Lewis Maclean January 2018



There’s a saying in our industry: “A good tradesman isn’t cheap, and a cheap tradesman isn’t good.” We see it all the time. A person calls because they’re interested in a quote for a job, and then they call someone else looking for a lower quote. The truth is, there will always be a lower quote out there. You will always find someone who will do a job for less than everyone else. But, as with a lot of things, you get what you pay for. If you want to go with a cheap tradesman, you can expect a cheap job. Sometimes, you do want to save money — that’s completely understandable. It’s never fun when you have an additional bill around the holidays because your furnace or boiler stopped working. My advice is to not be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to your home. This is the place where you spend much of your time. You may live in your home for years, if not decades. When you pay for cheap service one year, you’ll find that you’ll pay for that cheap service again sooner rather than later. Here is another thing to keep in mind: The credentials of low-cost technicians. When you have a tradesman in your home — any tradesman for any job — ask for their credentials. Even better, ask before they step foot into your home. Ask if they’re insured and certified, then ask to see verification. Do your due diligence and take the necessary steps to protect your home, yourself, and your pocketbook.

When you do ask for quotes — which is a good habit to form — and you notice a steep price difference between companies, this is a red flag. A small difference in price generally isn’t a big deal and doesn’t necessarily speak to the quality of the service. Quotes vary from company to company, but the difference usually isn’t major.

It’s tempting to go with the lower price. The temptation is never going to go away. You want to save hundreds of dollars on a service or parts. The tradesman may even offer a one-year warranty on his service or repair. In your mind, you might be thinking you can live with that. But a one-year warranty is a bare-minimum warranty. The company offering the low quote and one-year warranty knows their service isn’t going to last. They know what they’re offering is low-quality. That’s another red fl ag. In the end, when you go with a cheap service, you’ll save money today, but you’ll discover you’re paying more tomorrow. People fall into the trap of “saving” money, year after year, while racking up bills all the while. It’s a real problem, but like all problems, it has a solution. The next time you shop around for quotes to repair or replace your home’s HVAC or plumbing system, put the numbers to the test. Look for unusual discrepancies in price and in warranties. Look for those red fl ags. If they appear, you know to go with someone else — someone who has your best interests in mind and who won’t cause you headaches later on.


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