Can A Higher Repair Price Actually Be The Better Value?

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I get asked why many of Denver’s largest heating and air conditioning companies often charge so much for certain repairs fairly regularly. It’s a fair question. You’d think those big companies would be able to offer a lower price for repairs since they should be able to buy the parts cheaper than a medium-size company like ours can, right?

Well, it actually doesn’t work that way in reality. The cost of the part is only one small part of providing heating and air repair service at your home. The size of the heating and air company you choose, and the level of service they offer actually plays a much bigger role in how much repairs will cost.

Let’s use the example of replacing a blower motor in a typical furnace. To have a well-known, reputable heating and air company in Denver replace the blower motor in your furnace typically costs between $850 and $1,400 (or more) depending on the size of the company doing the repair. Why the big difference in price for the same repair? The biggest companies in Denver will typically have to charge more than medium-size companies because their cost of doing business is significantly higher.

Did You Know… It’s estimated that nearly 80% of mechanical services companies eventually fail and are forced to close their doors. A study published by the University of Tennessee revealed that even among companies that had been in business for 5 years, a shocking 49% of them still went out of business.

It makes sense that the majority of mechanical service companies that fail are likely those that price their services as if simply selling their time and labor. Many heating and air companies are started by technicians, who while they may be good technicians, don’t have much (if any) business experience. Most fail to grasp that simply offering lower prices than bigger companies isn’t going to keep them afloat for the long-term, and actually makes it nearly impossible for them to offer exceptional customer service.

Does this mean the biggest companies in Denver are over-charging customers to replace a furnace blower motor? While it might seem as though this is the case, the honest answer is no. Heating and air companies that plan to be in business for the long-term have to calculate their charges for specific repairs based on several factors, and the cost of the part is just one small piece of that equation.

Our company charges a flat-rate of $975 for this repair, so it would be easy for me to take shots at the bigger companies since they often charge $1,200 – $1,400+ to replace a blower motor. But the truth is, the biggest companies have to charge more than a medium-size company. It takes more people, facilities, vehicles, and equipment to operate a huge company with 150 employees than it does for a company with say 35 employees. There is definitely value in doing business with a company that is big enough to have the organization and the people in place to provide you with professional, quality service – before, during, and after the actual service call at your home.

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You can find small companies that have just one guy working out of his truck or his house (and maybe he has 2-3 guys working with him), that will charge less for repairs, sometimes significantly less. Heck, you can always find someone to do just about anything cheaper than a truly customer-service focused company. But there are real risks associated with having someone who offers discount repair services work on your heating and air conditioning system. Here are just a few of the drawbacks and risks associated with smaller less-established repair companies…

Top 10 Drawbacks And Risks Associated With Discount Repair Service Companies

  1. May not be licensed
  2. Often don’t maintain appropriate liability insurance coverage
  3. Don’t always maintain workman’s compensation insurance
  4. Technicians don’t receive ongoing professional training and education
  5. Insufficient or no warranty on repairs
  6. Poor response time if you need them to come back for the same repair
  7. Technicians don’t undergo background checks
  8. Technicians aren’t drug-tested
  9. Disorganized or nonexistent customer service staff
  10. Hit and miss response times during busy seasons

Those are just a few of the many risks homeowners must be willing to take when they hire companies that offer discount repair service to work in their home. I will cover those risks (and more) in a future article, so we will exclude the smaller, discount-oriented companies from this discussion and focus on repair costs among Denver’s well-known, reputable heating and air companies.

Top 10 Benefits Of Medium And Large Companies That Affect Heating And Air Conditioning Repair Costs

  1. Organized customer service staff to assist when you call or email
  2. Fast service during busy seasons (more technicians and service trucks available)
  3. Will be licensed for the work they do
  4. Protect you by maintaining appropriate liability insurance coverage
  5. Protect you by maintaining appropriate workman’s compensation insurance
  6. More experienced and better trained HVAC technicians
  7. Protect your family by screening technicians using background checks
  8. Drug-testing for technicians
  9. Repairs will be covered under warranty
  10. Faster response if there is a problem with the repair that needs a return visit

All of the benefits that come with having a larger, more established heating and air company work in your home add to the cost of repairs, because they add to the company’s cost of doing business. So really you just have to think through the pros and cons and decide what is important to you in choosing which company to have make the repairs you need.

So Why Do Most People Feel Like Hiring A Reputable Heating And Air Company Is Worth the Money

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I can tell you from personal experience that a significant percentage of homeowners have endured bad experiences with contractors who have nothing more to offer than a lower price. I know our customers say they chose a well-known, reputable company because they value peace of mind over discount pricing and the reduced level of service that comes along with it. They know that…

  • A professional, trustworthy technician will make the repair
  • Repair will be done correctly according to industry standards
  • The technician won’t recommend something they don’t really need
  • They will be given a flat-rate cost for the repair with no surprises
  • They will get a fast response if they need warranty service on the repair

… among other things.

This probably comes as no surprise, but any time I’ve ever discussed this subject with the owner of another heating and air company, they’ve all said the same thing. They’d prefer that homeowners who would prefer a lower price over the customer service their businesses are built to provide simply call someone else. That’s because the owners of these highly-regarded companies know there are plenty of customers who do appreciate truly professional service, and they want to focus on giving those customers their best.

This article is longer than I had planned, but I hope it offers some insight on the reasons it costs more to have a well-known reputable company come to your home and repair your furnace or air conditioner… and why you might still be getting a better value than your neighbor who hired the company with the lower price.

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