and timely, you are not gonna get the job.

    If you cant return calls reasonably promptly...within 24 hours, your service sucks. If you cant clarify/fix your proposal after we speak about it or I email you the errors, god help you. How many times must I ask a contractor to specify which thermostat by name and model number is he gonna use?

    The way I look at things in business...if its in the contract that's what is being followed. If its not in the contract, the contractor wont necessarily do it and the homeowner has no legal footing to stand on. I can understand why contracts are vaguely written.....they benefit you, the contractor. I can understand why contractors get upset when the homeowner questions them, but guess what, get used to, accept it, and embrace it, otherwise your business will go to hell and you compete only on price.

    EDUCATED customers do not necessarily want low price as some here seem to suggest. EDUCATED customers want value. If you cant present value added services, you can only compete on price, and unfortunately, that happens to most service oriented trades. The trade itself brings the trade down. Yeah, its all about money. But when the low baller comes to town, everyone without integrity seems to follow his trend.

    One last comment and I am done. Am curious, if I asked you as contractor to list me as an additional insured on your general liability insurance policy, would you do it? Cost is probably $35.00 from your agent and you can include that in your proposal to me.....shoot 'll give u the cash when you get here. What if I asked for a copy of your workmens compensation insurance certificate....or to certify that all employees on the job site are covered by(or legally exempt) from workmens compensation coverage. If you balk at either request or say such is an unrealistic request, I know you are not insured and have no serious commitment to the trade. These are standard requests in most trades and should be absolutely mandatory requests from a homeowner before a contractor arrives on-site....its just that most homeowners dont understand the importance of such.


  3. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Tucson
    Posts
    11

    Talking Consumer point of view?

    I believe the problem with the dissonant answers might be the points of view. I am a consumer, not a pro, and I am also looking to install a new system. I have not requested as many bids as CSJ, and I am certainly not as detail oriented (I sense that I am less knowledgeable http://www.hvac-talk.com/vbb/images/icons/icon10.gif
    Talking), but I kind of identify with him/her. Something I noticed about the HVAC trade, in doing research for my new system (which I still am), is that it's a bit more difficult to find straight answers than in other trades or service areas, and therefore consumers have fewer tools to make good decisions. One case in point: this is almost the only forum dealing with HVAC, and sometimes members don't want to discuss certain topics, or don't want to make categorical statements because they don't want to offend other members of the trade. I know we live in Postmodernity, where answers are more nuanced and when we have learned (I would hope) that not everything is black and white, but there is still room for right and wrong.

    While all this is understandable, it must also be said that as in any other profession, there are hacks or people who are just flat incompetent. Furthermore, somebody in this post made a comment about it all "coming down to the money." As a consumer I ask you, couldn't the same be said about the contractors, it all comes down to the money?

    Now, I don't mean to disparage anyone, I am just trying to illustrate certain points so that the consumer side is not ignored in this post. CSJ is working hard to get his/her money's worth of service and equipment, for whatever reason (he is anal, he is micromanaging, etc.). It seems to me that, taking into account the nuances of service, equipment, and installation, it still is flat unprofessional to not return calls, not notify the customer, or whatever form of avoiding the situation you want to pick, and say "I am not interested in your job, I have too much work right now and I don't have time to address all your concerns in the detailed manner that you want me to. Period." Or whatever the reason might be, just let the customer know that you can't or won't do his/her job.

    I apologize if it sounds like I am disparaging anyone in particular - I am not. I am just talking about how the consumer might feel, especially when it comes to an area where most of us are ignorant, inexperienced, or both, and it is hard to find reliable info. Moreover, does not everyone compare as many products/services as he/she can before actually buying, including HVAC contractors when they buy/contract other services and products? If that is so, then why would you be turned off when HVAC customers do the same?
    So to tie it all down, I am just another consumer who has been greatly enlightened by this forum, and for that I am extremely grateful. Nonetheless, I believe that more info would be better, not worse (I think it would even benefit local contractors over chain stores). In short, it's just my opinion hehehehe. Best regards.

    R. Mendoza

  4. #30
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    68,931
    OK, we'll try to be better.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


  5. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    Originally posted by csj
    EDUCATED customers do not necessarily want low price as some here seem to suggest.
    If you happen to be referring to my post, I blamed UNeducated customers for much of the problems in the HVAC trade. And I even made a point of exempting you.

    I see nothing wrong with most of the requests you made in the last paragraph except for being named additionally insured. That's normal for my big time customers who send me lots of work. In my 11 years I've never been asked or heard of any residential customer asking for such a thing. It would make me worry that I was being setup for something.

    In any event, despite the obviously reasonableness of most of your rant you're still going to get an unfriendly earful in many of the posts to follow. A certain esprit de corps develops when it's homeowner bashing time. Some of the guys just can't stop when they're on a roll.

  6. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,870
    We show proof of wc, every week, we also do commercial, so its almost always required.

    Additional to the liability, are you going to bve in the attic helping.

    Where in southeast pa.
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  7. #33
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    7

    Talking

    [i]In any event, despite the obviously reasonableness of most of your rant you're still going to get an unfriendly earful in many of the posts to follow. A certain esprit de corps develops when it's homeowner bashing time. Some of the guys just can't stop when they're on a roll. [/B]
    I got no problem with anything that has been said...either by me or about me. If they wish to bash a homeowner, go ahead, I'm thick skinned and it wont bother me a bit.


    Originally posted by beenthere
    We show proof of wc, every week, we also do commercial, so its almost always required.

    Additional to the liability, are you going to bve in the attic helping.

    Where in southeast pa.
    So its almost always required? I hope you mean showing proof of insurance. Workers Comp is required for an employee unless you are exempt as a company officier. Wonder why all those commercial people request proof of insurance while most homeowners do not? I bet you it has something to do with liability concerns. Nah, cant be that, the homeowners would be all over that as they are generaly not that stupid. LOL

    You want help in the attic? I was gonna take down any stuff I had in the attic before your arrival so you had more room and I was gonna provide plywood for the floor, but since your proposal did not say there would be an extra charge for moving my junk or for more plywood, maybe I should just leave it all there and let you handle it. Whadda think? The contents (or omissions) of a contract work both ways, huh!

    Am in Southeast PA and lets leave it at that.

  8. #34
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Bartlett, IL
    Posts
    6,619
    Hmmmm, I still don't buy it something else is up. One contractor makes a mistake on price & corrects it, so that makes you unhappy you didn't get a great bonanza discount, #2 gives you a proposal 2 weeks later (big deal) you said you were in no hurry, & #3 had to leave...wonder why? I can't believe that 12 other contractors did the same thing. Seems like there may not be anything to satisfy your anal behavior?
    Happy hunting!!

    BTW I would'nt add you as additionally insured. The scammers are the ones who put the Co's out of business.

  9. #35
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Gaylord, Michigan
    Posts
    729
    Perhaps the best course of action is to address your concerns to the contractors that visited you, or the ones that you contacted.

    You took the time to come here and tell us of your thoughts and problems with our trade. Take the time to write a letter to each of the companies you have misgivings about. Let them know what you feel is inadequate service. Don't just call them, a letter speaks much more loudly than a phone call.

    There is nothing wrong with this trade. Nothing more than any other. We could tell stories about doctors, lawyers, anyone in business. Probably in your line of work as well. As with anything, there are people that care to give the best possible service, and those who dont.

    The best possible solution for you might just be the campfire ring that you spoke about in your first post, but you might have trouble hiring someone to fan the heat your way.



  10. #36
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    Originally posted by Christheheatingdude
    There is nothing wrong with this trade. Nothing more than any other.
    That's the most depressing thing I've heard all day.

  11. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Gaylord, Michigan
    Posts
    729
    How so?

  12. #38
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,870
    Yes, I meant almost always required to show proof of wc for commercial.

    Most ho's trust their contractors to have it, so they don't think to ask.

    We would include in the quote that if you remove ALL stored items from the attic, deduct xx from the quote. We include laying plywood in the quote, we spec 5/8" min.

    We don't want a ho in the attic while we work because a ho is a injury risk to us, and usually just gets in the way.



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  13. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    2,635
    Originally posted by Christheheatingdude
    How so?
    The implication was that we're on par with doctors, lawyers and anyone else in business. THAT's depressing.

    That was also a bit of sarcasm grounded in unfortunately large helpings of truth. Apparently the lack of a smiley made it too subtle.

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