Less Isn’t More (Part 2 – Pointers from the Cat)
In part one of my article, I told a sad story of a homeowner who thought she was getting more for less, then found out that there were hidden costs that drove the final price up. In this article (part two), I’m going to impart some of my famous feline wisdom and offer pointer on how to review quotes (compare information) and select a contractor:
· Obviously, (as illustrated in the story in part one) a lower initial quote doesn’t mean a lower final cost. Ask what’s included in the quoted price. Beware that sometimes an exceptionally low price is quoted to guarantee that they get in the door – then you are pressured to buy all kinds of services and repairs that you really don’t need.
· A good contractor will differentiate between what is recommended because they feel it’s prudent and what is recommended because it’s necessary. A great contractor will always stop and pet the cat.
· Before you get a bid (or bids) for a project, write down (for yourself) what you are looking for – scope of the project, quality of equipment and quality of installation. Share this with your prospective contractor(s) on the front end so that the proposal they put together meets those requirements.
· Consider that a quality, well established contractor that has a reputation of standing behind their work and that uses quality products and materials is probably not going to be the least expensive. With established contractors, there is a fairly strong correlation between what you pay and what you get.
· If you do schedule multiple interviews, review the quotes for what each contractor has outlined as the scope. If one contractor is including something and another is not, find out if the item is really necessary.
· Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If the contractor doesn’t want to give you an answer, it may be a clue that you don’t want to do business with them.
· Get referrals from family, friends, co-workers and services like Angie’s List. Be cautious about open-forum online reviews – there’s no one monitoring the posts. Companies will sometimes post bogus positive reviews about themselves, and bogus negative reviews about their competitors. Monitored forums like Angie’s List help insure the integrity and truth of the review.
· There are benefits to researching and selecting a good contractor initially, then being loyal. If your unit fails on the hottest or coldest day of the year, you will definitely have a better place in line if you’ve consistently dealt with one company.
· Most importantly, you need to be able to trust your contractor. If you don’t feel they are honest and have integrity, consider selecting a different contractor (if he doesn’t have a cat on staff, I wouldn’t trust him further than you could spit a rat).
In part three (the final part) of this article, I’ll be giving you 10 things to consider when buying a heating and cooling system.