Great question. And a question that we get asked...all the time. Let us first assure you that not giving you a quote over the phone for HVAC service is not an attempt to be sneaky, slimy or unethical. It’s actually the opposite. The reason we don’t give an HVAC service quote over the phone is so our customers never question our integrity or commitment to getting the job done right.
Let us explain the reasons why it’s inappropriate and against our normal process to provide a quote over the phone.
There are so many unknown variables that can impact the job that simply can’t be described over the phone. Think of this way—would you call an auto repair shop from the side of the road, tell them your car won’t start and ask “what’s wrong with it and how much will it cost to fix it?”. No, you probably wouldn’t.
There are a number of diagnostic tests that need to be performed to really find the root of the problem. As service professionals, we try to avoid both extremes: telling you the problem is a simple fix, and being too domsday-ish and telling you the problem is huge and you should just sell your home. Neither one of these approaches is helpful, because the majority of HVAC service issues fall somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.
A thoughtful approach not only gives you a fair price, but a realistic timeframe. If you are provided an estimate for a new water heater installation, the technician could arrive to see that the furnace needs to be moved first, or your old equipment had a unique connection that doesn’t match newer models. That’ll need to be ordered. If they even make it anymore. You can be certain that these discoveries will push back your project completion date. Extensions on the schedule are areas of concern for both customers and technicians—so we work to avoid them.
When we visit your home, we get the necessary amount of context. So your AC unit is working really hard but your home is not cooling down. Maybe we decide to take a look at your air filter, and while we’re at your home we notice 3 dog beds and a cat scratching post. The number of pets in your home changes the way you maintain your HVAC system air filter.
A visit speaks a thousand words. Let’s say your unit is making a funny noise when it operates. When we ask what the noise sounds like—you’d be surprised how many different variations we can get over the phone. We’re sorry to say, but it’s not often super helpful unless it’s a massive clanging noise that sounds just dreadful. While we can ask a vast number of questions over the phone, there are just things about each individual system and situation that can’t be described using words.
We appreciate your help in solving the problem. Our customers are the Watson to our Sherlock sometimes. And we mean it when we say we appreciate how much detail you provide over the phone when calling in. Trust us when we say that your information is helpful, but we still need to visit the home to give an accurate quote.
If nothing else, let this post serve as our philosophy behind our trusted process and an illustration of our commitment to a job done right. By not providing a quote over the phone for many complex service jobs, it is our team’s due diligence to making sure we provide an accurate dollar figure and schedule. We know that when those items are wrong, that provides so much frustration from a customer perspective.
You can count on the HVAC and plumbing professionals of John C. Flood to give an honest, fair estimate for work being performed in your home. Call us at (703) 783-0247 or schedule service online for an accurate, professional estimate.