As Summer quickly approaches and HVAC maintenance coupons infiltrate mailboxes, homeowners start scheduling their AC tune-ups with a first-come, first-served mentality. We’ve all seen the commercials on TV or social media ads with low-cost offers for a Spring air conditioning tune-up, furnace check-up or a seasonal maintenance. A $49 tune-up may sound like a great deal that will save you money, but first, take a moment to understand the back story for such low offers.
The HVAC industry is home to many hardworking professionals who want to serve their customers well. Unfortunately, there are also those less-than-reputable “professionals” who cut corners or provide poor service.
If an HVAC company makes an offer that seems too good to be true, be on your guard: chances are there’s a catch to these deals that involves you buying something that you never intended to or don’t really need.
What’s Up With the Discounted Pricing?
A thorough preventative maintenance or “tune-up” as it’s marketed, typically takes 45 minutes to an hour for a professional HVAC technician to complete. A $49 fee doesn’t even cover the technician’s time for that appointment, much less the travel time and fuel expense (especially these days!).
Ask yourself: “Why would a professional HVAC company send a technician out for only $49 when they’re not making any money?”
Unscrupulous HVAC companies will attempt to generate more business by making “offers you cannot refuse” such as discounted services or products. Once they’ve gotten in the door, these unprofessional techs will take advantage of this time to sell you on other services, or mislead you on the condition of your unit to sell you more than you expected.
Typically the HVAC companies that market and offer these low seasonal tune-up prices are very large, multi-state companies whose technicians work on a commission basis. Meaning, they don’t get paid unless they FIND something wrong with your system that needs to be fixed. These companies can afford to offer such a low price because 1) they’re anticipating the tech will sell you on a more significant repair or upgrade or 2) they’ll be able to prematurely condemn your system and try to sell you on a VERY costly replacement system.
Not every customer will fall for these tactics, but enough people will fall for it so that company can keep promoting their cheap tune-up special.
At Pro-Tech HVAC Home, we charge $150 for a Spring AC Maintenance and follow a detailed 16-point check-up of your system to fully prepare it for the hotter months ahead (Learn More HERE). But even at this rate, we’re barely breaking even on these appointments. So why do we do it? Because we know how important preventative maintenance is for the longevity of your system and the overall comfort of your home. It’s that simple. We’re not paying commissioned technicians, we’re not giving bonuses when they add on additional repairs and most importantly, we always explain what we’re doing and educate our customers on what’s going on with their system.
How Can I Avoid a Scam?
1. Do your research. Always do your research and go with a licensed, insured HVAC company. Go to their website, read online customer reviews and see if they have social media pages with images of installations and frequent updates. Most companies will have an occasional poor review; in the case of a poor review, note how the company responded and if they helped solve the issue.
2. Get estimates. If you see a “$49 tune-up special” from an HVAC company, contact other companies to get an estimate on what they charge for their preventative maintenances. Get estimates from several different HVAC companies on new installations or big repairs to determine if they’re within a reasonable range of each other. If someone is trying to overcharge you, it’ll be evident right away.
3. Ask questions if something feels off. If your technician keeps adding on items or repairs that you haven’t approved, this is a big red flag. Before making any large repairs, ask the technician exactly what is wrong and what the cost is to fix it. Any large ticket items have to be approved by you before a technician moves forward. If you feel like something isn’t right during the repair process, tell the technician to stop and either call the main number for the company to voice your concerns, or tell them to leave.
We’re Here to Help.
At Pro-Tech HVAC Home, we recommend that you use a company that’s established and charges a fair, affordable price for the professional HVAC services provided. And remember…if the price seems like it’s too good to be true, it usually is!
We hope you’ll consider Pro-Tech HVAC Home for any repairs or maintenance, or for a free estimate on a new heating and cooling system. Our customers rely on us for honest and reliable service for air conditioners, heat pumps, gas furnaces, Mitsubishi systems, and more. We’re happy to answer questions, troubleshoot, and help you choose the best HVAC system for you and your family.
Pro-Tech HVAC Home offers new installation, replacement, repairs and maintenance of heating and air conditioning systems in the Annapolis area. Our customers rely on us for honest and reliable service for air conditioners, heat pumps, gas furnaces, Mitsubishi systems, and more. We’re happy to answer questions, troubleshoot, and help you choose the best HVAC system for you and your family. We’re always happy to help answer your questions, so please give us a call or send us an email.