Air Conditioner and Furnace installation tips
Many homeowners are faced with the need to replace their home’s comfort system rather unexpectedly. The amount of information to decipher and the confusion associated with differentiating the appliance form the installation methods/ materials can give a homeowner a headache. If there are two people I would pay good money to travel back in time and slap silly they are as follows:
1) The person that coined the phrase “free estimates”
2) The person that decided you needed at least three of them.
(If these were the same person it would save me some travel expenses! If I had to pick a third it would be myself every ten minutes between 17 and 24 years of age….what was I thinking?)
There is nothing “free” to either party in a “free estimate”. Both parties have to invest their valuable time and sometimes resources like cookies (my favorite) and bottles of water. If you are the contractor your gas, paper, pens, admin time, etc. Then you have all of the information.
How can three contractors really come up with three different sizes of units for the same home? How can the homeowner verify anything that they say is true? Does a homeowner have any way of knowing that every manufacturer makes three or four different quality platforms of the same product boasting the same features and warranty? This is truly the dumbest concept ever created by man. Smart consumers have a contractor they trust when the time comes to replace because the same intelligent humans have usually been using that contractor EVERY YEAR to perform preventive maintenance and a good tune-up.
That being said, let’s talk about a concept I call “leveraging your labor dollar”. When you purchase any item that requires installation you pay for several things that are fixed costs. For example: Labor to install includes the workers hourly wage, benefit package, and all of the companies overhead divided by the number of hours they have for sale. Another example is profit percentage- not a dirty word, without profit who will still be around to honor your warranty?
Then there are the variable expenses:
1) The number of associated items the contractors have decided are important enough to include with the installation of the appliance for safety and reliability. This only varies by contractor, every one of their installations will be generally the same. Guess what, the cheapest bid is also the “cheapest” contractor. It only includes whatever is absolutely necessary to get in and out as fast as possible. Then, whenever there is a warranty call it is always going to be one of those unnecessary parts that failed and you get billed. Shame on that contractor? Or shame on you, consumer with the ability to make good choices on the front end?
2) The second variable is the quality of the “box” installed. The better the quality of the appliance, or “box”, the longer it will last. It will also make less noise, consume less energy, provide better comfort, have the smallest carbon footprint, and deliver better indoor air quality. Generally, the highest quality box is only a small number of dollars more than the baseline investment. The time it takes to recover the difference is two to five years. Plus it gives you something to brag about when you take your home to market.
This is where it all ties together. You are going to buy a box from the contractor that actually performs a computerized load calculation and does a good quality, safe installation that makes him or her responsible 100% for your satisfaction. Feed the rest of them to your dog.
So the installation does not change, the profit margin does not change, the labor and overhead recovery does not change. Just the box changes.
That is exactly the point. Your dollar, paid to have the unit installed, is the same if you buy the crappy box as if buy the best box, so you need to leverage your labor dollar to achieve the largest return on investment.
If you were going to pay a professional chef prepare a meal for you and your loved ones would you go out and buy hot dogs?
Those who make good decisions always get ahead, those who continue to make good decision always stay ahead.
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- In-Home Consultation
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