Can you afford to buy cheap when it comes to air conditioning? Definitely not.
In today’s world, we as consumers are always looking to save money when we can, right? When we go to the grocery store, we buy the generics over name brands. We buy the off-brand laundry detergent. We may even buy the store brand cereals for our kids. Even the dog may get the less expensive dog food. But I am here to tell you that buying cheap when it comes to purchasing a new HVAC system is not a lesson customers want to learn the hard way.
What’s Your Message?
You have to consistently show the value of your services — why you are the professional in the area, why you are licensed, and why you will be around if there is a problem. If you don’t consistently promote these, potential buyers will treat your services like a retail outlet, and they will look for the low-cost option.
Let’s look at the facts:
Fact one: The average homeowner only purchases a new heating and air system 2.5 times in their lifetime.
Fact two: Your home’s heating and cooling is the most expensive appliance in your home.
Fact three: Air conditioning accounts for about 12% on your home’s annual energy costs in the Southeast. Hint: This does not include the heating side.
Fact four: Your home’s comfort system keeps your family comfortable year-round. The typical HVAC system runs two to three cycles per hour and these last 10-15 minutes each. So, let’s do some conservative math: Two cycles per hour at 10 minutes each; that’s 20 minutes per hour. We all know there are 24 hours in a day, but let’s be conservative and use 18 hours. Twenty minutes per hour times 18 hours = 360 minutes each day, or six hours per day. This is a conservative estimate. Newer HVAC systems that have multi-stage or variable outdoor units and/or indoor variable speed furnaces/air handlers are designed to run much longer and cycle less.
Fact five: Improperly installed hvac equipment can account for more than 30% more energy usage than necessary. This can mean bad ductwork, under or oversized equipment, improper refrigerant charge, or incorrect equipment matchup, to name a few.
It’s All About Choosing The Right Local Contractor
In the HVAC business, it is always about the proper installation. If we don’t consistently show our worth, we will continue to lose business. Unfortunately, these days almost anyone can purchase heating and cooling equipment online, even though you are required to be licensed in most states. You can take the best system and install it incorrectly, and you can have a disaster on your hands. This is why you need to show the consumer they must choose someone that has the experience and expertise to do the job properly.
Promote Your Credentials
You should talk about your company and its accomplishments. Your company should promote these things on your website, social media, your trucks, and your traditional advertising. How long has the company been in business? Push the consumer to take a look at the website on their potential service provider — does it look professional? Do they have one? Are they a “real” business? Tell them to check out their reviews: Google, social media, Better Business Bureau, etc.
Tell them to ask questions and do their due diligence. Tell them to ask the contractor: What is the best system for their home? Is it gas heat and electric air conditioning or a heat pump? What efficiency level are they recommending? How long do you plan to be in the home, and how many hours per day are you at your residence? Many people work from home, so that can make a big difference. Are they looking at the existing ductwork; does it need repair or replacing? Are they offering financing?
Work With a Real Business With A “Brick And Mortar” Location
Make sure they know to choose a contractor that will be there to back them up after the job has been completed, since the installation of a heating and air conditioning system is complex. This is why a contractor has to have and keep a license in order to do installations. They also must have insurance to safeguard their customer and their employees.
Here are two examples of what can happen when they try to save a few bucks.
Example One: You decide to use a friend of a friend. Your buddy tells you, “he’s great; he’s the best guy in the business.” He works for an HVAC company as his real job, and he moonlights on the side installing equipment for friends. He tells you he can save you $500-1,000 bucks on the job. So you have him do the installation. It works great for the first few days, and then it stops working. You call him back, and he says, “I’ll come by after work and take a look.” He comes by, and he gets you back up and running. Then it stops working again the next day. You call him back, and he won’t answer his phone or return your phone calls. So, what do you do? You call a licensed professional company. The one you should have called in the first place. They come and fix it, but they hand you a hefty bill for the repairs. Now you’ve paid more than you would have in the first place if you had contracted the reputable company to begin with.
Example Two: You purchase your equipment on the internet, sizing itself after researching on the Internet. You get the equipment and have that friend in the HVAC business install it. It works great the first night. The second day is another story. It stops working all together, and you have a newborn baby in the house. Now you’re panicking, so you call your friend, but the friend is too busy to come by after work. He’s working overtime at his day job. You plead with him to come out and see what’s wrong the following day. But then he has his tools stolen, so he can’t come and see what’s wrong with the system. So, back to example #1, you call a reputable local heating and air company. And here is what they tell you, “Sorry sir, but we don’t work on equipment purchased online by the homeowner.” Just a note here: this is a true story.
There are some things in life you can look to save a little money when purchasing. Heating and air conditioning is not one of them. You must promote that you are the local trusted contractor, tell them to check your credentials, look at your reviews, and ask for recommendations from them.