Any Guarantee You Want
Marketing at Its Finest
HVAC shops that deal in a myriad of “industry exclusive guarantees” are lot like a street hustler. You want it? His loaded trench coat has got it. Except instead of dealing with a thug who’s peddling hot merchandise, you’re dealing with a professional salesperson who’s peddling psychology. As long as you’ll sign the contract, s/he’ll give you almost any guarantee you want. Unfortunately, in my experience at least, those guarantees are of little real value to you.
I’m reminded of the time when I spent several hours replacing a transmission mount. I’ve never liked working on cars. Nevertheless, I muddled my way through and it worked like a charm… until a week later when the new mount broke. When I went back to the parts store, I asked the counter guy if he had a better quality mount. He said no, but assured me that the broken mount came with a lifetime guarantee. I thought to myself, “Oh great. This piece of junk is going to cost me several hours a week, but at least it’s ‘guaranteed’!”
The whizbang guarantees you’ll get from some HVAC contractors are about as useful as the warranty on that mount. You might be able to take advantage of one of them someday. However, you certainly won’t be happy about it and you certainly shouldn’t spend thousands based on them.
My favorite guarantee goes something like this: “If you’re not happy with your new system, we’ll yank it out and refund your money!” The theory is that just like a new shirt from Macy’s, if you don’t like your new HVAC system then they’ll remove it and refund your money. That could happen someday. However, unlike the Macy’s employee, they don’t just stare at you blankly and hand over the dough. The guarantee is riddled with provisions designed to make it completely frustrating, if not useless. The most important provisions involve time and specificity. You have to be specific about your complaints. Then they get a year, sometimes two, to address them one by one. That’s more than enough time to wear a busy homeowner down. The last thing a homeowner will want to do after two years is invoke the guarantee and have to install a new system yet again.
Most whizbang guarantees in this trade are like that. The specifics of the guarantee may be different from my example. But no matter what the guarantee, the marketing departments that write them aren’t concerned with whether or not they’ll ever have to make good. They’ll write the guarantee so that they’ll almost never have to. Rather, their concern is simply to create a good hook. It’s marketing at its finest. The actual benefit to you is of little importance to them so long as they can get you to sign the contract.
The answer is to get quality work from the outset, irrespective of paper promises. A guarantee that they’ll fix a botched job isn’t worth much compared to the assurance of quality work in the first place. To that end, I’ve written this site to teach you as much as I can about my trade. Read just some of it and you’ll be armed with insider knowledge. Keep reading and you’ll be better able to weed out the hacks and get quality work for your hard earned dollar.