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Old 06-01-2006, 04:51 AM   #1
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After 4 weeks and 3 different HVAC companies, it was I, an HVAC novice, using a diagram that I got off of the internet who fixed our son's home A/C problem. He bought the house last year with a seller provided home warranty. One of the furnances failed this winter and was replaced by the home warranty. The A/C wiring problem was created during that installation. As I considered how all of this came about, I recognized:
1. The furance was the cheapest the home warranty company could find, installed by the lowest price heating contracting firm.
2. The 3 HVAC repair firms were all the cheapest that the home warranty company could find.
One of them insisted the problem was in the input 110V and required an electrican be sent, too, - again the cheapest that could be found.

If the home warranty company paid even $25 per call, the total cost of the service calls was over $200 and it may have been much more. I truly believe that the HVAC company that I use (who charges $85/hour) would have found and fixed the problem on the first try.

As I considered this situation, I wondered how many other places in our world today are poor quality driven by the price we are willing to pay but that there is a "false" economy in the result because we are not getting what we paid for:
1. Computer help desks staffed by barely English speaking people who are incapable of understanding the problem we have, let alone providing a solution to it
2. RVs with lots of features, slideouts, etc. that are poorly engineered and quickly put together.
3. Appliances purchased with no service or parts networks behind them that have to be thrown away because they cannot be repaired.

I'm certainly guilty of price shopping commodities (the exact same product offered by 5+ different stores) but I'm finding that paying more, sometimes double the price of the cheapest product or service results in something that is durable and can be properly maintained. As I look through the things that we have, it is often the highest priced items that have provided the most satisfaction over the longest time. Like everyone else, I want to do the most things with the least investment but I'm now certain that isn't necessarily with the lowest initial investment. Unfortunately, the market place seems driven only by the cheapest price and that means:
1. Service companies won't hire highly qualified repair techs - they cost too much. This is affecting the job market, too, because there is no incentive to get training and experience.
2. The quality of the products available has dropped. Wal-Mart used to carry a number of brands of engine oil filters - now they only carry Fram. There are more store brands and fewer "name" brand products available in the high volume retailers.

Comments?
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Old 06-01-2006, 04:51 AM   #2
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After 4 weeks and 3 different HVAC companies, it was I, an HVAC novice, using a diagram that I got off of the internet who fixed our son's home A/C problem. He bought the house last year with a seller provided home warranty. One of the furnances failed this winter and was replaced by the home warranty. The A/C wiring problem was created during that installation. As I considered how all of this came about, I recognized:
1. The furance was the cheapest the home warranty company could find, installed by the lowest price heating contracting firm.
2. The 3 HVAC repair firms were all the cheapest that the home warranty company could find.
One of them insisted the problem was in the input 110V and required an electrican be sent, too, - again the cheapest that could be found.

If the home warranty company paid even $25 per call, the total cost of the service calls was over $200 and it may have been much more. I truly believe that the HVAC company that I use (who charges $85/hour) would have found and fixed the problem on the first try.

As I considered this situation, I wondered how many other places in our world today are poor quality driven by the price we are willing to pay but that there is a "false" economy in the result because we are not getting what we paid for:
1. Computer help desks staffed by barely English speaking people who are incapable of understanding the problem we have, let alone providing a solution to it
2. RVs with lots of features, slideouts, etc. that are poorly engineered and quickly put together.
3. Appliances purchased with no service or parts networks behind them that have to be thrown away because they cannot be repaired.

I'm certainly guilty of price shopping commodities (the exact same product offered by 5+ different stores) but I'm finding that paying more, sometimes double the price of the cheapest product or service results in something that is durable and can be properly maintained. As I look through the things that we have, it is often the highest priced items that have provided the most satisfaction over the longest time. Like everyone else, I want to do the most things with the least investment but I'm now certain that isn't necessarily with the lowest initial investment. Unfortunately, the market place seems driven only by the cheapest price and that means:
1. Service companies won't hire highly qualified repair techs - they cost too much. This is affecting the job market, too, because there is no incentive to get training and experience.
2. The quality of the products available has dropped. Wal-Mart used to carry a number of brands of engine oil filters - now they only carry Fram. There are more store brands and fewer "name" brand products available in the high volume retailers.

Comments?
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Old 06-01-2006, 05:47 AM   #3
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Most of the time you get what you pay for.

In our industry, it is really sad to see the degrading of engineers and service techs. No one wants to get dirty to learn. Problem is that the best place to learn is in the field and getting dirty.

We are not the cheapest by a long shot, but we do have good techs. All to often, we get the call to come find out what is wrong after Joe's Fly-by-night Repair service has spent a week or two trying to fix the equipment. Our man goes out and fixes it a day or two and the customer raises a big stink about the $95.00 per hour tech and $0.95 per mile charge. Never mind the fact that they just wasted a lot more money on Joe's $65.00 per hour tech. Do they remember who saved their bacon next time....Nope. They call Joe's since he is cheaper.

Basically you can pay Joe a bit now or pay us more later since we also get to fix Joe's mistakes.

This past week, I had a round with Dish Network and a customer service person in India that could barely speak English. After some insistance, I did get someone in the USA, at least I could understand them. I have decided to just take the approach that I want to speak to customer service in the USA.

Wal-Mart product quality has really gone down hill. In the past month, we have had to take about 6 items abck to them because of manufacturing problems. Maybe I am being picky, but I do want whatever I bought to be 100% and no less.

Enough soap box for now. I'm getting a cup of coffee.

Ken
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Old 06-01-2006, 08:13 AM   #4
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Do they remember who saved their bacon next time....Nope. They call Joe's since he is cheaper.

Basically you can pay Joe a bit now or pay us more later since we also get to fix Joe's mistakes. </div></BLOCKQUOTE> Exactly my point, Ken. We are victims of our own decisions, more often than not. Sometimes, we don't have control. More often than not, the poor quality that we are suffering through is a result of us picking the cheapest solution.
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Old 06-08-2006, 06:05 PM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by chasfm11:
After 4 weeks and 3 different HVAC companies, it was I, an HVAC novice, using a diagram that I got off of the internet who fixed our son's home A/C problem. He bought the house last year with a seller provided home warranty. One of the furnances failed this winter and was replaced by the home warranty. The A/C wiring problem was created during that installation. As I considered how all of this came about, I recognized:
1. The furance was the cheapest the home warranty company could find, installed by the lowest price heating contracting firm.
2. The 3 HVAC repair firms were all the cheapest that the home warranty company could find.
One of them insisted the problem was in the input 110V and required an electrican be sent, too, - again the cheapest that could be found.

If the home warranty company paid even $25 per call, the total cost of the service calls was over $200 and it may have been much more. I truly believe that the HVAC company that I use (who charges $85/hour) would have found and fixed the problem on the first try.
</div></BLOCKQUOTE>

As you have probably figured, most HVAC companies charge more than $25/hr. I have been approached several times by HOW companies. Only ONE has agreed to my prices, but wanted me to wait 30-45 days for payment. NOT!

You hit a sore spot with me about that HVAC comment and I agree with all you've said about service. People are cheap and don't see the real value. I have to pay my people a real living wage and some customers want it cheap, but top notch. Those two things don't go together.

Thanks for listening to me rant.

J.
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Old 06-08-2006, 07:16 PM   #6
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I knew that GOOD HVAC companies charge more than $25/hour and know that to get and keep good people , you have to pay a living wage.

It is truly unfortunate that some many are fixated on the price or, as in my Home Owners Warranty example, dictated to about which firms can be used that the market place doesn't really get a chance to function properly.

My point was entirely in support of your rant. Paying a bad, cheap company to come out and not fix the problem 3 times costs more than paying a good one to do it right the first time. I'm sorry for all of us the more people don't understand those economics.
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Old 06-09-2006, 11:02 AM   #7
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CHASFM11, WHAT DO YOU THINK ALL THESE MEXICAN'S ARE DOING HERE.
PLENTY OF CHEAP LABOR TO GO AROUND.
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Old 06-14-2006, 01:50 AM   #8
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That's why I bought a Lazy Daze motorhome.
The best engineering, but they don't cost more. Their only compitition costs nearly 2x as much!
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Old 06-16-2006, 12:27 PM   #9
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Reading these post just makes more determined to retire early (at 50) and start full time the business that has begun to occupied a lot of my free time on the side.
My philosophy is and always has been that accurately diagnosing the problem and then using quality parts to fix the problem will ultimately save the owner money and I can be sure that problem won't resurface at the most inconvenient time.
It is also important to find out what caused the problem/failure.
I worked on a truck after a "repair shop" put 3 alternators on it. Turns out the charge feed to the battery was worn through on the underside where it crossed over an engine bracket and would make contact when it felt like it. Charged the gentleman 65.00 diagnose/labor and was able to smooze my connection at the autoparts store to take the alternator back under warranty and replace it.
Not a problem since.
Sure the other shop replaced it under warranty twice but each time he was without his truck for two days for a total of 6.
Being a camper/RVer I know the importance of quality repairs. I explain that sometimes cheaper is actually more expensive in the long run.
Thanks for listening
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Old 06-16-2006, 04:25 PM   #10
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RV4FunFixer, you need to move to our area! We are really short on folks with your attitude.

I have a great car mechanic who could have pretty much written your post. We've been using him for over 10 years. The only problem with him is that he is pretty much booked solid a week in advance. Seems like there are a lot of others like me who'd rather pay have have repairs done competently and correctly the first time. I consider myself to be a moderately skilled mechanic so he only gets the ones that I cannot or will not tackle. He has an almost perfect record of dealing with the problems that I've taken to him.
He's one of the very few tradesman where I just drop of the work and don't worry about the charges. Whatever he charges me was worth it.

Good luck with your enterprise. I just know that you will do well with it.
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