HVAC Ripoff Warning
This post is about two common HVAC ripoff tactics known as; “The $19.99 Special” & ” The Free Service Call”.
Hi Folks, my name is Jason Schreyer. As President of Sunset Air and Home Services, located in Fort Myers, Florida, I am fortunate to have made my livelihood in the HVAC business. I started in the HVAC industry back in 1987. I have worked in all aspects of the HVAC industry, as a business owner, for nearly 20 years. With 30 years of HVAC experience, I feel I am qualified to warn the consumer about deceptive practices in the HVAC industry.
Not So Special Offer
A few AC Companies out there feel they can manipulate their way into your home with a special offer. Two of the most common “foot in the door” tactics are; “The $19.99 Special” & ” The Free Service Call”.
The saying ” If is too good to be true…” has been around for many decades. My grandmother told me this, and her grandmother told her. Some things are just too good to be true. Sadly, that saying still applies today, probably more than ever.
My intent is to educate the consumer by stating only the true facts behind certain “special offers” a handful of companies are advertising. This is not just about air conditioning companies, this is about any offer that is “to good to be true”. At the end of the day, it is up to you to make your own decision on who you want in your home. I hope this article will help you make the right choice.
The Sales Technician
So what’s the catch behind these “to good to be true” offers? It is a proposition to just get in your home. Yes, it is a scam.
Most likely, a well dressed SALESPERSON disguised as an AC Technician will arrive at your home. In many cases, this salesperson will have no idea how to repair or diagnose your AC System. They have been trained to know the air conditioning “language”. No training on how to make repairs. Just learning the names of the components, how those components operate, and fail. That is it! No technical training what so ever.
Often, the company offering the “Sales Technician” jobs are employing people on a commission only basis. They are sent to your home with only one thing in mind, SELL, SELL ,SELL. Selling anything and everything they can to receive the largest commission possible. Regardless of what it is, or whether you need it or not.
A True AC Technician
It takes several years for an individual to become a True AC Technician. A true AC Service Technician has completed 1 year of classroom instruction. Then, an additional 3 years of on the job training, learning from a Senior AC Technician.
Technical school training does help, but on the job training is the ONLY way a person can get the experience needed to become a technician that you would want in your home. Working on a customer’s air conditioning and heating equipment requires a trust that must be earned.
A seasoned AC Technician possesses, and knows how to use, all of the tools needed to properly diagnose any AC Unit. Additionally, they will know if the equipment and duct work are installed within the manufacturer’s design criteria.
Fact: A company MUST make a profit to stay in business. That’s business 101, no secret there.
The business must bring in more money than it invests in employee salaries & benefits, fleet operations & maintenance, office equipment & administrative personnel, …more on this later.
With all this said, a company cannot afford to have a technician drive to your home and do work for “$19.99” or for “FREE”. This business model does not work, will not work, and has NEVER worked.
The Cost Of Doing Business
None of the AC Companies advertising a “free service call” are giving you that call for free. They simply can not. To operate any AC Company, the cost of doing business is substantial. Therefore, the Free Service Call companies simply build this cost into the price of the repair. You think you are saving the service call charge, but you are not.
There is another old saying: “Nothing is FREE”. Unfortunately, this one is true as well. Below is a partial list of the cost of doing business in the HVAC industry**.
- Average hourly wage for a seasoned technician: $23.42/ hour.
- Fuel for service technician vehicle: $.29/mile, or $4.35 per call based on a round trip of 15 miles
- Average truck expense per day (wear and tear / maintenance) is approximately $15.00
- Auto insurance cost per truck per day is approximately $12.00
- Liability insurance per Technician per day – $9.00
- Workman’s compensation per employee per day is $12.00
A total of $75.77 just to get an AC Technician to your home! With these numbers in mind, it is obvious that no company could possibly survive charging only $19.99, much less for FREE. If a company does not tell you they have an upfront diagnostic or trip charge, they are not being truthful with you.
Is the $19.99 special, or the free service call too good to be true? You decide.
Enough about them, let’s talk about us… The only employee’s we will ever send to your home are true AC Technicians. Trained to diagnosis, repair, and replace parts and equipment with honesty and integrity. Our technicians are not paid solely on commission, therefore, they do not up-sell products the homeowner does not need.
Our AC Technicians use the many resources available to find the best repair or replacement alternatives for our customers. They all have to pass an extensive knowledge test of current state and local code requirements and best installation practices. Additionally, they are EPA certified. EPA certification is another way for our technicians to better serve our customers, in a responsible way.
I hope that this information has been educational and will assist you and your family in making decisions which effect your home.
Sunset Air and Home Services, Inc.
**Please be advised this information was calculated on information obtained by actual company figures from 2016. All companies are not created equal, therefore, figures used in this example are not what every company will incur throughout a one year period. The basis of this example is set by average figures obtained by year end accounting totals. In order to protect the company(s) this information was obtained from, the company(s) will not be mentioned. A portion of the accounting was calculated by using less or more employees, trucks, or overhead to find average cost factor. All companies involved in determining these figures gave full permission to use data supplied by their company.