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AC Repair conundrum

Discussion in 'General' started by Used2befast, Oct 2, 2022.

  1. Used2befast

    Used2befast Well-Known Member

    The electric bill was going up higher than I'd seen since we bought the house in 18. The temps been hot here in Texas and the house seemed a tad warm or not cooling/holding temp.

    I go outside to the heat pump and the fan is running. I have a trane so I pull my app up on the phone and I see the app says system idle. Fan outside on top of unit running. I command the temp down I hear the contactor click. Temp inside comes down inside. System goes idle. Fan still running hmmm. I go back inside and turn system off for an hour with breakers. Flip breakers on and fan comes on immediately. Call friend whose trane repair tech. he says better call trane authorized repair. I prepaid for a summer and winter check so I call and the guy says he needs to see what's up. Takes elec panel off heat pump outside and says I see the contactor is sticking/burnt causing fan to run continuously. I need to go grab one at office and be back in 30 min. Cool. Comes back and brings a new trane replacement 2 pole 40A contactor.

    Pulls his I-pad out and says I need you to authorize me to replace the contactor. I look at the I-pad and it says $245. I say to him "you must be joking?" "Call your manager and see if he can do better than that. That contactor is $25 and I'm not paying you $220 for a 10 min job." I go inside and pull a Google ad with a trane contactor for $18 bucks and text the pic off the website to ac repair office manager. He says sorry...that's the cost.

    I said leave the burnt one in there and I will replace it myself. He was cool and said if your even half mechanically inclined you can replace that contactor. Pic of new contactor installed.

    I'm gonna buy him lunch when he comes back.

    I think $245 was taking me for a ride...what say you beeb?

  2. Venom51

    Venom51 John Deere Equipment Expert - Not really

  3. Phl218

    Phl218 .

    Wife called a window guy to get the one replaced with the upcoming kitchen (diy) remodel.

    $ 2675




    for that $, i will buy the best window i can get my hands on and slap it in there, with all trim and such i will still come out with more than a grand left in my pocket…

    crazy times
  4. Gino230

    Gino230 Well-Known Member

    Nice! You'e lucky you got someone to even show up.

    But good on you doing it yourself. :beer:
  5. pickled egg

    pickled egg We need moah buttah

    It’s $150 for me to start the van.

    It’s easy to repair things after someone tells/shows you what’s wrong. :rolleyes:
    cav115, RightSideUp, JBraun and 14 others like this.
  6. Boman Forklift

    Boman Forklift Well-Known Member

    Did that price include the service call and labor, if so seems reasonable?

    As a business owner, rolling my guy out with a van full of $5-10k in inventory, getting 6-8mpg with the parts, hydraulic and motor oil, starters, alternators, air compressor tools etc. Then paying $5-6 per gallon for gasoline out here, etc.

    I think each van costs me $2K a year to insure. Workers comp is very expensive, then I have a retirement plan and healthcare, so he isn’t getting rich off that 225 job.

    We charge a $145 service call fee plus parts and labor. Now if he charged you

    $145 Service call
    $72.50. For the 30 minutes to diagnose and install
    $25. Contactor

    That’s inline with a reasonable price to me.
    backbone, Sudowoodo, BigBird and 2 others like this.
  7. Montoya

    Montoya Well-Known Member

    Honestly seems like a fair price to me. A lot of electrical/hvac companies are moving towards some variation of a 2 hour minimum for service work. Which is effectively what they quoted you, plus the parts. If you’re trying to price match a national online warehouse and only charge for the corrective repair, just hard to make the numbers work. That initial trip, diagnostic, parts run, warranty, all have to be factored in somehow.
    cav115, BigBird and Boman Forklift like this.
  8. Used2befast

    Used2befast Well-Known Member

    True...still tried to overcharge me;)
  9. Used2befast

    Used2befast Well-Known Member

    He was at my house for the winter ops inspection which I had already prepaid. They got my money months ago...this was a free visit. He could not do the inspection with contactor stuck. It was my choice to refuse to their high priced contactor.
  10. Rebel635

    Rebel635 Well-Known Member

    Reminds me of the joke about the 10k repair bill for 15 min of work joke.
    Customer asks for breakdown of the bill.
    1. Red sharpie - $2
    2. Knowing where to mark the X and point to bad part. - $9998

    Talk about lack of customer service. They were already on site, he could have gone, I’d charge ya XX for time and that part even though they’d want me to charge you $225.
    Now you’ll be pissed and not renew that extended warrantee or call them up again.
    BigBird and Boman Forklift like this.
  11. Boman Forklift

    Boman Forklift Well-Known Member

    Man that’s $5 more than me and cost of living is a lot more out here. Maybe I need to raise my rates again.
  12. pickled egg

    pickled egg We need moah buttah

    I haven’t bumped my rates, $125-150 for first hour is pretty standard out here. Unless you’re a plumber, then it’s $250-300 for the first hour.
    Boman Forklift likes this.
  13. TurboBlew

    TurboBlew Registers Abusers

    I see people get taken for 10s of thousands on "replacement windows"...
    Contractor comes in & cuts the old window out of the fin frame... then puts a replacement jamb type that
    is "floating" in the middle of the rough opening, relying on the shear strength of the fasteners along with huge voids that get filled w/ foam & caulk. (not how they were "tested")
    No butyl tape or sealant to properly "adhere" the window so the conditioned envelope is maintained & it can achieve its energy ratings.
    Phl218 likes this.
  14. dobr24

    dobr24 Well-Known Member

    I am in the service industry and can tell you that I would have put you on the "no rush to call back" list after that one. I take care of people who don't waste my time, talent and efforts. Funny how many people get "mad" at our prices until they try another contractor.

    I pay for the following which all needs to be included in every job we do:
    Hourly rate for the employee
    Applicable insurance and taxes for salary
    Liability insurance
    Licenses( Company)
    Service vehicle and its insurance and licensing
    A full truck worth of tools to be able to fix any problem
    Fuel for the vehicles
    Employee education
    Office space
    Business insurance
    24 hour service
    On staff designer
    Workers comp
    Staff salaries
    Cell phones

    That is just off the top of my head and I'm sure I missed quite a bit. If I call a service man they get paid to fix it. I will happily try to troubleshoot it myself first and once I realize it's over my head I pay a professional. Is that all worth the $220 for the service assuming you pay the contractor no markup on the materials? You bet it is.
    cav115, RightSideUp, JBraun and 5 others like this.
  15. Used2befast

    Used2befast Well-Known Member

    Wasn't mad at all. In fact, maybe you missed the fact that I was on the "pre-paid club" scheduled call out.

    I know my system pretty good and tech agreed with me that I have the "right" to refuse any service as I watched him.

    Funny thing was 1st ham fisted tech that ever showed up at my house, for this company, he spent 2 hours troubleshooting and ended up breaking my upstairs fan covers and complained that my trane was worst system ever while doing it. Owner had to pay for new ones when I showed him the pics of the cracked panels. Good on him.
  16. dobr24

    dobr24 Well-Known Member

    Oh, I saw you were on the prepaid list. Doesn't change any of the above. Costs are costs and the maintenance program just guarantees that you get a tech when you need one. If that was my service tech I would explain to him that he works for the person whose name is at the bottom of the check and if he chooses to show the owner how to fix their own stuff then I really have no need for him as he just became my competition and not my employee.

    What a lot of people don't realize is that there are not enough service personnel to take care of the existing customer base and figuring in the new systems you will be much better served to be on a hierarchy repair list of some sort and don't get stuck on the we'll get to you when we can list.
    cav115 and rd49 like this.
  17. Used2befast

    Used2befast Well-Known Member

    So, I was standing there when he pulled the panel and looked at the burnt contactor. He didn't "show" me how to fix it as I have the mechanical and technical abilities to do most anything.

    The ham fisted tech was so clueless that he neglected to notice the "red light" flashing on the circuit board on the outside panel which basically directs you "what to troubleshoot" with the system.
    Like any computer controlled ac system these days sometimes you just flip the breakers, wait 15-30 mins, and flip them back on. Reboot.

    As the "homeowner" I have a right of refusal that's all I was saying. Nobody can force you to pay "said" amount because they show up unless you agree. The going rate for showing up "service call" around here is $89-99.
  18. Motofun352

    Motofun352 Well-Known Member

    I trouble shoot and fix everything I can. I still get in over my head now that most everything has gone complex with electronics and gadgets. The fridge is currently not working up to snuff. I figured it just needed the coils to be cleaned. What a mess of coils that can't be vacuumed! All the electronic displays and switches seem to be intact. Gonna call the repair man if I can find one that works on Kenmores..............
  19. Boman Forklift

    Boman Forklift Well-Known Member

    Interesting, I remember a few years ago when I was only billing $105 an hour, I was talking to a small dealer like myself from Las Vegas, he was already at $135 an hour back then. His rent was less than I had to pay, plus they pay their employees less per hour out there.

    After speaking to a couple of the forklift manufacturers, S Cal is one of the most competitive markets.

    Evidently part of that problem is back in 08 when everything slowed down, a lot of mechanics got laid off and then bought a $3000 Ford van, took the tools they already owned and opened up for business with no insurance, so that’s kept the labor billing rates down out here.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2022
  20. Used2befast

    Used2befast Well-Known Member

    Interesting. I have a Kenmore model 106 refrigerator in my garage mfg date 4-95. This frig is a tank and hasn't missed a beat. I bought it used in 2002, moved it from Abilene to DFW, DFW to Tampa then back to DFW in 2016.

    Did you try putting it to the 3 air balance and temp setting? Wait 24 hrs? 20221003_083257.jpg

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