After doing business for a decades now in the Phoenix area we’ve seen the gambit of services that are provided to the heating and cooling market. Some HVAC companies do very good work, they’re knowledgeable about the systems they are working on, they are honest about their diagnosis and assessment of the circumstances, and others . . . not so much. Of course, we are rarely if ever on site when our competitors are there providing the service, but we can certainly see what they leave behind. Even years later a mistake can be clearly apparent because we’re called out to fix a problem that should not have happened or the system just wasn’t properly maintained. We also hear plenty of horror stories from customers, and the one thing that is absolutely consistent is that people like to save money. So here are 5 guidelines to help you save money when selecting an HVAC company in the Phoenix area (or anywhere really)
1 Understand The Difference Between Value & Price
As the famous quote goes, “price is what you pay, value is what you get”. You may also have heard “you get what you pay for.” Budget is always an issue when needing HVAC services, and there is only so much that can be done with a minimal budget. Yet, it’s also important to consider the long-term value of what you’re paying for. After all, an air conditioning unit is supposed to last for 10 years or more. If you select one that only last 5 years but you pay more than half the price of a quality alternative, then you didn’t ultimately save money. That’s not even considering whether the unit helps you save money on energy bills. Even more so, a good HVAC company will provide the proper maintenance so that the unit could even last 20 years or more. That’s the difference between value and price. If you select the cheapest HVAC company with the cheapest units available, then you will end up paying for it over time.
On the flip side, you don’t want to select the most expensive HVAC company thinking that you’ll save more over time because it’s the highest quality you can get. There are definitely other factors to consider. Unfortunately the highest priced systems are not always the highest quality. Also, there are plenty of HVAC companies who overcharge for their services and still make the sales with high pressure sales people.
The idea is to look for quality that is also affordable. Not the cheapest, not the most expensive, but the one that offers the best value. You might pay a little more than the cheapest units, but you know over time you saved the most because the unit will last as long as it should.
2 Don’t Select HVAC Companies That Sell A New Unit With Every Dispatch As A General Practice.
This is one we see pretty often. Some HVAC competitors will suggest a new unit with every dispatch as a matter of general policy and procedure. Like any piece of mechanical equipment, the many parts of an air conditioning unit allow the salesperson to come up with all sorts of reasons why a unit should be replaced. Since it generally costs more to replace a unit than to repair one, this improves the bottom line for the HVAC company at your expense.
3 Don’t Select HVAC Companies Who Overcharge You By Ignoring The Warranty.
Quite often the warranty will cover certain parts and labor but not others. Imagine a smaller part that is part of a larger part. If the warranty covers the smaller part but not the larger part, the HVAC company may still recommend replacing the larger part because its a more expensive part and they make more money that way. Since they are suggesting something that is not covered by warranty, that means it would have to come out of your pocket.
4 Be Wary Of The Free Dispatch
This particular point could make Gateway look bad since we offer free estimates, but we do it the right way, so let’s explain.
It is not uncommon or even unfair for a home services company (plumbing, HVAC, whatever) to charge a $100 dispatch fee regardless of why they are coming to your home. A lot of customers don’t like it, especially when they have to pay it just to see what is wrong and that doesn’t include the actual service. But that is indeed what it costs the company to send the dispatch (maybe even more as gas prices and other factors fluctuate).
So different companies may handle this in different ways. Some will offer the free estimate but they will add it on the price of their services to make up the difference. And it might be a blanket addon for all their customers. So even though it’s not itemized in your bill, you and everyone who actually hires the company could be paying for the free dispatches of those who don’t hire the company.
Other companies may offer the free estimate but they will avoid the actual dispatch whenever possible. They may even ask you to send them photos. What these companies have to be careful about is what the photos or verbal descriptions don’t catch. They could potentially provide a quote and then have to change the quote once they more thoroughly diagnose the unit, and often customers don’t like surprises. For some companies and situations this is a legitimate change, others may use the opportunity to charge more than previously stated.
Gateway Heating & Cooling offers free estimates, even in-person estimates in that we we waive the dispatch fee if you move forward with the repair or replacement. If you decide not to move forward then the dispatch fee is normally $65. We do not overcharge or add to the service to make up for the cost of providing a free dispatch. We simply want to provide you with the low-risk opportunity to experience the excellent customer service we always try to provide.
5 Select An HVAC Company That Actually Knows What They Are Doing.
Obviously if the HVAC company doesn’t properly install, repair or maintain your unit then it won’t last as long or work to keep your home comfortable as efficiently.
The old saying that “it’s difficult to find good help these days” is more true than can be adequately expressed in words. If you ever hear a business owner say that it’s because they are actually knowledgeable and service oriented. It means it’s hard for them to find technicians who provide a service to their standard and they don’t want to lower that standard for you or anyone else.
Contact Gateway Heating & Cooling
There is an apparent paradox that comes with this article. It suggests things like “select an HVAC company that knows what they’re doing” and “don’t select ones that are dishonest” because, yeah, these are the situations that will cause you more cost and trouble down the road, but how the heck are you supposed to know? You’re supposed to be able to rely on the advice an expert, but if you’re not an expert then how can you trust them to know what they say is accurate? We hope that by candidly stating best practices for HVAC companies it helps you trust that we do our best to follow those best practices. We know that by stating it, it makes us more accountable to it and when you call us you’ll see that we live up to it. So if you have any heating and cooling needs whatsoever, contact Gateway Heating & Cooling today.