In my opinion, the bottom line about replacing your air conditioning and heating system, is that you as an average homeowner don’t have the experience to know whether or not the contractor you have hired do the work will actually do the work. A perfect example of this fact is that while I am really mechanically inclined -I took three years of auto class in high school, I have rebuilt and installed lots of engines and I do all most all of the work on my own vehicles, I am helpless when it comes to the transmission. I don’t have the tools or the know how to do the repairs to my transmission so I hired a company out of the phone book to do the repair and found myself in a position of having to get it done asap.
I paid $2,250 for the repair and for them to install a transmission cooler. A few days after the vehicle came home, the transmission failed again. I called the company and they came all the way to Sacramento to get it. The next day I called the transmission company and spoke with the owner – who said that this time he was going to do the work himself. Later that day, he called me to tell me that the kid he had do the work did not do the work as specified by him and that he wanted to do the repair again, so my truck is in the shop and I am renting a car.
This same scenario plays out over and over again in the heating and cooling industry, home owners are forced to trust that not only does the contractor know what he is doing, but that his employees are doing the work as specified and are using the best installation techniques known. That they have chosen and sold you the best piece of equipment that fits your needs, not just the cheapest product they could get that offers them the highest profit margins and not the fastest possible installation techniques which require the least amount of effort.
Unfortunately for home owners a lot of the work that is done in their home, takes place in the sub floor or attic areas or in areas where the home owner can not view the work being done and in fact a lot of times the home owner them self is not interested in making sure that the contractor is doing the work properly, nor in most cases is the home owner even qualified to recognize whether the installation is being done properly.
This is the primary reason that a lot of homeowners feel so skeptical about who they are hiring. No one wants to get burned, be taken advantage of or have someone cheat them out of work. You want to feel good about your purchase, be able to rely on your new system with out any doubt and you want to make sure you get the best possible system at the best possible price, this I can say with certainty. I’m sure you want to know that if the system fails, that your contractor will immediately get to your home within reason and take care of the problem at no cost to you for as long as possible.
Unfortunately for you as a home owner when you ask the contractor for a list of referrals, you are going to receive a list of customers that the contractor wants you to see. I highly doubt that the contractor would ever give you an unedited list of their customers for the past few years that you could randomly go through and call or write to and ask the customer how well they liked their installation. No your contractor is going to put their best foot forward and try to eliminate the possibility of you finding out any negative information about them at all. It makes sense that they would from a stand point of trying to get your business. You will be hard pressed to find the right contractor and you may find it too much to do in – depth research on both the product and the contractor.
This is where homeowners who get burned by contractors generally fail and make a bad decision, not because they generally make bad choices but rather because they lack the know how to locate a quality contractor who does what he says he’s going to do, has the training and know how to do the work properly and does not intend to take the home owner to the bank. Chances are if your contractor does a huge amount of phone book advertising, runs really large advertisements in the news papers, runs large mail out campaigns, does telemarketing or just has a large advertising presence in your area – that their might be at least some people out there who have a major problem with the work, the workmanship or the product that was sold to them by this contractor.
Most air conditioning and heating contractors follow the buying customers model – in that they don’t focus so much on satisfying their existing customer base to a point that the customer diligently does word of mouth advertising for them. They don’t make sure that they do their entire job with quality and diligence – but rather they run large amounts of marketing and advertising to brand their name in your area in order to get recognized and to build their name so that when you need a system you will have heard their name enough that you will remember them, look for them and call them out for an estimate. This is crucial point in your choice and an important step that many people have taken in the wrong direction that has led them them to make a decision to purchase from a company they really know nothing about. That’s where they get into trouble. My next article titled Air Conditioning and Heating Decisions will help you make an informed choice.