For a major home purchase we have been taught to get three estimates, maybe some referrals and if the lower priced guys are “in-line” with their pricing and the “gut-check” makes it feel ok to go with one of those competitive bids. Lets face it… if it’s a major brand and the price is right we’re buying cold air right? How much difference could there be between air conditioning systems?
There is a lot of truth in all of this but it is misses some pretty major elements of reality that most homeowners are just not aware of. Experience, customer service, and warranties are overused words but they take on new meaning when you are actually doing major surgery on arguably your most major financial investment. Comfort, convenience, and indoor air quality are a critical element in your quality of life as well.
We see a lot of crappy jobs that work ok. That is an issue but not the biggest issue. If it is the “right job” but is sloppy, well insulated and works ok maybe the best price is the best deal. That is not what concerns me although workmanship does matter. It’s the stuff you can’t see that will take you to the cleaners. It can destroy your budget, your comfort, your health, and your sanity and much of it is not in the three bid decision making process. It’s just not there and you need to ask some important questions that many companies do not address because they either don’t know or don’t care.
I am frustrated by that but on the other hand if the homeowners don’t care maybe I stress over this for no reason. I shake my head in despair when I see a nice piece of equipment and a nice installation in a totally inappropriate application. It happens all the time and I just don’t get it. Why would the homeowner allow that to happen? I think they just don’t know any better and often times these are smart, business savvy people who just don’t have the time or expertise to figure out what questions to ask and to recognize critical elements that where never even discussed.
So what should you ask that you don’t know you don’t know? I’ll discuss that in the follow-up article. Till then… “Stay Cool!”