Pitfalls of the Dreaded “Sales Call” – Avoid Contractors Who Use These Tactics
Your time is valuable. Make sure to avoid contractors who use these scare tactics to get you to buy. Look for quality and watch out for the "rule-of-thumbers."
When faced with buying a new heating and cooling system most homeowners have the same fear . . . buying the wrong thing or choosing the wrong company. Having a person across the kitchen table whose main goal it get you to BUY SOMETHING TODAY can be intimidating or off-putting. How do you choose the right company? How do you know you are buying the right system and not just what the salesperson needs to sell to meet a quota? Here are a few red flags to look out for during your in-home consultation.
- “If you call me by Friday and place your order I’ll give you the upgraded system for no charge/knock off 10%.” – Desperate times. If a salesperson offers you an early buying discount it could mean they are desperate for work. When an HVAC company is slow they aren’t able to keep their installers busy. They have to either lay them off or sell systems for cheap to keep the business going. As a homeowner you need to be aware that this may cause poor workmanship or eventually that great deal won’t be so appealing when the company isn’t in business anymore and your warranty work will need to be done by another contractor who was able to stay in business because they kept their pricing competitive.
- Unadvertised discounts. This is a piggyback off of #1. You should get the best price the first time. Look out for “loyal customer” discounts if this is your first time dealing with a company. If they give you a manufacturer rebate or honor an advertised discount like “10% off for Angies List members” that is one thing but a salesperson can easily offer all kinds of reductions in price to incentivize you to buy. Truth is, you don’t know his starting price. $3,000 for a furnace sounds nice but 10% off would be great! But maybe $2,700 was the actual starting price and he just inflated it to show you a nicer bottom line.
- “Oh you are getting a bid from Company XYZ? You know they sell cheap equipment and their owner is blah, blah, blah” – Any contractor that talks poorly about their competition rests on very loose moral ground. If they are open to bad mouthing other companies they may be open to other gray areas like not getting a permit or using unqualified labor for your installation.
- Their bid is missing pieces. i.e. electrical, permits, filtration, duct test, CO2 detector, etc. In some cases these may be add-ons that aren’t required for your particular installation but they should disclose that to you. There should be no surprises when it comes to signing the bottom line. Permits can be a hassle but it’s our hassle and our duty to get them. Any company willing to skirt the law could be willing to skirt the details on your system installation as well. Ask yourself what they may be trying to hide by not getting a permit.
- Salesperson is late/no show/won’t return calls. You should be looking for a company this is organized enough to make you a priority. They call if they are running late. Give you enough notice if they have to reschedule an appointment or installation. Return calls and emails promptly and with professionalism. These are things you should expect from a quality company that respects your time.
- The “rule of thumb” policy: Measurements for ductwork & heating or cooling rely on precise calculations and measurements. Following the “rule of thumb” never guarantees your home’s unique needs will be met for whole home comfort. To be as accurate as possible with equipment recommendations, a professional HVAC contractor must use the Manual J Engineering Load Calculation outlined in the International Residential Code Book. This entails measuring your windows, doors, square footage, insulation levels, etc. A “quick count of floor registers” doesn’t count as a load calculation.
- The salesperson doesn’t listen or talks down to you. Your home, family, and budget is unique and should be treated as such. No one system will fit every situation. There should be a thorough conversation before any measurements are taken or prices are given that allows you to express your individual comfort concerns. If a salesperson pops open the lid of your furnace and jots down a few things before sliding a bid across the table to you, beware. HVAC terminology is plenty and confusing at times. You should not need to become an HVAC professional in order to buy a furnace or heat pump. Just do a good job of interviewing the company and make sure you select someone that has your individual interests in mind and selects a system that is a perfect fit and has qualified installers to put it in right the first time.
If you are frustrated with any of these scenarios give us a call for a quality in-home consultation that will leave you feeling satisfied you picked the right company. 425-252-3114 and ask for Mike to set up an appointment and see if we are the right fit.
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"I had a great experience! When Rich came out it was one of the worst weather days I have seen in a while. On top of that, the area in which my furnace was in, was small and tight. A difficult job. It was a Friday, and even with all of the frustration, Rich finished the job with nothing but professionalism."
Gas Furnace Installation
HVAC System:Trane Gas Furnace
Lisa E. of , WA