The Homeowner's Guide to Hiring Service Contractors
How To Guarantee You Never Suffer By Hiring the Wrong Company
Nobody likes to have a negative experience with a service contractor when they need new equipment or repair work done on their home. However, it is a fact that tens of thousands of homeowners every year file complaints with the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, and other local business authorities because of negative experiences they had with a local service contractor.
Negative experiences with heating and air contractors usually occur in one of these three areas:
1. Problems with money or costs.
2. Problems with the quality of work performed.
3. Problems with the actual company employees who came to the house
Problem #1 - Problems with Money or Costs
The majority of heating and air contractors prepare their order forms with legal jargon that protects them and puts the homeowner at risk. For example, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to pay money upfront (i.e. a down payment) and then never have the job completed. If the company is not licensed and insured, then you’ll never get your money back. Furthermore, if you are not completely satisfied with the work that was done, or the equipment that was installed, you’ll probably never get your money back because the company is protected with legal loopholes in the order form that you signed. In order to protect yourself from these problems, you must do the following:
MONEY ISSUES – Never a Problem With Magnolia Heating and Cooling
To protect our customers from negative experiences involving their hard earned money, Magnolia Heating and Cooling, has implemented the following:
- We will not take any money upfront. You don’t pay for the job until you are completely satisfied.
- We don’t have any fine print on our order forms.
- We are fully licensed, bonded, and insured.
Problem #2 - Problems with Work Performed
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a service contractor to service your home while still leaving you unsatisfied. Usually, the problem is that the necessary repair goes unfixed, new equipment doesn’t live up to expectations, or it simply takes too long to make the repair. These problems typically come as a result of poor training, a lack of expertise, and the unavailability of parts. To avoid these problems, be sure to ask your contractor the following questions:
- What type of training do you give your employees?
- How many years of experience does your average technician have?
- Do you have your own parts warehouse?
Training is the most important responsibility of a quality service company. A respectable heating and air contractor will usually spend more than $12,000 per technician on expert training that continues on a monthly basis to ensure that their technicians live up to quality standards. Additionally, a technician should have at least 3 years of experience or more before they are allowed to work on your home. Finally, it’s critical that a company has their own parts warehouse so that they can finish your job as quickly as possible, even if you call late at night or on the weekends (when many parts suppliers are closed).
PERFORMANCE ISSUES – Never a Problem With Magnolia Heating and Cooling
We have one of the highest satisfaction rates in the industry! How do we accomplish this and maintain such incredible consistency? The answer is in our training and service processes. We have great training for all of our employees which includes:
- Understanding of engineering analysis and formulas so we can determine the BTU per hour of a furnace (only the gas company knows how to do this), and calculate how much you spend down to the penny per hour.
- Extensive training with industry experts and supply vendors including equipment manufacturers and consumer protection companies like the Better Business Bureau.
- We invest over $12,000 into each employee.
Furthermore, we offer a bona fide MONEY BACK Satisfaction Guarantee. If you are not
satisfied with your repair, we will give you a refund and if you’re not satisfied with the
performance of your new system from us, we’ll replace it at no charge!
Problem #3 - Problems with the Actual Employees Who Come to Your House
It’s a statistical fact that heating and air conditioning service and repair is the second most widely taught trade in prisons across the country (plumbing is number 1). What this means is that a huge percentage of service contractors who are entering into people’s homes are actually ex-cons who learned their trade while serving time in prison. As a homeowner, you need to not only protect your home, but also your family. Common complaints in the industry include technicians having bad hygiene, being inappropriately dressed, using profanity while working, leaving a mess in the house, and just plain making the homeowner feel uncomfortable. To avoid these problems, you must only work with a company who does a criminal background check and drug test on all employees. A reputable company will also have a standardized dress code and profanity ban to ensure that a peaceful and respectable environment remains in your home.
PROBLEMS WITH THE TECHNICIAN – Never a Problem With Magnolia Heating and Cooling
We protect each of our customers from any potential negative experience with an employee by being the only company certifying all of our technicians in the Code of Ethics and Competency Guide. This comprehensive guide protects the homeowner by qualifying each employee on 20 requirements including:
- A full background check, INS verification, and drug test on employee.
- A complete set of standards for dress, grooming, and hygiene.
- A strict ban on the use of profanity, tobacco (if one of our employees profanity or tobacco during a service call, we will pay you $100).
When A Guarantee Is Not A Guarantee
The term “guarantee” is used so often today that it can mean just about anything. For example, 3 different companies can all offer you a “Satisfaction Guarantee,” but when problems arise after the work is done, you get 3 different responses. For example:
- Company A guarantees your satisfaction, so they come back to your house to try to fix the problem and then charge you for upgrades or other repairs. Translation — they guarantee they’ll keep coming back until you get sick of calling them.
- Company B tells you to contact the manufacturer. Translation — they guarantee that they’ll pass the buck off to the manufacturer, who may or may not solve the problem to your satisfaction.
- Company C actually returns to your home to solve the problem, and if you are not satisfied with your service, they offer you a refund to ensure you do not lose any money and if you’re not satisfied with the performance of your newly purchased system, they’ll replace it at no charge. Translation — an actual bona fide MONEY BACK Satisfaction Guarantee.
Since Companies A, B, and C will all use the term “guarantee,” it’s important for you to ask the following 2 questions before you hire a service contractor:
- Can you please explain your satisfaction guarantee to me?
- If I’m not satisfied, will you actually give me a refund to ensure that I do not lose any money? Will you replace a poorly performing new system?
Don’t do business with a company that will not guarantee their work with bona fide, money back, Total Satisfaction Guarantee.
An Unbelievable Fact That You NEED To Know
Did you know that it is actually possible to have a lien put against your home simply because you hired the wrong heating and air conditioning contractor? Not only is this true, but it actually happens right here in California more times than you’d want to believe. The reason for this is simple—if a contractor does not pay for their equipment upfront before they install it in your home, the manufacturer of the equipment has the right to put a lien against your house in order to receive payment. If this happens to you, you’ll be forced to pay for your equipment twice!
The only way to ensure this does not happen to you is to work with a company that is a “cash-liquid” company meaning that they own every single piece of equipment that they install. To protect yourself, ask your contractor if they actually own the equipment they are installing in your house, or if they are using payment terms with their suppliers.
Checklist — Ask the following 11 Homeowner Protection Questions
Before you hire a service contractor to work on your heating and air conditioning system, be sure to use this checklist and ask the following questions to avoid any potential negative experiences: