Air Conditioning Service – Is Repair Really Necessary?
You hire an air conditioning service company to come to your home and the service technician recommends expensive repairs. Your first thoughts are; do I trust this guy, is repair really necessary?
We’ve all heard the horror stories and not just about air conditioning service companies. Auto mechanics, pool repair companies, dentists, computer repair shops, even surgeons have been caught red-handed recommending unnecessary work and procedures.
It’s hard to trust people after hearing these stories and seeing sting operations on the news. To make matters worse, the media tends to sensationalize these stories making us fearful of an entire industry.
So, How Do You Know if Your Air Conditioner Really Needs Repair?
The hard truth is, you don’t. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to protect yourself. In this article, I’m going to share some of the shady practices of air conditioning companies known to prey on the innocent. As they say in football, the best defense, is a good offense. So, let’s start by making sure you have a good offensive line!
This Part is Important
It’s important to note when I say AC repair, I’m not necessarily talking about getting a non-operational unit working again. Obviously if your ac unit isn’t running it needs “repairs”. I’m talking about when the technician says components are not running up to manufacturers specifications but the unit is still functioning.
I’m also not talking about enhancements or recommendations. For example; an HVAC service technician may recommend a surge protector (like you’d buy for your TV or computer). That’s not a repair it’s is an option, it’s a good thing to have…but it’s not required. Just like your TV doesn’t need a surge protector, but you’re glad you had it when you needed it.
For this reason, I train our technicians to make a few distinctions when speaking with our clients. First, to clarify what is a “must do” and what is a “good thing to do” i.e. repair vs. enhancement. Second, repairs should never be a matter of opinion, If you ask three technicians their “opinion” you sometimes get 3 different answers! We require our service technicians to compare their measurements to the manufacturers specifications and inform the client what they observed. EX. According to the manufacturer, this motor is supposed to be running at ___ amps and yours is running at ____ amps. This way there’s no opinion involved, simply a reporting of the facts.
We Have an Air Conditioning Service Tech Near You Right Now
Never accept a cold call from an air conditioning service company you’ve never done business with! In recent years, several air conditioning companies near Phoenix have been fined and even shut down by the Arizona Attorney General. These companies use call centers to set appointments for air conditioning service. It sounds convenient right? After all, you really should have your AC serviced in the Spring and your heating unit serviced in the Fall. However, it’s easy to forget and the person on the phone said he/she has an air conditioning service tech near you right now. How convenient!
First of all, do you really think there’s an air conditioning service technician “near you right now”? The truth of the matter is, these companies typically don’t even have qualified air conditioning service technicians. What they do have is well trained “sales” teams who give the HVAC service industry a black eye. They’re paid a commission to get as much as they can from you – sometimes actually damaging components that were fine!
We Offer a Free Air Conditioning Service / Tune-Up – Just So You Can Get to Know Us!
Free Air Conditioning Service
Hold on a second….hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Okay, seriously though, nothing good ever comes out of a free air conditioning service / tune-up – for the customer anyway!
Let’s put it this way, a qualified air conditioning service technician earns upwards of $30 an hour. He’s driving a $40,000 company vehicle with about $10,000 worth of company inventory and tools. With the companies share of payroll taxes, overhead, support staff, etc. that technician costs the company well over $100 an hour, conservatively!
Do you really think the company offering that free air conditioning service call, maintenance, tune-up, etc. is doing that for free? Best case scenario, the markup you pay for every subsequent visit is so high you get fleeced over the long haul. Worst case scenario, another slick “sales tech” gives you a bill of goods the first time you “get to know him”.
Full Coverage Air Conditioning Service Plans
Recently, I’ve seen a new trend being advertised by few AC companies in the Phoenix, AZ area. The promise is you’ll never pay for repairs or maintenance for ten years. All you pay is one “low monthly payment,” which is anything but “low”. Most of these companies are offering a 10-year “full coverage” plan.
Basically, you buy a new air conditioning system – advertised as “high efficiency”, however it’s actually the minimum efficiency allowed by law. A long term maintenance plan and warranty is then rolled into the cost. What really happens is, you pay astronomically more than you would just buying a new unit, maintenance, and extended warranty.
I’ve personally been a secret shopper so I could see how this worked for myself, here’s what I found: First of all, for the monthly payment, you could not only get a full parts & labor warranty from the manufacturer themselves – you could almost get another new unit in 10-years!
In fact, you could buy a better brand than they offer, and a more efficient, more feature-rich model. Not to mention, you wouldn’t be locked into their company if you were ever dissatisfied along the way.
By way of comparison, my company, Magic Touch Mechanical offers a cancel anytime monthly maintenance plan. If you don’t like the service you’ve received, you can cancel no questions asked. It’s also only $17 a month for that!
So, I did the math on a comparable unit to the one they offered. I added the cost of a ten-year manufacturer parts & labor warranty, plus ten years of a comparable maintenance plan. At the end of ten years it was $5,560 less out of pocket!
What About the Question – Is AC Repair Really Necessary?
Let’s go back to building that great defense by building a great offensive line.
There are at least two-dozen great air conditioning service companies in the Phoenix, AZ area. I know this for a fact because Magic Touch Mechanical is one of them – so I know what makes a “great” company.
These companies have honest, ethical, trustworthy owners and management, and their people share these values. When we compete with these companies for your business, sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. When we lose, I know the customer is in good hands and will be treated well, more importantly, I know they’ll be treated fairly. My philosophy is – we’ll win the next one, and I know these companies share that philosophy.
One thing that never flies at my company and these companies like us is unethical business practices. The fish rots from the head as the saying goes. In other words, the company’s and the team’s values and standards all start with the leadership. If the head is rotten, so is the rest of the body. If the leadership values honesty, quality, and excellent business practices, they will attract and keep likeminded employees.
So how do you know?
This is the easiest part, but it does take a little effort on your part up front. If you know you’re working with a company with great values and high ethical standards, you know you can trust the service technician. If an ethical service technician recommends a repair… it’s because your unit really needs it.
You need to do your due diligence BEFORE you hire an air conditioning service company. Then you need to remain loyal to that company. Here’s how you know:
What do others say? What is the ratio of 5-Star reviews to 1-Star reviews? How recent are the reviews? Are they for air conditioning service? Do they seem legitimate (read carefully and go with your gut) remember ethics count here too – are the reviews real?
Does the company have a good BBB rating? Do they even have BBB accredidation? Do they have an unusually high amount of complaints? Are the complaints recent? Frequency of complaints?
Does the company have the endorsement of trusted third parties? Air Conditioning Contractors of America, Mechanical Trade Contractors of Arizona, AZ Electric League, AZ Heat Pump Council, The Refrigeration School, Air Conditioning Heating & Refrigeration News, Salt River Project, Arizona Public Service, Energy Star?
Past & Current Employees
GlassDoor, Indeed, Monster and other popular employment websites often have places where past and current employees can rate their employers. As with Google reviews, go with your gut when reading these (both positive and negative).
Social Media, Blogs, Websites
I find I can often get a feel for the culture of a business by the types of social media posts and blogs they publish. Is the business engaged and trusted by the community? What about posts from customers? Did you know a company can turn off their reviews feature on Facebook? Why would you want to turn off reviews on Facebook… well, if you often get bad reviews you wouldn’t want them seen right? The good news is a company can’t select to turn off only bad reviews – they’re all either on or off.
Now You’re Ready for Your Next Air Conditioning Service!
The next time you call for air conditioning service or repairs, you’ll know you can “trust this guy” because you chose a company you trust. Make sure you help your neighbors by sharing your own Google review – remember someone else helped you!
Do You Need a Trustworthy AC Company Near Phoenix?
I wouldn’t tell you where to look and what to look for if Magic Touch Mechanical didn’t make the grade! We’ve been proving 5-Star and A+ rated service to the Valley of the Sun for over 23-years. I personally respond to each and every online review I find because I sincerely value every client we serve.
I invest a great deal of time, energy and dollars beck into our team to make sure they are the best! We train every day to not only be up to date on the latest in HVAC technology, but also on providing great customer service.
You’ll recognize it every step of the way from booking the appointment, to the updates from our dispatchers, even the technician bio and ability to track his truck on the way to your home. From the shoe covers the technician wears to protect your home, to the evaluation you receive at the end of the call, you’ll see why we are one of the “great” air conditioning service companies in the Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler area!
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