Beware the “Singular Specialty Expert”

My business partner and I attend a lot of events with other professionals in our industry. Recently, I was at a meeting where a very high-end HVAC contractor was boasting to our group about the $150K geothermal heating and cooling system his company recently installed in a NJ home. The system was top shelf, top price, and his client had no problems paying for it.

Shortly after the new HVAC system was installed, however, his client called to say that one room in his house was still feeling very cold and uncomfortable. The HVAC contractor explained to his client how the system was properly sized and was delivering as designed. The problem, said the HVAC contractor, was that the house was old and not properly weathersealed. So the HVAC contractor then sold his client another $50K in weathersealing to make sure each and every room was finally comfortable.

This story made me wonder why the HVAC contractor didn’t start with an energy audit. This might have cost the client a couple of thousand dollars for a larger home — which I assume it was — but that audit would have suggested weathersealing first, and then HVAC system upgrades, as needed. The new HVAC systems would have then been smaller and less expensive for the newly efficient weathersealed home.

The obvious answer is that this HVAC pro wanted to make the largest sale possible. In fact, he made two large sales: the oversized HVAC system, plus the energy efficiency upgrades to the house.

Make no mistake we are in business to make money, but, at our company, we pride ourselves on helping our clients spend wisely.

A really good residential general contractor is a lot like your family doctor. Just like your family’s GP, it is our job to know the personality of your home, its special flaws and its unique features. We work with you to correct problems in a holistic fashion you can live with. Sure, sometimes, you do have to spend a lot of money on your home. But at other times, the simple, less-expensive solution is the right one. A great GC will pride himself or herself on helping you make the best choice.