I confess; it has been a year since my last oil change. I know it is terrible for the car, especially my 2000 Chevy Cavalier, but time just got away from me. One day a few weeks ago I quickly pulled into an oil change place and asked how much. The $40 price tag for basic service threw me off. It may not sound like a lot in your region, but I am used to paying somewhere around $20 to $25. I was in a hurry, so I told the guy to go ahead and change the oil.

As I sat there, I wondered why it cost so much. I considered that it was a larger brand establishment than I normally go to, and then I considered that maybe they did a better, more thorough job of changing the oil and checking the car. Somewhat satisfied with my reasoning, I patiently waited.

Once finished, the serviceman came and went over a checklist of what had been done to my car. Not one item on that list was any different than the place I usually go to that charges me $25. Irritated, I paid the $40 and silently vowed to never return.

My experience made me think about how customers who have dealt with several different HVAC contractors may feel about getting a higher bill from one as compared to the other. As an industry, we discuss the importance of selling service, certification, and value as a way to increase profits.

After having experienced the gouge of a pricey oil change, however, I would suggest that perhaps the industry should be sure to continue considering the customer as well. Just because you can charge a certain price doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good idea. Ask yourself, “How many of my customers have paid the bill and never called me back?”