How to Choose a Quality Service Company
Choosing a swimming pool heater service contractor for a job is sometimes harder than the work itself. You need to find one who is honest, competent and who cares about the quality of his work with swimming pool heating systems.
They are out there though. Usually they don't have to advertise their experience with pool heaters, and they can pick and choose who they work for, but when you find one, hang on to them, because they are worth their weight in wrenches. Hopefully it will be the start of a relationship that will last for many years. One that will give you peace of mind knowing that you are being treated fairly and your electric pool heater, gas pool heater, or solar pool heater is properly installed and maintained at a reasonable price.
The best way is the old standby: word of mouth. Call everyone that you know and ask who they have had a good experience with when it came to the installation of their swimming pool heating equipment. If you are a hermit or new to your area, I've made a list of ten rules to help you find a good pool heater contractor. And don't forget everything beats just calling the biggest ad in the phone book.
1. Never use a pool heating contractor who solicits you for your business. You have to ask yourself why he's so lonely?
2. Only use a pool heating contractor who uses his name in the title of his company, like me of course. I want a person with a big ego fixing things for me. Chances are they will take pride in their work.
3. Try only to deal with the owner of the pool heating contracting company. Employees come and go but owners seem to stay around a little longer. Remember you are trying to develop a relationship.
4. Never chase a special price on pool heater service. There is always something else you have to buy. See rule 1.
5. Ask what the hourly rate is on the phone. When they arrive tell them that you want to know the cost of the pool heating parts before they are installed. If the rate is too high or the materials seem out of line tell them that it is more than you are able to spend at this time. Never let them lower their price. Tell them that you respect their ability and competence, and the way they value their work but you are unable to do business with them at this time. But the next time something comes up you will give them the opportunity to bid on the work. And the next time do give them the chance. They might be more reasonable.
6. If the estimate is too high, tell the contractor that you will get some more quotes. If he wants to be paid for the service call, pay him and ask for a credit if he does the work later. Then call two other pool heater contractors to get a free estimate for the specific repair that the first contractor said the problem was.
7. Never haggle with the price. See rule Five. If you use them again they will overcharge you and then reduce it when you haggle. You don't want somebody working for you who feels like they are being cheated.
8. Don't promise to get them a lot of work with other people. Contractors hear that all day long from people who want a break on the bill. Don't give the contractor an opportunity to laugh at you.
9. Look at the truck and the service person. Are they clean? Is the name painted on the truck? Does the pool heater contractor look like an axe murderer?
10. Pay by credit card if possible or pay by check when the job is complete. No deposit "to buy the parts" but on equipment change outs you might have to give a deposit. Make sure you have a contract though.
When you find a good one treat them well and you'll be repaid many times. And don't forget good people know other good people so don't be afraid to ask. Maybe you will have a lot less to worry about.
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