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Old 02-19-2013, 08:27 AM   #16
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After 34 yrs in this biz I will tell you some unpleasant facts of life you won't like but here they are;

1) you may be a nice guy but most customers are liars/cheaters/low ballers and doing business is like gettin married. great at first but the honeymoon is soon over and then the real person comes out. same as buying a new car and having to take it in for its first problem and dealing with a miserable service manager.

2) I have done lots of work for renovators and GCs and never ever do jobs run on time and with all the trades climbing over each other it is impossible to run smoothly. then the GC/you wants us to keep coming back ( w/o paying our hourly rate ) to move or fix things that got damaged by other trades or did not fit etc so it is a never ending money losing hassle for us and it gets personal and ugly too. replacement jobs and nice empty new houses with no surpirises are the least stressful/hassle so that is what we prefer.

3) I have built several houses and honestly you cannot stay with a fixed budget. you need to have at least $10,000 for cost overuns/unseen expenses. the price of shingles fluctuates with the price of oil and so does the price of wood/sheetrock/concrete fluctuate with the economy/demand.

4) All of us seasoned contractors have had enough bad experiences that we are always prepared for/expect the worst and been turned down by lowballers so often that we don't really want to give out quotes for jobs we won't get anyway. The world of the Maytag man and honest business is LONG gone my friend.

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Last edited by yuri; 02-19-2013 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:21 AM   #17
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As a person who was in the roofing business for many years, My experiences were as follows: I always went above and beyond when it came to doing anything, as I felt that my name was my bond.

1. Homeowners were generally very easy to deal with. There were rare exceptions but they were few.

2. General contractors sucked. They expected the lowest price, then they wanted you to be there when they snapped their fingers. You would dry in the building, completely finishing the roof, then wait for your money, and wait for your money, and wait for your money.

3. Contractors that worked above the finished roof were animals. They had no regard for the integrity of the roof. HVAC contractors were without question to worst. They left shards of sharp sheet metal, tapping screws, old filters, compressors with oil leaking out, fans, parts, etc etc etc lying on, and ruining the roof membrane.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the term "Professional" only means that you make your living performing a service.

How you perform that service has a great deal to do with how you are raised. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW MUCH YOU ARE BEING PAID.

Those of us who only know one way to do things, meaning the right way, find our reward in a job well done, and the remuneration for that job is important, but secondary.

I personally find the fact that a person cannot buy this or that HVAC part to be an infringement on my rights as an American, and unconstitutional Following that logic, why dont we just say:

1. Only licensed electricians can buy electrical parts.
2. Only licensed carpenters can buy wood.
3. Only licensed auto mechanics can buy auto parts.
4. Only licensed plumbers can buy pipe, toilets, or sinks.
5. Only licensed roofers can buy roofing materials.
6. Only licensed Masons can buy concrete or CMU

Hell, why dont we just start flying the hammer and sickle and throw out the stars and stripes, while we are at it?

I find the so called legal arguments about protecting someone from themselves by restricting sales to the public to be the biggest crock of crap, and the worst infringement on personal freedoms since the word Homeland Security and the Patriot Act were coined.

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both" BF

Go ahead and tell Ben Franklin he cant buy the furnace he wants and see what he would have said.
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Old 02-19-2013, 12:43 PM   #18
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THANKS JAGANS..but I would like to add just one more thing to your comments...as long as the individual (s) take responsibility for their actions

which imo the OP seems ready to do..hopefully

btw I was the GC on my last home (2400sf) and everything went very well..completed in 12 weeks..went over budget 10%
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:22 PM   #19
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I'll be brief, a lot of good comments made, particularly Jagan's comment about how people were raised affecting their work. You don't necessarily get what you pay for, and inexperienced GCs (homeowners are sometimes in that category) are scary! I am looking at doing central air, and while getting quotes the owner noticed I was doing all the electrical, plumbing, and renovation work myself and I wanted to save a few bucks. He offered a DIY package, basically he designs the system and sells me the parts, I install, and he sweats, vacuums, fills and checks the work. I would see if that's an option with any of the contractors if you're serious.

But like someone else said, you basically own the system, and should be clear that you're going to be responsible for knowing everything even if you're not doing the last parts. I would suggest having a good understanding of a/c systems, reading a text book and doing a lot of research. Nobody is going to do a better job than you, for the price you want to pay. These internet forums provide a "best case" scenario on how jobs are supposed to be done, but most contractors in the real world are going to provide a reasonable job, but probably not as good as you are willing to do yourself.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yuri View Post
After 34 yrs in this biz I will tell you some unpleasant facts of life you won't like but here they are;

1) you may be a nice guy but most customers are liars/cheaters/low ballers and doing business is like gettin married. great at first but the honeymoon is soon over and then the real person comes out. same as buying a new car and having to take it in for its first problem and dealing with a miserable service manager.

2) I have done lots of work for renovators and GCs and never ever do jobs run on time and with all the trades climbing over each other it is impossible to run smoothly. then the GC/you wants us to keep coming back ( w/o paying our hourly rate ) to move or fix things that got damaged by other trades or did not fit etc so it is a never ending money losing hassle for us and it gets personal and ugly too. replacement jobs and nice empty new houses with no surpirises are the least stressful/hassle so that is what we prefer.

3) I have built several houses and honestly you cannot stay with a fixed budget. you need to have at least $10,000 for cost overuns/unseen expenses. the price of shingles fluctuates with the price of oil and so does the price of wood/sheetrock/concrete fluctuate with the economy/demand.

4) All of us seasoned contractors have had enough bad experiences that we are always prepared for/expect the worst and been turned down by lowballers so often that we don't really want to give out quotes for jobs we won't get anyway. The world of the Maytag man and honest business is LONG gone my friend.
Yuri, your comments are well spoken, I will have money for overruns, there always are some, but it's darn hard to figure what the margin should be when no is willing to give a good, fair estimate.

Others here have said that the average HO might well make a mess of things, then turned around and complained about the shoddy work done by cheap contractors trying to make up for their cheap bid. This is what I want to get away from, Why should I expect a lowball bidder to do a good job when I'd offer fair money for the work I'd have a contractor do? I certainly could follow the HVAC engineers plan and hang ducting and such, unbox & set the air handler and compressor and then pay a fair and reasonable price for the technical work? Unfortunately it seems I am trying to take money out of the mouths of the contractors family here, when all I'm looking for is a good job.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:18 PM   #21
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you also have to understand the tradesmen are tough macho guys (mostly the older ones anyway) so it doesn't matter what you think is right the reality is they have pride and want to do things their way and that ain't going to change. with all the bad experiences with customers who cheat/don't pay bills on time etc etc they would rather not have your little bit of work then go thru the aforementined hassle with GCs etc. just the way it is. if you offer to pay one by the hour and he is reputable with references etc then you may get a good job w/o a quote. no contractor wants to be held down by a quote as they usually lose money with all the extras that go wrong with GCs and renos.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:11 PM   #22
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Wow, what a can of worms we opened. But this is good.
Reminds me of a job decades ago where i helped a homeowner finish his
work. he bought the units and material and did most of the work. After a year he called because the unit didnt work and wanted me to fix it under
warrenty.What balls. Yuri and Beenthere is right. I do the whole job with me supplying everthing or i dont do it. not worth the hassel. we had a resturant owner in our small town that always bought car parts for his car and then went to the auto shop to have the owner install them because he can get it cheaper. so one day the auto shop owner came in the resturant for breakfast with 2 raw eggs, 2 pieces of bread and gave them to the resturant owner to cook them. He told the resturent owner he can buy the eggs cheeper. That stopped that from happening.
As For the HVAC guys on the roof. There is alot of slobs out there.
I have been teaching apprentices for 20 years and now doing high school students. I have told everyone that if i catch them leaving a jobsite a mess, I will flunk them. I also told them to make sure all screws are installed in every panel and to leave the unit like you will be the next person working on it.
We are the only trade that HomeDepot does not teach at one of their
saturday handyman clinics
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:48 PM   #23
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Seems to me that if you can find a decent HVAC contractor willing to do it, then there is nothing wrong with it. Why should it be more complicated than that?
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:59 AM   #24
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Thank You PROS for your enlightening remarks, what a great bunch of mechanics on here.

My signature says it all.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:48 AM   #25
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OK, as a non HVAC professional here is what I think you did wrong.

You started a conversation with the word BUDGET.

What you should say, in my opinion is:

Hi, I am building my own home and I need a heating/cooling system installed. I am not interested in getting the lowest possible price, I am looking to get a quality system, at a reasonable price. I would like a system installed the way you, as an experienced professional would install a system in your own home.

I dont need a Rolls Royce with all the bells and whistles, just a good, reliable system that you recommend, that will remain trouble free for years with the required maintenance, which you will perform, other than filter changes.

If you call reputable contractors, you will get bids. I would be willing to bet it is your approach.

When somebody asks me as a professional roofing consultant for a BUDGET number, I always say that "It Depend because it depends on so many things that it would take hours to list them all, but it can be anywhere from 4.50 to 30 dollars a square foot."

It costs money to put numbers together, and for one house, if I was you, I would simply negotiate a price with a known good HVAC contractor, like one of the pros that post here.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:42 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvac instructor View Post
Wow, what a can of worms we opened. But this is good.
Reminds me of a job decades ago where i helped a homeowner finish his
work. he bought the units and material and did most of the work. After a year he called because the unit didnt work and wanted me to fix it under
warrenty.What balls. Yuri and Beenthere is right. I do the whole job with me supplying everthing or i dont do it. not worth the hassel.
Same here, I will do the whole job or nothing....

I think I have a story of a woman that has bigger balls than your guy..

Did an estimate on a referral from a neighbor.....Get a call on a Sunday morning, "Sidejob Bob" is putting her new system in and his vacuum pump (suprized he was using one) quit. Wanted to know if her installer could "Borrow Mine". I told her I don't loan my tools, this is how I feed my family and here would be the price for me to come out today and pull the vacuum....Never heard back....

Last edited by Technow; 02-25-2013 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 02-25-2013, 06:47 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagans View Post
OK, as a non HVAC professional here is what I think you did wrong.

You started a conversation with the word BUDGET.

What you should say, in my opinion is:

Hi, I am building my own home and I need a heating/cooling system installed. I am not interested in getting the lowest possible price, I am looking to get a quality system, at a reasonable price. I would like a system installed the way you, as an experienced professional would install a system in your own home.

I dont need a Rolls Royce with all the bells and whistles, just a good, reliable system that you recommend, that will remain trouble free for years with the required maintenance, which you will perform, other than filter changes.

If you call reputable contractors, you will get bids. I would be willing to bet it is your approach.

When somebody asks me as a professional roofing consultant for a BUDGET number, I always say that "It Depend because it depends on so many things that it would take hours to list them all, but it can be anywhere from 4.50 to 30 dollars a square foot."

It costs money to put numbers together, and for one house, if I was you, I would simply negotiate a price with a known good HVAC contractor, like one of the pros that post here.

Well I only used budget here. When I went to visit some contractors I had drawings, equipment in mind etc. I asked for a quote on a system - nope, call us when your ready to put it in. Bull - A contractor that can't or won't give me the time of day ahead of the actual build is one more crossed off the list. I even went into a Mitsubishi Diamond dealer to inquire about a mini-split system. Guy came out gave me 3 min of crap, told me it would be real expensive. He asked me 3 times if I wanted him to come look at the house and 3 times I held up the drawings and told him to have a look. I left disgusted, wife told me this is how it feels to have boobs & go to the auto mechanic. This is the main reason I started this thread in the first place. The fact that I am having a hard time getting a quote/bid, shoddy work on my present house, etc, so I wondered why I shouldn't do it? In reality it's only another by the hour service call for the AC guy.

BTW - if the professionals in my area were half as professional as some of the people on here I don't think I'd be having this problem. I just don't like the patronizing attitude I've been getting locally, I have the cash so at least treat me like you want it.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:24 PM   #28
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There must be a heck of a lot of work around where you are. I tend to agree with you, a good estimator should be able to give you a ballpark number pretty fast, as long as he knows what your specs are. Pretty weird. I don't understand why they want the house finished first, don't they have rough in work to do? I would not settle for registers in the floor either, but that seems like the way they do them nowadays.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:41 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by ratflinger View Post
Well I only used budget here. When I went to visit some contractors I had drawings, equipment in mind etc. I asked for a quote on a system - nope, call us when your ready to put it in. Bull - A contractor that can't or won't give me the time of day ahead of the actual build is one more crossed off the list. I even went into a Mitsubishi Diamond dealer to inquire about a mini-split system. Guy came out gave me 3 min of crap, told me it would be real expensive. He asked me 3 times if I wanted him to come look at the house and 3 times I held up the drawings and told him to have a look. I left disgusted, wife told me this is how it feels to have boobs & go to the auto mechanic. This is the main reason I started this thread in the first place. The fact that I am having a hard time getting a quote/bid, shoddy work on my present house, etc, so I wondered why I shouldn't do it? In reality it's only another by the hour service call for the AC guy.

BTW - if the professionals in my area were half as professional as some of the people on here I don't think I'd be having this problem. I just don't like the patronizing attitude I've been getting locally, I have the cash so at least treat me like you want it.
You haven't found the right company yet.

I would take your plans and give you a ballpark quote and then when you get it finally built-give you a firm quote.

The odds of your house looking like the plans when it is built is very rare. Moved walls, added footage, different materials, etc....

For example:

#1

Did quote off plans....house built....purchase equipment...layout duct....start install, then home owner/builder asks if I will install his "cigar vent" over his pool table...

ME: "Uh...where is that?"
HIM: "in the Room over the Garage"
ME: "Uh...that was unconditioned on your plans"
HIM: "We decided to finish it"
ME: "You should have told me, let me get you a change order..."

And then I had to pull out a unit that was already installed, re calc. the duct and system, get a different bigger unit for the upstairs and was stuck with an airhandler that the distributor wouldn't take back because it had been installed.

#2

Builder was doing his personal house. House was built from one of his stock plans and he said "the J-calcs have already been done, I need a 3 ton up and 3 ton down". He built his personal house with Low-e glass, upgraded insulation and a slightly different floor plan.

I bet he has to set the temp to the 60's to get rid of the humidity!
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:56 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technow View Post
You haven't found the right company yet.
Nope. They're all pretty much like that.

Quote:
I would take your plans and give you a ballpark quote
and then when you get it finally built-give you a firm quote.
But he doesn't want a "ball park" quote.
He is specifically asking for a specific quote.

Brand, type and size of equipment.
Primary and secondary duct layout.
And the 10 other common details that mean you did your homework.

Yeah, he knows you know he could take that spec and shop it.
That's why he's willing to pay for the time to prepare that spec.

Quote:
The odds of your house looking like the plans when it is built is very rare.
So what? You put a big fat qualifier on the bottom to CYA.


Last edited by TarheelTerp; 02-25-2013 at 08:35 PM.
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