Recently in my home state of Kentucky, one of the largest residential HVAC service companies was investigated by the Kentucky Attorney General's office and agreed to pay restitution of over $500,000 and extend warranties for over 7100 customers. I'm not going to get into the details here, but I'm sure if you did a search online you will find everything regarding the investigation and settlement terms.
Here is my unsolicited commentary . . .
Has residential HVAC service reached
a point where the only way a residential contractor can become successful is to sell replacement products? Have we reached a point where the idea of actually repairing something is not part of what we do? Are we just hiring salesman, putting them on straight commission and encouraging the idea of only selling replacements and discouraging the idea of actually repairing products? Are residential HVAC contracting companies so poorly organized and managed and that they do not know how to make a profit actually doing service and repairing products, that the only option is to recommend replacing everything and pressure field personnel to follow along accordingly?
What happened to the skilled and well-trained service technician who can actually repair something and make a very good profit doing so? Have the manufacturers' pushed the idea of sales training so much that service training takes a back seat? Is it because we cannot find skilled people who know how to troubleshoot?
Or perhaps, this formula of hiring straight commission based sales people, discouraging actual repairs, filtering customer calls so that all sales opportunities are taken care of first and everyone else is put off for weeks is the only way to run a profitable HVAC company today?
After looking at some of the reviews and complaints for at least twenty very well known and successful residential HVAC and Plumbing companies around the United States. I found a very consistent theme. In almost every case, the consumer felt they were being pressured to replace their system rather than repair it. I've even read a few complaints where the replacement system was less efficient than the one that was supposed to be "Beyond repair" . I will admit I did not contact the servicing contractor to get their feedback, but the complaints of high pressure sales and replace, not repair, was fairly consistent. Unfortunately many of the consumers commented that another company was contacted and they were able to service and repair the issue without a major investment.
Are we at a time in contracting business where the negative views of the description of the "Used Car Salesman" be replaced by the "HVAC & Plumbing Guy"?
The idea that you can only make money selling new products and need to avoid actually repairing something is a big fat lie! It is possible to become very successful in the business of repairing and servicing. Let me show you how.