Am I being ripped off? Question from a customer..

Problems related to residential installations.

Am I being ripped off? Question from a customer..

Postby ray jones jr » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:35 pm

Hi. My Father recently passed on and we've inherited his house in the country. It is a weekend house. We also kept his furnace guy who has always been reliable and has a key to the house.

The Furnace is a Williamson Model 02-754. It is from the 70s. USA made and rock solid since I was a little kid.

The furnace recently had an issue. I came up for the weekend and the house was cold. The furnace would not turn on when I turned the thermostat up. The thermostat (modern Honeywell Round) would not click when it was set above the room temperature. I pressed button on the control in the furnace and it kicked on. It worked fine/normally all weekend, turning itself on and off as the thermostat required.

My furnace guy came and installed a new control. Honeywell 8184. There was a weak eye reading and he changed the eye. (I don't know what that is..).
Total $300.00 with tax. Seemed reasonable. He charged $98.75 for the Honeywell 8184. That seems like a fair markup.

Next weekend I arrived and the house was cold. The furnace had tripped it's circuit breaker. I turned the breaker on and turned up the thermostat. The furnace kicked on but the breaker tripped again. The furnace guy came and found burned wires - a short. He repaired. $151.00 with tax for an OT call.

Next weekend I arrived and the house was cold. This time the thermostat did click when set above the room temperature but the furnace did not kick on. I pressed the button on the (new) control and the furnace kicked on and worked normally except I had to press the button once after being away (with the thermostat set way lower than the room temperature) for a few hours.

The furnace guy came and replaced the oil pump. Suntec A2VA-7116. He also relocated the oil filter outside of the furnace. $300.00 with tax. I haven't paid this bill yet..

He charged $112.50 for the Suntec A2VA-7116. I found it online for about $50.00 from several retailers. Am I missing something? I understand a markup but 110%? Don't professionals get parts cheaper than us civilians? This got me thinking...

Is it possible that the short happened because the new control was improperly installed? he says he just re-spliced the burned wired but how does that fix the source of a short? I realize it might be a coincedence but I want to be sure.

Would changing the pump fix a furnace that won't kick on? When I pressed the button the furnace worked so the pump was pumping.

I'm also wondering why he would relocate the oil filter to outside the furnace. The install is pretty chintzy and blocks a drawer. Very easy for a homeowner to bump in to.

I feel like I'm paying $750.00 for a $300.00 problem. I might be completely wrong but I'd love to get a professional opinion and be sure. Times are really tight!!

I'm not trying to be a whiney complaining homeowner. I have no problem paying a professional a fair price or even a high price for their expertise - It's worth it. I just want advice..

Thanks in advance for any opinions!
ray jones jr
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- Am I being ripped off? Question from a customer..

Postby heatseeker » Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:21 pm

Pay the bill. If you don't trust the company call another one. You got some moxie trying to back out of a bill when you are to cheap to get a new furnace. The source of the short was probably the old oil pump, that's why it was replaced. An old furnace is like an old car, one thing fails and it's a chain reaction you have no one to blame but yourself.
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- Am I being ripped off? Question from a customer..

Postby ray jones jr » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:40 pm

Hi.

I'm not too cheap to buy a new furnace. Nothing would make me happier. I don't have the money. Sorry.

I notice you didn't say anything about the huge markup on the oil pump. Any opinion about that?
Am I being cheap because I don't want to pay more than double for a part? Do you mark parts up 110%??

The short was fixed weeks before the pump was replaced and it never shorted again so good job with the diagnostic.

Maybe you should really read my post instead of getting all mad that a customer has the moxie to ask questions instead of blindly paying.

You sound just like my furnace guy. An honest question is immediatly knocked back with an accusatory and defensive remark instead of an intelligent explanation. Is that how you treat your customers?

I'm not trying to back out of anything. I said that in my post. I'm here to ask for opinions.

Sounds like you guys stick together..
ray jones jr
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- Am I being ripped off? Question from a customer..

Postby heatseeker » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:46 am

A typical mark up in the HVAC industry on parts from 25 dollars to 500 dollars is multiplied by three. So if you have a 50 dol. pump aotomagically it becomes 150 to the customer, then add your trip charge and hourly rate. Of coarse there are exceptions to the rule like if I'm in a good mode or it's a good costumer, yes we have those, then the numbers can be fudged.
Now lets make another example, you need a part that cost me oh say 4 bucks, four times three is sixteen, No profit there so on those parts I would charge at least 50 dollars plus labor and trip charge. On part over 500 times two, for instance I had a customer the other day that had a compressor go out, my cost on compressor was 2500 dollars, so 2500 times two equals 5 grand, I quoted him $5500.00 for the repair to include labor trip charge and any miscellaneous items to do job right.
Operating a hvac business is not cheap, there are many tools, truck maintenance, gas not cheap at 4 bucks a gallon, insurance, advertising, liability insurance, tax, plus profit if any. Lets say I go to your house and you need a 50 dollar part I need to sell you that part plus cover all expenses for getting to you as a customer. I have some customers that own many many properties so naturally iI give them a discount say over the one time customer. I treat the one time guy as retail whereas the property owner say gets a 25% discount because he needs me more often.
My tools are very expensive several big tools cost over 500.00 bucks a piece plus all of the hand tools that are special for hvac trade can cost at least 30 dollars a piece. Plus the consumables like silver floss, oxy acetylene, freon, and any tool that gets lost in the attic or under the house while crawling on stomach.
I hope this sums up for you the mark up on parts etc. this is proprietary info so consider yourself blessed for the day. I strive to be fair and keep my prices down for my costomers and will have no problem eating my mistakes when made and have done so in the past, If a person is seriously broke with old people or chillins in house I will do at cost or they can make payments if very costly. I come across as an ahole but I am really a softy. peace.
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- Am I being ripped off? Question from a customer..

Postby how » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:49 am

Hey heatseeker
Nice response
But a foundation of
"four times three is sixteen"????
might not reassure him.
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- Am I being ripped off? Question from a customer..

Postby heatseeker » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:56 pm

oh * I meant 12 ,duh, at any rate still 50 bucks.
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- Am I being ripped off? Question from a customer..

Postby Freon » Sun Mar 25, 2012 7:50 pm

I think next time you have a problem you may want to call another person for an estimate. What bothers me is it seems this person is throwing parts at the problem rather than understanding what the real issue is. Since spring is coming you have time to get another assessment of what has been done and determine if the real problem has been solved. Were the prices too high? They seem a bit excessive but each area has its customary pricing policy. Be sure to ask the next person how they price parts and labor so you know what your getting into. Sadly there are people who may take advantage of those who know little about HVAC.
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- Am I being ripped off? Question from a customer..

Postby Big » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:14 pm

The pump cost $50.00 , THe Truck that the service man came in $25,000 ,Tools and stock$20,000. Years of experence Priceless. Pay the bill , do you think that your boss gives your work away for free.Beter yet that a business course.
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- Am I being ripped off? Question from a customer..

Postby heatseeker » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:51 am

Big, my truck only cost 2 grand plus repairs, Of course most do cost that much.
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