What makes a good estimate?

What makes a good estimate?

So you’ve interviewed some prospective contractors and you’re ready to get some pricing on your next big HVAC project. But how do you know that your estimate has everything in it that it needs to have or how do you know you’re not getting ripped off? That’s what we’re here to cover today

Here are the kinds of questions you need to ask and ingredients of a strong estimate. Let’s jump right in.

Size and capacity

You should ask every contractor what capacity you’ll need to cool your home and then listen to their answers. Most HVAC pros use a Load Calculation to come up with the correct size, but in this case – it’s important to make sure you’re going with the most consistent answer. It’s a good way to weed out who does and doesn’t know what they’re doing which, as sad as we are to say it – can happen in this industry.

What do I have now that can be used?

While we’d usually recommend an entirely new install, sometimes budgetary constraints are what they are and you have to get creative. A great way to work down the number on an estimate is to see what you have in your current system – such as ducts – that can be used with your new system.

Ask for proof of everything

Make sure you get proof that the company you’re going to work with is bonded and insured and that there is specifically a section that talks about things like permits, the costs, etc. While government red tape is headache inducing and sometimes expensive – it’s there for a reason and as professionals, we’re responsible for knowing it and following the letter of the law to the ‘t’.

Look for rebates

Ask about rebates, tax credits and the like. A lot of new systems are energy efficient these days, so it’s not impossible to get some money back on your project and if your HVAC company cares about taking care of you and has your best interests in mind – they’ll help you dig these up if they want to win your business.

Shop around

Yes, of course you want to get quotes from a few professionals, but shop within the individual places as well. Do they offer seasonal deals, what kinds of financing and payment options do they offer and what kind of brands, makes and models do they have and what will work best? These are all things that can save you some money – but more importantly – get you a better value.