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  1. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pnasty View Post
    Some larger companies have people answering their phones that have no field experience. They will not be able to ask the proper questions. Small shops and one man operations sometimes are working on a job already and may not have time to have a 10-15 minute conversation as to what exactly is going on with your system. Even if all the proper questions and the tech comes with a gas valve and a couple other parts for your specific furnace, what do they do if those parts are not needed. They will have to be returned if they aren’t worth keeping as a stock item on their truck. Who is going to pay this person to returned said part, you will most likely gripe about being charged for the labor involved in the return. A truck is stocked to what the tech commonly works on.
    Perfect! You understand one of many possible scenarios of this problem. Now the thing to kick around here is... how do we reduce our costs of operation in this ever tightening squeeze?

  2. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaygreg View Post
    Perfect! You understand one of many possible scenarios of this problem. Now the thing to kick around here is... how do we reduce our costs of operation in this ever tightening squeeze?
    Go back to slave labor!
    Loose the Walmart Mentality!
    Stop out sourcing parts overseas!

  3. #16
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    You can eliminate anyone not making the company money, every person not turning a wrench is another mouth to feed. Then people get pissed theres not a person picking up the phone. You can buy all your parts online, of course you'll lose money on those parts failing under warranty, then your out of business. You could shut down a brick and mortar shop, then people of course think your a fly by night working out of your home. Many companies have done this last one. No parts on the van or at the shop, parts are ordered when your system fails. Much cheaper rates but you'll always wait. I suppose I could take a pay cut but I already live paycheck to paycheck. Since you won't provide any detail as to your situation I'd love for you to enlighten everyone as to how we might race to the bottom even faster for you

  4. Likes trippintl0 liked this post
  5. #17
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    If people can fix it themselves, then they should.

    Awful weird for a guy who can do things himself, and also be unhappy with what he would be charged, to pay someone to do the work.

    Unless your plan all along was to try and talk them out of money.

  6. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaygreg View Post
    Perfect! You understand one of many possible scenarios of this problem. Now the thing to kick around here is... how do we reduce our costs of operation in this ever tightening squeeze?
    Easy. We change from being a fast response, to slow.

    “Hvacvegas heating and air condition, I’ll be there when I get there.”

  7. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaygreg View Post
    Perfect! You understand one of many possible scenarios of this problem. Now the thing to kick around here is... how do we reduce our costs of operation in this ever tightening squeeze?
    Absolutely not, we need to spend more.
    Offer better pay, benefits and retirement to fresh blood coming in. Something we have a lack of these days.
    It’s very expensive to keep sharp guys. In a couple months I have to fly to Dallas for the week to update some certifications. The cost of which will of course be passed on to the customer, as is everything else in the world.
    Our package is worth a good bit. We get retirement, and our health care is payed for. Company buys the tools, computers, trucks and gas we need to do our job.
    After all, this is a trade for those that need a challenge. We aren’t all high school dropouts.
    “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” - Thomas Edison

    “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” - Vince Lombardi

    "In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics" - Homer Simpson

    Local 486

  8. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rider77 View Post
    Absolutely not, we need to spend more.
    Offer better pay, benefits and retirement to fresh blood coming in. Something we have a lack of these days.
    It’s very expensive to keep sharp guys. In a couple months I have to fly to Dallas for the week to update some certifications. The cost of which will of course be passed on to the customer, as is everything else in the world.
    Our package is worth a good bit. We get retirement, and our health care is payed for. Company buys the tools, computers, trucks and gas we need to do our job.
    After all, this is a trade for those that need a challenge. We aren’t all high school dropouts.
    There’s another cost saving idea.
    No more certifications or training.
    No licensing.

    Let it be a complete guess on if your getting someone who even has liability insurance!

    Just solved the “issue” with high prices!

    Next, I think we should remove all these “pilot licenses” for flying a 747. Should drop that airfare to Dallas by 40 dollars.

  9. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaygreg View Post
    Well…I can’t say I’m surprised. I expected most would miss the point here, feel attacked, and become defensive. A large percent of the public today isn’t dumb… nor incapable of some household repairs. I’ve lived almost 8 decades, have two business degrees from accredited State universities, and spent my entire career in the business world across the accounting, sales, manufacturing and executive levels of international companies. I understand the elements of keeping business alive. Many small businessmen don’t. None of the answers here went to the heart of the issue: how do you reduce your costs of operation! It’s not “attack the customer”. The fact is… you have high labor costs, components are subject to wide price ranges, and components can be delivered within two days.

    Want to buy that part from Amazon, great!! When it is defective or fails within our warranty period, then how do we obtain warranty replacement? Currently, we go back to the parts house and, if we don't abuse it and they know we are not that hack, they swap it out without question. We cover the labor. Try that online.

    The reference to a similarity between professions and trade labor isn’t relevant here. Tradesmen haven’t invested in lengthy education that leads to a license to heal someone. I don’t know where that comparison was attempting to go; it’s just not relevant here.
    Many jurisdictions require licenses for HVAC.
    Federal government requires an EPA certification to touch refrigerant.
    My state requires an electrical license, with continual education requirements.
    My state requires a license to do work on any fuel appliance, one for oil and one for gas/propane.
    My state requires a mechanical license.
    All of these require a test. The education to pass those tests are most definitely similar to a "professional". The fact you, and many others, look down on those of us who are licensed and do follow the law/rules points out the issue. It is not us, it is the consumer.



    So… as a tradesman… as a small business owner… whadda’ ya’ do? How would YOU cut costs as more and more consumers become shrewder and shrewder in their purchases? Just a thought. Not a *****. Was I happy with the bill in this case? Absolutely not. It didn’t have to cost that much. And the owner on a variable cost basis would still have made a reasonable profit.
    The internet is a double edged sword.
    There is an abundance of information out there, not all of it correct. You are dealing with things that can cause bodily harm, property damage and/or death. Drama, no, reality.
    The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud to be distributing the greatest amount of free meals and stamps EVER.
    Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us to "Please Do Not Feed the Animals". Their stated reason for this policy "... the animals become dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves."
    from an excerpt by Paul Jacob in Sun City, AZ

  10. #22
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    All this time on this earth, and multiple degrees, and he is dumb. Just plain dumb.

  11. #23
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    Whoa, pacnw! Whoa! This is flat out wrong: : “…look down on those of us who are licensed …”. I never said nor implied that. I said I didn’t see the relevance of the statement at all nor is the analogy accurate. Tradesmen don’t go to formal government certified schools for as much as 33 years straight BEFORE they can even start their practice (surgeons) then graduate with a quarter of a million dollars debt for their education in order to be responsible for healing human beings. I’m not one of those guys and I don’t think anyone else is here, thus the confusion of why it was mentioned. A licensed tradesman as a human being is as good as a doctor as a human being … but that’s not what we’re talkin’ about here. We’re talkin’ about the HVAC industry. In the broad sense they’re a profession too but I don’t think that was the point the writer was trying to make. Frankly, I don’t what that point was but the comparison to doctors took it out of my line of thought.

    I see no one is reading from the same page as me and I’m not out to preach nor convert. I already got my answer. But just for the heck of it, consider horrible scenerio:

    I persuade a group of venture capitalists that I can take a bite out of an industry that is doing little to guard itself against the steamroller of increasing costs. I propose we hit the HVAC industry with a blow to its flow of service to the consumer. Through local networking, local adverting, strategic activity sponsorship (Home Depot/Lowes consumer clinics), we’ll introduce the homeowner to the new service of “professional diagnostics”. The DIY guy contacts us, we travel to the home, make the diagnosis, search the net for average costs, list the parts needed, and present it to the homeowner. Our team is one of licensed, certified technicians with reputable backgrounds. That leaves the homeowner with a search for labor which he can do himself or buy it locally from whomever is willing and qualified to service. One such group will be a second outfit owned by the venture capitalists operating under a different name; these are the technicians. The HVAC industry has just been dissected with its parts split up and offered to the lowest bidder.

    Has this ever been done successfully? Sam Walton and Jeff Bazos; Walmart and Amazon. Shocked the industry while skeptics stood frozen not knowing what to do… except ultimately close their doors. Sometimes competitors survive these earthquakes. It’s usually those who had premonition of something wicked this way walks … and they cut their cost rather than have their financial throats slit when their banker knocked at the door.

    Despite all the costs enumerated in this thread, if it were my industry, I’d be saying to myself:

    1) Don’t shoot the messenger; the customer complained about the prize. Is this the “canary in the coal mine”?.
    2) So parts pricing is broad in scope. That doesn’t mean high quality isn’t available at low price. I just haven’t found it yet. Search harder!
    3) Is there a better way… for everything?

  12. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaygreg View Post
    Something to ponder after having been shocked by the cost of a gas valve replacement. Equipment:American Standard GUF12ODE3H service last year and thermocouple replaced for good measure by reputable family owned local business. Nice, competent people.

    Last year that service call was roughly $. This year I had no gas. Did my own trouble shooting and discovered:
    * I had electrical power.
    * The t-sat appear to be in order (by-past with jumper wire W & R).

    This left solenoid/comp gas valve highly suspect (White-Rogers 36C03). I replaced the thermocouple just for good measure.

    Local servicer confirmed the problem (nothing more), didn't have the part in the truck, but came back with it in two days..

    I was billed for two service calls at roughly $each plus the part. Total bill less tax and tip: $

    Amazon can deliver this part to my house in two days for $ plus tax. I'm not a neophyte with a pipe wrench.

    Two things I COULD have done:
    #1) Assume I needed a valve, then phone-shop for someone who had the part in stock... or call for that initial service call to get a diagnosis then... do it myself. Or...
    #2 What would YOU do if you owned the shop and a customer showed you what he felt was an exorbitant bill?
    Ok Jay, I get what you are after... I think

    First off, I disagree with you having to pay for the second service call. It is not your fault that he does not have it on the truck. It is not something I would do.

    But you are looking for how this industry can be more efficient. Well, one way is to do what the Mafia did with the garbage in New york City. They broke the city up into sections and each family only worked in their section. During the day I have to drive from the east side of town to the north. then maybe to the west side. In my travels, I cross competitors trucks and sometime they are working on a house a few doors down from me. So if I could have 500 or 1000 houses to service within a 30 or 50 block radius, I would not only cut down on the the wasted travel time, but I would pretty much know what equipment each customer had since it was probably built by the same builder. That would be a great start to the efficiency you are looking for. But will never happen.

    I think on the average, a technician only gets to bill about 50% to 70% of their time due to all the other things he needs to do, including travel.

    As far as getting parts online, I get a better price on 90% of my parts that I get locally than I can get online.

    One thing that is changing in our industry is flat rate pricing. The way it works is the tech comes out and diagnoses the fault and gives you a fixed price to fix it. You decide if you want him to do it. If not you pay the diagnostic/service call fee and he goes on his way. Now you can go order your gas valve online and put it in yourself. That way you never end up feeling ripped off. You knew the price going in if you have the tech fix it. So there would be some efficiency to the customer.

    Residential HVAC is like all the other mechanical trades, in general they are just not efficient. That is why they are called mechanical trades. You never know what you are going to run into when you start to repair something. So you have to charge a little extra in case that unexpected thing happens. Now commercially, you could possibly be at the same site all day and then some on one service call. So there is efficiency. And since you are there all day, sometimes you can call a parts house and have them deliver the part you need. Or there may be a stock of the part on hand because there are 20 units that are the exact same.

    I think I answered your question #1. As for #2, I would hope that if you felt uncomfortable with you bill that you would call the office and discuss it and get it resolved.

    But to answer your overall concern, there is really no way to make this business efficient. Too much travel, picking up parts, organizing for the next job, research into solving the next customer's problem ... etc. When a technician shows up to fix your equipment, you are only looking at the tip of the iceberg on what it takes to get your system up and running and you comfortable.

    I would have no problem coming out and charging you a diagnostic fee to tell you that your gas valve is bad. Then you tell me that you want to do it yourself, and you pay me for the diagnosis and I will be on my way. No problem.
    Can someone please explain to me -
    Why is there never enough time to do it right the first time, but plenty of time to do it twice?


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  13. #25
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    Mar 2018
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    So what will you and your investors cut cost wise? Parts is such an incidental costs compared to everything else, although it's not cheap by any means. You want guys that will stay with you and do top notch work to limit callbacks, right? Your going to have high salaries and benefit packages to retain those guys, then theres the insane insurance premiums the hvac trade is has to pay, high voltage and explosive gas? Yesir. Toxic chemicals, ladder/roof work and heat stroke? Give me some! Since your not putting a markup on the parts your going to have a much higher hourly rate to be profitable than your competitors who will also diagnose AND fix it on the same day. Of course you plan to do all this with two companies somehow. Why as the customer am I going to pay you to come to my house when its 110 to tell me its low on refrigerant and then you say I can call a different company of yours to fix it? There is a MASSIVE manpower shortage in this trade so when it first gets hot we will be 2-3 weeks out, no one is going to call you, wait, you diagnose it and then wait again for a fix. Good luck filling those positions, do I get paid more because I know what the problem is and the parts needed or because I can actually go sit in the attic and do quality work even though I cant feel my toes or my boxers are soaked with sweat. You couldn't afford me if you just wanted my skills for changing parts when I could be just diagnosing.

    "The HVAC industry has just been dissected with its parts split up and offered to the lowest bidder."
    Skilled labor isn't cheap, cheap labor isn't skilled. Never has been and only those that want to control you think it should be in the guise of "fairness". Great part is, you have the freedom to go do it, make your better mouse trap! Well have a good laugh when your in the pros section complaining about shit made Chinese parts and how much money the govt takes from you, or god forbid customers who complain about their bill, and they wont say why their upset but just that they think they were over charged.

  14. #26
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    Mar 2016
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    Dayton Oh
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaygreg View Post
    Whoa, pacnw! Whoa! This is flat out wrong: : “…look down on those of us who are licensed …”. I never said nor implied that. I said I didn’t see the relevance of the statement at all nor is the analogy accurate. Tradesmen don’t go to formal government certified schools for as much as 33 years straight BEFORE they can even start their practice (surgeons) then graduate with a quarter of a million dollars debt for their education in order to be responsible for healing human beings. I’m not one of those guys and I don’t think anyone else is here, thus the confusion of why it was mentioned. A licensed tradesman as a human being is as good as a doctor as a human being … but that’s not what we’re talkin’ about here. We’re talkin’ about the HVAC industry. In the broad sense they’re a profession too but I don’t think that was the point the writer was trying to make. Frankly, I don’t what that point was but the comparison to doctors took it out of my line of thought.

    I see no one is reading from the same page as me and I’m not out to preach nor convert. I already got my answer. But just for the heck of it, consider horrible scenerio:

    I persuade a group of venture capitalists that I can take a bite out of an industry that is doing little to guard itself against the steamroller of increasing costs. I propose we hit the HVAC industry with a blow to its flow of service to the consumer. Through local networking, local adverting, strategic activity sponsorship (Home Depot/Lowes consumer clinics), we’ll introduce the homeowner to the new service of “professional diagnostics”. The DIY guy contacts us, we travel to the home, make the diagnosis, search the net for average costs, list the parts needed, and present it to the homeowner. Our team is one of licensed, certified technicians with reputable backgrounds. That leaves the homeowner with a search for labor which he can do himself or buy it locally from whomever is willing and qualified to service. One such group will be a second outfit owned by the venture capitalists operating under a different name; these are the technicians. The HVAC industry has just been dissected with its parts split up and offered to the lowest bidder.

    Has this ever been done successfully? Sam Walton and Jeff Bazos; Walmart and Amazon. Shocked the industry while skeptics stood frozen not knowing what to do… except ultimately close their doors. Sometimes competitors survive these earthquakes. It’s usually those who had premonition of something wicked this way walks … and they cut their cost rather than have their financial throats slit when their banker knocked at the door.

    Despite all the costs enumerated in this thread, if it were my industry, I’d be saying to myself:

    1) Don’t shoot the messenger; the customer complained about the prize. Is this the “canary in the coal mine”?.
    2) So parts pricing is broad in scope. That doesn’t mean high quality isn’t available at low price. I just haven’t found it yet. Search harder!
    3) Is there a better way… for everything?
    Please please please bring this to my market. Ill let you know how this goes.

    Troubleshooter comes out, board not putting out 24v board is bad. here is the part number you need get it on xyz.com. You buy board and call me to install. I show up with screwdriver, install board, furnace still does not work. not my problem i am only the parts changer. troubleshooter comes back out, no 24v from board must have got a bad board. get new one. i come back out, install new board, still doesnt work. i leave, not my job to troubleshoot. troubleshooter comes back out, says man i cant believe two boards in a row are bad. guess these cheap chinese boards are not that good. lets get another one but lets order it from the american company at abc.com. board comes in i come back out and install, still no 24 volts. now were 2 weeks in and your pissed. all this money your saving but still no heat. Funny thing is, the board is not putting out 24v because the transformer is bad, but the troubleshooter never checked it.

    You think this is a made up story and would never happen right! our venture capitalist would hire the best troubleshooters and they would find the transformer bad!!! Well im hear to tell you, just this summer, i did a call behind a company that said the board was bad and it was really the transformer, and another call behind the 2nd largest company in my area, where they said the board was bad, and it was really a weed wacker hit the 24v line.

    So again, please do this in my town. I will gladly put on all the parts you provide me. Installing parts is super easy compared to troubleshooting. and im charging per part per visit, so if i get behind a bad troubleshooter, ill be raking in the cash.
    Last edited by jbhenergy; 10-11-2019 at 08:52 AM. Reason: cant spell, not enough coffee

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