How to Choose the Right HVAC Company To Fit Your Needs
When it comes to maintaining your home’s air conditioning and heating system, having the right partner makes a difference. In general, HVAC firms have different ways of making themselves stand out in the market. Some thrive by doing a lot of publicity and focussing on volume sales. Others prioritize lasting, meaningful relationships, so that they can prioritize quality, personalized service. Both types of companies can can install, repair and maintain your air conditioner and heater but what are the tradeoffs and which type of company should you choose?
What Personalized Attention Really Looks Like
If you are looking for a concierge-type of service, a smaller, family-owned firm may be the way to go. Watch for them to really listen to what your needs and wants are. You likely won’t be talking to a sales representative; you’ll be speaking to the owner, who installs and repairs equipment and runs the business. You’ll receive their personal attention and expert opinion about how to save money, how to pick higher-efficiency equipment, which technologies to invest in and which to avoid, and how to decide whether to repair or purchase new equipment. They can help you navigate warranty options, filing the manufacturer’s equipment warranty and optional extended labor warranty as well. It may take more time, but this type of customized service aims to meet your needs by presenting options and giving you the information you need so you can make an informed decision about what you’d like to do. If you are talking to a firm and they seem pushy or always advise replacement, they may looking more at their sales quotas rather than your pocketbook.
Why Quotes Over the Phone Are Risky
HVAC firms that operate on commission or rely on volume sales nearly always advise replacement. They do this because it’s the easiest solution between point A and B. It’s not always the best solution for the customer, it’s almost never the cheapest, and it can be less environmentally friendly and wasteful, too. On the other hand, smaller firms like to take the time to find out what your needs are first. Do you need new equipment or can it be repaired? Is your air conditioning equipment sized correctly? Are you having any persistent comfort problems in certain areas of your house now? How long will you be staying in your house? Do you rent or own? Answers to these questions can lead HVAC firms to offer different solutions.
If new equipment is the decision, we like to give a thorough, interactive estimate with multiple options including photos and model number of the equipment, energy efficiency ratings, warranty information, and hyperlinks to the manufacturer’s specifications page. This way customers have the time to consider the options, look at more information online, ask the questions that come up, and not feel pressured. The best time to do this is in the off-season when the weather is cooler.
Beware of generic bids from other firms that don’t specify the details and scrutinize bids other firms may give you over the phone. Over the years, we have heard stories from customers about “bait-and-switch” tactics. Customers told us they thought they were getting medium- or premium-level equipment but instead they received entry-level equipment. A thorough quote can help make that entire process transparent but it normally cannot be done over the phone. We like to visit the home and with the homeowner and see the equipment to make sure the HVAC system we specify is right for the job. In the end, it makes for more seamless transaction.
Partnerships That Last
Smaller firms thrive on long-term relationships. This is why it pays for them to educate customers, listen for what they need, educate them on the choices and then let them decide about what HVAC equipment options will work best for their situation and budget. The company you choose should be able to tell you if they operate on commission or if they offer flat-rate pricing. Those that operate on commission are going to be incentivized to prioritize sales. Knowing that in advance can be helpful. Flat-rate pricing on the other hand refers to pricing based on national book-rates. It makes pricing an installation or repair easier and it incentivizes efficiencies. Terry’s A/C and Heating, which is a smaller, family-owned company, wants to keep its customers for life which is why we are dedicated to ensuring the longevity of your HVAC system whether we are installing, servicing, or providing maintenance.
Call Us for a Quote or Advice
If you live on the West side of Houston, Sugar Land, Katy or Richmond and are looking for an HVAC partner for the long-term, call Rob Terry of Terry’s A/C and Heating at 281-495-7830. A Carrier Factory-Authorized Dealer and family-owned business, we have been serving multi-generations of families in the Houston area to keep them comfortable all year long. Find out how we are different from other firms and what our customers say about our service. We welcome your referrals and would be honored to earn your business.