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Old 09-01-2009, 12:34 PM   #1
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Finding a heatpump Contractor


I'm trying to find an HVAC tech to do my brazing and setup. I found on craigslist a guy who does "my equip or yours" and he is interested in the job. I posted a "gig" on craigslist and got two other responces of techs interested. I'm not yet ready, but since I don't have a recommendation from friends, how should I go about phone interviewing them? Are there specific questions I should ask?

I've got a 2.5 Ton 14SEER R410A heat-pump with TXV. They just need to braze the lines, charge the system, and do setup.

Should I ask for references or pictures of their past jobs? Any red flag questions that you know of? Any tests or methods that I can ask about to understand if they'll cut corners?

-Jeff

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Old 09-01-2009, 01:54 PM   #2
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Finding a heatpump Contractor


I take it this is a DIY installation where you want to partner with a tech??

In general, most contractors shy away from these arrangement but it's approaching off season and the economy is slow so you can probably find someone to work with.

I'd start with the small shops or freelance techs. Word of mouth is best. Maybe you can go down to the local supply house and ask one of the senior counter guys who they'd recommend.

I would not interrogate them with a check list of questions. (you're still "small potatos" to them). Get an idea on cost and simply ask for their game plan for setup/checkout. (you better hear nitrogen purge, leak test, deep vacuum, filter/dryer, etc). If these are not part of the game plan go to the next one that's not a "hack".

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Old 09-01-2009, 03:11 PM   #3
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Finding a heatpump Contractor


If you're in the northern hemisphere summer is ending so you are not in a hurry, so you are in the catbird seat.

Do a dotplot with the bids you get.

.........a...bcd...e.........f
$0....1.....2.....3.....4.....5
........^relative price^

Bids a and f are probably outliers, and bcd seems to be the true price of doing your job in your zip code, today.

Some books say to tell each of them that you are getting other bids; I don't.
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Old 09-01-2009, 04:18 PM   #4
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Finding a heatpump Contractor


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Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
Some books say to tell each of them that you are getting other bids; I don't.
Not telling is probably one of the worst things you can do.

Then they assume your trying to hide something else from them also.
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Old 09-01-2009, 05:38 PM   #5
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Finding a heatpump Contractor


Quote:
Originally Posted by hennyh View Post
I take it this is a DIY installation where you want to partner with a tech??

In general, most contractors shy away from these arrangement but it's approaching off season and the economy is slow so you can probably find someone to work with.

I'd start with the small shops or freelance techs. Word of mouth is best. Maybe you can go down to the local supply house and ask one of the senior counter guys who they'd recommend.

I would not interrogate them with a check list of questions. (you're still "small potatos" to them). Get an idea on cost and simply ask for their game plan for setup/checkout. (you better hear nitrogen purge, leak test, deep vacuum, filter/dryer, etc). If these are not part of the game plan go to the next one that's not a "hack".

Do I want them to install a filter/dryer on a brand new heat-pump even if it has one inside the condenser unit?
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Old 09-01-2009, 06:11 PM   #6
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Finding a heatpump Contractor


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Originally Posted by zootjeff View Post
Do I want them to install a filter/dryer on a brand new heat-pump even if it has one inside the condenser unit?
It probably won't be needed if there's one that's already factory installed. The manufacturer's installation instructions should spell all that out.
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:18 PM   #7
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Finding a heatpump Contractor


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Not telling is probably one of the worst things you can do.

Then they assume your trying to hide something else from them also.
How come their smiles turned to frowns with the few that I've told? Some reacted angrily.

And I sure am not going to tell them what the other bids came in at until I've settled on one.

What can the HO hide from the bidder?
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Old 09-01-2009, 07:53 PM   #8
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Finding a heatpump Contractor


If they get angry when you tell them your getting other bids. Some how they have been mislead that you were going to use them. And just needed to know the price first. So you could make sure you had enough money to pay them.

Proper way to get bids/estimates is to tell them on the phone you are getting bids/estimates.
Plural, as in more thenjust one.

Then there is no mistake.


Had some customers call up and say, In got a lower price, but like you better.
If I have my teenage sons help you how much lower.
Also, had them tell me they would supply their own new units. The new units were 8 years old.

Lots of little stuff a home owner/customer can conseal.

Thats why a good estimate is not just a 5 minute visit.
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Old 09-01-2009, 10:26 PM   #9
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Finding a heatpump Contractor


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Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
If they get angry when you tell them your getting other bids. Some how they have been mislead that you were going to use them. And just needed to know the price first. So you could make sure you had enough money to pay them.

Proper way to get bids/estimates is to tell them on the phone you are getting bids/estimates.
Plural, as in more thenjust one.

Then there is no mistake.


Had some customers call up and say, In got a lower price, but like you better.
If I have my teenage sons help you how much lower.
Also, had them tell me they would supply their own new units. The new units were 8 years old.

Lots of little stuff a home owner/customer can conseal.

Thats why a good estimate is not just a 5 minute visit.
The worst customer I had was an ambassador from an African country.

I picked up the phone and he said, "I'll meet you at my house in 10 minutes."

When I offered him a spot two weeks from then he asked if I was licensed, bonded and insured. I never met such a manipulative person in my whole life. Within seconds, I hated him.

This piece of excrement had about 1000 hits on Google.
He had dinner with the Clintons, the Reagan's, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. . .
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Old 09-02-2009, 06:51 AM   #10
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Sounds like the typical questions we get asked all the time.
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:02 AM   #11
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Finding a heatpump Contractor


This topic has nothing to do with DIY work, and is therefore not in keeping with the intent of this site. Thread closed.

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