Most homeowners dread asking this question when they need to call an HVAC or Plumbing company. Before they even pick up the phone, all they see are dollar signs and get a knot in their stomach. Rest assured that most companies will require a service fee but there are a few things you may want to confirm to make sure you choose a company you are comfortable working with.
Depending on where you live, service fees can be as low at $79 or as high as $150. As a homeowner, you have the right to know what that fee includes. At first glance, it may sound like the HVAC or Plumbing contractor is price gouging but here is what you SHOULD be getting for your initial investment.
One other important question you may want to ask is, “Does the service fee go towards the cost of the repair?”. This is a very common business practice in the HVAC and Plumbing industry; however, it is completely up to the contractor on if they choose to participate. The customer service representative should advise you of this on your call, if not asking this question during the scheduling process will help eliminate any surprises or you may simply decide to use a different contractor.
You will also find that many contractors charge a premium (higher) service fee if you schedule them to come out to your home after regular business hours, on the weekends or on holidays. Premium service fees may also occur during peak seasons, like the middle of summer or the coldest winter months. Demand service increases, therefore, some contractors will give priority to customers who are willing to pay a premium service fee.
It's easier than ever to research HVAC and Plumbing contractors when you need one. Take the time to not only look at online reviews but look at their website and see what information is being presented upfront. You should be able to see their current plumbing and HVAC licenses. The last thing you want to do is schedule with a one man “Chuck in a Truck”. They may have to lowest service fees, if they have one at all, but you will get what you pay for. More problems. HVAC and Plumbing contractors can often be labeled as having the “sleezy used car salesman” vibe, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and do some research. There’s a multitude of HVAC and Plumbing contractors who operate with integrity and customer serving core values. As the homeowner, you should feel comfortable about who you have in your home and of course, where your money goes.