Why The Lowest Price Is Not Always The Best Price

This is a TRUE scenario of a customer of John Waters Inc. who made a low-price decision for the installation of a new heating and cooling system for a home he had recently purchased. The story starts out with our customer purchasing a new home that was foreclosed on and was not finished by the previous owner.

Our customer needed a heating and air system installed on existing ductwork which had been installed by a previous HVAC contractor. (The previous contractor had performed the initial work for the original home builder.) Our customer called for us to come out and look at his home to see what was needed to complete his heating/cooling system for his new home.

The John Waters Inc. service rep went to the site of the new home, measured the house, windows, doors, etc. to calculate the correct size of equipment needed. Based on the measurements and the house requirements, we submitted a proposal for the installation of the new equipment to complete the HVAC system.

Another company also submitted a proposal. They, however, based their proposal on information derived from our recommendations. (This is a red flag – the other company failed to measure the house requirements to accurately give a quote.)

Not surprising, the other company’s proposal was approximately $ 1,500.00 less than the proposal submitted by John Waters Inc. Our customer was on a tight budget and asked us to see if there was any “additional money” that we could lower our price by. We looked at our proposal and concluded for the work the job required, and to be installed properly, we did not have any “extra” money to “get out” of our proposal.

Our customer then informed us that based on the money constraints that he could only afford to have the other contractor install the equipment.


The price of going “cheap”

Our customer contracted with the other company for the installation of the equipment, which was installed in the summer of 2011. In the winter of 2012, our customer called JWI to see if we could “help him out” with a problem he was having with the airflow on his system and high utility bills. When we went to the house to look over the system, we learned the other contractor had returned after the initial installation to make some duct modifications trying to improve the return airflow for the system. Since that visit to improve the duct modifications, the owner discovered the contractor had gone out of business.

Our inspection revealed the return air filter was restricting the airflow back into the system, there were no equipment bases (pump ups) for the outdoor heat pump unit, and the refrigerant lines were not anchored properly.

Our customer would end up paying John Waters Inc. approximately $ 1,980.00 to make duct modifications to his system for proper operation and $ 580.00 for the replacement of the indoor evaporator coil which had to be replaced. The coil was covered by equipment warranty, but the labor was not – because the installing contractor had gone out of business.

The cost of “saving”? In total the customer paid approximately $ 2,560.00 to make repairs/modifications to his system which should have been done on the original job by the installer of the equipment. In other words, more than $1,000.00 over the quote we provided, plus time and stress spent to correct the problems.


Moral of the story:

Please take into consideration the actual cost of a decision that may sound like the cheaper alternative for now yet may cost you more in the long run. A typical heating/cooling system when properly installed should provide comfort in your home for approximately 15 years of trouble-free operation in addition to lower operating costs due to repairs and lower fuel costs. The additional cost of $1,500.00 over 15 years for a heating/cooling system is $.27 per day which normally can be made up by lower utility usage for a new system. And by charging a fair price, it means we can stay in business to serve you for years to come.

Ask about our 12-month money-back guarantee for high-efficiency heating and cooling systems and our financing options. We may be able to help you spread the payment of doing the best and proper job over time.