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Honest Heating Contractors in a Down Economy

Written by Expert Author: Bonnie Bornstein Fertel

"Honesty is the best policy" "Thou shalt not lie"
"An honest day's work for an honest day's pay" "Thou shalt not steal"

The sun rises, and millions of hardworking people open their eyes to another day. Thankful for that, they realize they have no heat. OH NO! They call a heating contractor.....”I have no heat, my house is cold, my family is complaining! Can you help?” Arrangements are made, a technician is dispatched, and the process begins.

With a handy flashlight, the skilled heating service tech eyes his victim, the heating unit. Or, more to the point, should we say, the customer? Hmmm.....he says, eyes glued to the cold, still vertical box in the basement, just as I thought. Ma'am I'm sorry to tell you that you have a defective fragistat, and it's really serious. Too dangerous to even try to get this old clunker started. I'll have to turn it off, cap the pipes and disconnect all the wires, right now. OH NO! "Now what?" the terrified homeowner asks? Well, I'll have to call my boss. The office will get back to you and send one of our handy-dandy salesmen. And, so it happens.....the salesman arrives, hands Ms. Homeowner a brochure, and wearing the funeral directors visage, he heads directly to view the 'patient' in the basement. " I expected" he snarls viewing the supposed deceased.....your fragistat is shot....and not available for this vintage equipment. Oh yes, quite dangerous, needs to be replaced immediately....sign here".

Ms. Homeowner is scared. The salesman, spewing salesman type words makes Ms. Homeowner a bit uncomfortable. The panic sets in.....does she call another contractor? But she's heard of "We Run Hot and Cold Heating and Cooling Company". But something tells her to make just one more call. She hasn't used this company before. Sometimes you have established a relationship with a contractor and by having that company perform annual maintenance on your system you can pick up the phone and call upon him and trust his technicians.....but no, that wasn't the case here....... So, Ms. Homeowner 'Googles' heating contractors in her area....makes another phone call.... "Of course we can have someone stop by today to check this out for you!" Relieved, she makes a cup of hot chocolate and waits for the next technician.

Pondering the situation, what is a cracked fragistat, anyway? From the eyes of a contractor, this terminology instills fear in each and every one of us. Typically you will notice exterior deterioration on your heating equipment, due to age, improper maintenance, and well, just bad luck. And, when confirmed, replacement of the heating equipment is definitely the answer. The technician from company#2, "We're Reputable, Honest, and Hard Working Nice People Heating Company" arrives, and in Ms. Homeowner's case....he confirms the problem. But, in a calm tone, he explains the situation, and calls his office to arrange for his boss, the owner, to visit the situation. Mr. Heating Contractor Owner follows shortly, and takes the time to explain how his technicians can arrive first thing next morning, to replace the ailing heating equipment. The details of the job are reviewed, the price is quoted, no scare tactics, no alarms, no deceit. The next day arrives, and so does Mr. Heating Contractor's technicians with a brand new shiny unit. At the end of the day, the job is done, the heat works, and a new piece of heating equipment has been installed for Ms. Homeowner and her family.

This easy scenario is not always the case. Often, particularly when the economy is in a downturn, disreputable companies might send hungry technicians or, more seasoned salesmen, scouting for work. Sometimes equipment replacement is required, sometimes, it's not. SAD. What has the world come to?

There was a time when honest people woke up each morning, thankful for that, and set out to do the 'right thing'. We always tell our service technicians to be honest. Pretend the camera is on....or better yet, pretend your mother is sitting on your shoulder and you know how she would react to a lie.

Stay warm!

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