I'm a Philly/South Jersey guy who knows your neck of the woods in Delco real well. I'm in the process of getting bids on replacing the HVAC system in a condo I just bought. I know I'm looking for the following:
1. A well made, dependable, furnace and condenser with up-to-date features.
2. A "FAIR" price on the equipment. I am also self employed, so I know we all need to make a living. No price gouging and no low-balling and then skimping on the installation to make up the difference.
3. Installation by qualified HVAC mechanics who take pride in the job they are doing and the quality of their work.
4. After the installation is complete, me having the feeling that the equipment and installation is top-notch and that I can depend on it for years to come, assuming proper care and maintenance. If something breaks, and things do break it's a fact of life, reasonable and reliable warranty service.
I might be living in a fantasy world, but my experience in business leads me to believe that if any HVAC or service dealer provides the HO with that type of service, they will have more business then they can handle.
Wouldn't ,now that's funny!!
Originally posted by millerman
Originally posted by ct2
What are you looking for when replacing your heating system.Savings in installion or long term savings,(in the form of high efficency)you really can't have both. Long term service warrenty or taking your chances with break downs.My intrest ,is to bring to my customer the best possible package.You my say ask them ,more often then not, they have not taken the time or intrest wanting the contractor to make the desision for them.
I look for noticeable spelling errors and the correct use of the words in the english language.
more often then not
More often than not , if I wrote up an estimate for a customer with simple spelling errors , it wouldnt make me look very bright
I am a HO way off in S.Texas. In our region AC is the primary concern and heating an afterthought. Until we moved into our "dream house", I was concerned about cost and reliability. Now I am becoming somewhat a perfectionist about humidity control, air infiltration, etc. probably because we intend for this house to be a retirement home. But I would estimate that my prior attitude would apply to more of your customers.
We regarded heating as an appliance, wanted it to just work without calling attention to itself, to be cheap to operate and cheap to repair. If we could postpone a repair then we would be happy to. I believe we placed a lot of importance on the reliability of the person who visited. It always helped if he looked professional, didn't track mud into the house and did not offer bootleg software or magic magnets to improve our water or our car's mileage. These are examples from the past decade or so.
We liked when the tech gave us a form with things checked off, it seemed well planned and complete. And if the truck was clean and shiny, and didn't leak diesel oil on our driveway<g>. I do NOT care much about spelling if the guy seems highly competent in other ways -- e.g. if an engineer cannot spell, I make allowances for that and don't consider him ignorant, just educated in a very different direction. But you gotta do certain things right, if your truck sign has a spelling error then I would not be your customer.
I am pretty sure more people prefer to optimize 1st year cost rather than operating cost. I think that's proved by objective studies. And people often have plans to move in a couple years, so long term payoff is a hard sell under those circumstances. I would be pleased at the thought of energy efficiency, but there is reason to doubt that products or options would really pay off.
If you ask my opinion of what's best for business, I think way too few companies tied them and their customers together with annual maintenance contracts. We settled in with a guy who offered those, that would pay for spring and fall inspections and a 10% discount on repairs etc. We liked the fact the guy would call US when it was time, we did not have to remember to call him for routine inspections. Personally I think it might be a winning idea to assume responsibility for at least some filter changes, it's cheap and simple and gets you face-to-face with the customer maybe quarterly. Or maybe sell him the appropriate filters and phone him to ask how things are working, and by the way did he need any more filters...
Not to mention listening and looking for opportunities to propose more jobs which cost some money.
I've heard people moan and complain about restrictive 3M filters, which customers sincerely buy at Home Depot thinking it's the best because it's the most expensive. Would it not be a business opportunity to get a little more involved with the customer and cut out HD? It would seem lots of customers each year must drift off to other HVAC companies and this would allow them to voice their concerns and stay with you longer. Since we moved, I have been a picky customer but darn few companies have ever offered an annual maintenance plan, I would have said yes to some. As a result last fall the furnaces never got their checkup due to chaos and confusion in my personal situation (but they are only 1 year old).
I think the tests and services touted by NCI look terrific to the homeowner. If I had those done, they would provide a "score" which presumably would improve when repairs or enhancements were done. Customer education is a key issue for such a thing, and who has time to do much educating? You all will be horrified at this suggestion, but I think the idea of NCI teaming up with a national chain like Home Depot, has much potential. It would take a national or at least large scale effort to change the way the customer thinks about HVAC. But I believe it could be done.
Hope this helps -- Pstu
P.S. Your topic headline did not speak to what you wanted. If you had titled it like "Question for Homeowners" then I would have known it was a general invitation. The existing thread title is ambiguous.
To pstu, excellent response. Thank you for your personal thoughts. I'm sure it will help many. Michael
Proud supporter of Springfield Millers and Oregon Ducks.
I am going to post at least how I picked my first replacement.
Weeded out guy 1
1) ala Al Gore. I hate when people talking down with me. "This what we call KAPASITOR whent bad. You didn't maintained your HP, or replaced filters or it was low on FREON"
I send him packing....
2) ala agressive type. High pressure sales...
3) Guy who never leaves, may be he was hoping that I would sign contract right away.
4) If you are trying to sell new unit, bring paper and pen.
I do this with my clients ( Yes, I know and remember what they saying But if you don't write anything down I get filling that you don't care.
5) Guy with personality, he looked like had a long day, but took time to check old unit, wrote concerns, asked about expectations, took some measuments, joked a little, did not pull bag of literature, gave good price, not the best but good. Mentioned he could stay longer if i needed him too, that they are busy next couple of days, called supplier and asked about stock.
I really liked (5), but in the end did not vacc lines.