Beware the “Available” HVAC Contractor When Others Are Busy
Sometimes getting something for nothing isn't such a great thing. Beware companies that can offer you that.
As you may have noticed, it’s hot outside! When the heat becomes unbearable INSIDE your home, you start to price out solutions. A possible solution would be a central air conditioning system. You call a few local HVAC companies and not surprisingly they are busy, its hard to get an appointment, and they are booked 3 weeks out on installs. You finally find “Joe Bob’s Heating” who says he can get you set up by tomorrow with AC in your lovely home. The price seems fair and he is quick to respond so you sign on the dotted line. Next summer rolls around and your perfect AC system is making a lot of noise and isn’t cooling the house down like it used to. You call Joe Bob and find his number is no longer in service, his website is gone, and a quick search of the Better Business Bureau reveals he went out of business . . . likely due to his low cost installs that he was doing to try and keep his business afloat last summer. You then find out, he didn’t pull a permit for his work, he didn’t wire the electrical safely, and he didn’t register the equipment for you so you are stuck with a bad AC unit on its last legs that is a safety hazard and no other HVAC companies want to touch it because it would need costly repairs or full replacement because who knows what else he did wrong when installing it.
JD from Redwood City, California requested us to do some ductwork on her rental during the busy winter months. We sent out an installer free of charge to take a look and estimate the labor needed. She said our bid was above her budget so we worked out a solution that would fit her needs and presented the alternative. Several of our longtime customers were out of heat with non-functioning furnaces and we unfortunately had to tell her we were not equipped to do the work for her at this time. She was verbally abusive to our sales person even accusing her of trying to overcharge her because we lowered our price after she complained and left us a nasty review on Yelp with an altered version of the story. While the stinky Yelp review was a first, this is not an unusual occurrence for a potential customer to get angry and threaten us to drop everything, do immediate work at a bargain basement price. As a matter of fact it will happen a number of times every time it gets cold.
This blog is to tell you about the business conditions we face every year and why we do things the way we do. There are four driving factors in how we operate our company with respect to seasonality:
Workforce is limited:
- We are overstaffed in mild weather, and understaffed in hot or cold weather; we cannot afford to keep lots of people busy when weather is mild so we are understaffed in weather crunch.
- Murphy’s Law – weather extremes also mean cold and flu season for techs, techs also leave for higher paying offers as this is the season they have the most leverage for pay.
- Techs are highly skilled and hard to find; when it is cold you use who you have because you cannot find others who are any good, and pay them overtime.
“Make hay while sun shines”:
- Many months we do not make money; too slow, too much overhead. We have to make money when our customers need us the most when it is hot or cold.
- We cannot afford ‘great deals’ at this time, we are like the ‘squirrels who need to find nuts for the winter’.
We reward loyal customers:
- We get the most calls from people who did not use us before when it turns cold, we have to put them on overtime and make them wait so we can serve our long term customers.
- Frequently we also get calls from people who bought replacement furnaces from others who were cheaper, but have no overhead or manpower to handle problems during the busy season. We tell them we cannot come out to fix their system and that they need to wait for their original provider (if they ever come).
- We also get calls on others ‘extended warranty programs’ with Trane and other manufacturers that assure us we will get paid by the manufacturer. We do not go on any of these calls as the manufacturer never fully pays us for the work provided (maybe 50% or our costs).
“We reserve right to refuse service to anyone”:
- Everyone has seen this restaurant sign, same goes at our company.
- If you are abusive to our employees, especially during our busy season, you do not get served.
Heating & Air Conditioning Q/A
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"Evergreen State Heating & AC was a great team. Very caring & courteous from first service call to final installation. Thank you!"
Gas Furnace Replacement
Jennifer B. of Everett, WA