What is your time really worth? I mean, have you ever taken the time to figure how much per hour your time is worth – to you?

Anyone can certainly figure out how much their time is worth while they’re working by dividing the amount of their pay, by the number of hours that they’ve actually worked. But what about your leisure hours? How much is that time worth – per hour? I’ll bet much more.

That’s why it is puzzling to me why some homeowners will spend so much of their precious leisure time dealing with the replacement of their heating and air conditioning systems. Many will shop around, contacting three, four, or more contractors, comparing several ‘bids’. Unfortunately many of them will place their sole emphasis on which one was the lowest price.

This approach will insure two things: First, that they have paid less, and second, they have likely not gotten a very good job. It would surely be better for the homeowner if their goal were to find an honest, reputable licensed contractor and then trust them to do the work correctly. I have yet to see a job that was done by any company who offered the cheapest price, where the work was also done properly.

Everyone seems to want three things: reliable, brand name equipment; the best installation; and the lowest price. Pick any two, because getting all three is just not possible.

Oh, I’m not suggesting that the initial cost isn’t important. It is. I’m just suggesting that there are other criteria that are more important on which to base your final decision than just the initial price.

Too many times I’ve seen jobs that have been installed where the homeowner was not even aware of the shoddy workmanship that they had gotten from the “low bidder”. That is, not until they had to pay for repairs or modifications to get the system to perform adequately.

This is a purchase where your total effort should be trying to find the best contractor to do the work – not the cheapest one. Think about attempting to get that low bidder to fix problems that showed up after the job had been completed. I can think of better ways to spend my precious time than waiting for Mr. Low Bidder to even show up when they were supposed to, let alone fix their problems.

Don’t waste your time – or your money, they are both very valuable. Choose a contractor, and a system that will insure that you won’t need to deal with this issue again – for the next 20 to 25 years.

For even more detailed information about heating and air conditioning, join me at our next Homeowners Workshop. Any questions will be addressed, so bring your list. There is no cost, so bring your friends, neighbors, and relatives. If you are interested in attending, call (818) 886-2600 to make a reservation. Join us for coffee and a snack for a couple of hours and you’ll take home a few extra calories, and some really useful information. You can also pick up your free copy of The Heating and Air Conditioning Buyers Guide.

Jim Berry was a heating and air conditioning service technician prior to becoming a Sales Consultant for Kahn Air Conditioning. Kahn hosts free monthly workshops to help homeowners learn more about their heating and air conditioning systems. For any questions regarding heating or air conditioning, send an e-mail to
Jim at info@kahnair.com.

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