10 Things to Get Out of an HVAC Sales Appointment

10 Things to Get Out of an HVAC Sales Appointment

I am the owner of Fire & Ice. I have 26 years in residential HVAC, where I started out as a service technician. I believe in running an honest HVAC business and doing the job right, or not doing it at all.

About This Article

Get the most out of your next meeting with an HVAC professional with these 10 tips for an in-home appointment.

The dreaded sales appointment can be an exercise in torture for some homeowners. Whether it’s for HVAC equipment, a new roof, windows, or other major purchase, many will hunker down and prepare to defend themselves against a hard sales pitch for an hour or more.

We’re here to tell you it shouldn’t be that way.

Properly handled, a sales appointment should be an educational experience for you, where you come away with a sense of your options and a renewed confidence that you’ll make the best possible decision for your home.

Want to know how to get the most out of a meeting with an HVAC representative for a new air conditioner, furnace, heat pump or other product? This article will take you through the appointment, from before the meeting through to the final purchase. It contains items you can proactively do to better prepare yourself, as well as things you should be looking for in a good HVAC contractor.

Lastly, you’ll have 10 takeaways that can help to structure your appointment, ensuring you get the most out of your time. You might only buy a new A/C or furnace two or three times in your entire life! You owe it to yourself to maximize each investment.

So, are you ready to make your next HVAC sales appointment your best ever? Let’s get to it.

Before the Appointment

Usually, the first step will be a call to an HVAC company, or maybe you filled out a contact form on the company’s website, and they’re reaching out to schedule an appointment. These early steps can still be important. Here are some things to be aware of.

What You Can Do

Any information on your current system will help the HVAC contractor to better prepare information and pricing when you meet face-to-face. How old is it? Is it still running? Are there any issues you’ve had with it in recent years?

Other factors might include the size and nature of your house. Are you looking to heat or cool a patio or home addition that wasn’t there when the old system was installed?

You can also research equipment, companies and HVAC topics to be better prepared for the eventual appointment.

Another check you’ll want to make is ensuring that the contractor is licensed and certified within the HVAC industry. Some are not, and this has implications for the quality of your installation and long-term stability of your system. At Fire & Ice, our installers are N.A.T.E. certified (North American Technician Excellence), the highest certification in the industry. We also always pull permits for our work, which necessitates a third-party inspection of all of our work. If this step isn’t taken, significant corners can be cut by your installer.

Lastly, when you call matters. Always keep in mind that the company wants to meet with you as soon as they can! If they’re booked for the week, for example, it’s probably because they’re swamped with requests. The first hot week(s) of the spring are generally HVAC’s busiest, along with the first cold week(s) of the fall. Be proactive and tackle this project before the weather turns.

What Your HVAC Contractor Should Do

The company you speak with should immediately find out where you live to confirm that you’re within their service area. If you’re not, any other information exchanged is a waste of everyone’s time.

A well-prepared customer service representative will prompt you on many of the questions listed above.

Lastly, they’ll work with your schedule to find a time that works for you. Many sales representatives will work well into the evening to find times that fit your schedule.

After the appointment is set, you’ll generally get an introduction email from the representative who will be visiting your home. This is an important safety step to ensure you know who will be entering your home.

 
HVAC Contractor Checklist
 

Sometimes, this introduction will be accompanied by educational material for you to review at your convenience. Reading this can help you to ask better questions when the company visits your home. Take the time to review any materials sent, and feel free to respond with questions even before your appointment.

Day of Your HVAC Appointment

The day of the appointment is mostly about the meeting itself, but there are still a handful of items you can do to be prepared for the appointment.

What You Can Do

If your HVAC equipment is in the basement, make sure the area is clear of boxes or debris. Additionally, as much as possible, make sure the area is well-lit.

The representative will be taking measurements and inspecting the equipment. Having clear access through lighting and space is important to get accurate readings.

What Your HVAC Contractor Should Do

You should receive a reminder text, email, and/or call to confirm the appointment, as well as any special instructions for the meeting.

A sales representative will also review all notes from your initial call to the company, and will have material prepared to discuss with you. They’ll also check on the current status of any applicable rebates or tax credits available for HVAC equipment. This can often lower the final price due to manufacturer or government incentives being offered.

During the Appointment

Ideally, all decision-makers are in the home for the appointment and can ask questions and walk through the process with an HVAC representative. Here are some considerations for that meeting.

What You Can Do

If you’ve researched the equipment, pricing or installation details beforehand, now is the time to ask any remaining questions you have. Any good sales representative will have heard the same questions and will be able to answer your question thoroughly.

This is also the time to explain any quirks of your home to the rep. Maybe you have a loft that struggles to stay as warm or cool as other parts of the house, or your A/C unit is on a raised platform attached to your home and you’d like it lowered if a new one is installed.

Whatever the issue is, it’s worth a discussion.

What Your HVAC Contractor Should Do

The contractor’s job is to get all the relevant information to make the best recommendation and present all your options.

This starts with inspecting the existing equipment, and figuring out if a particular replacement type makes more sense. For example, if you’re replacing an air conditioner, your furnace might not have the infrastructure to support a variable-speed air conditioner.

In this case, the contractor would likely suggest a single-speed air conditioner as the simplest replacement. Alternatively, if the furnace is older and could be much more efficient, they may also talk to you about potentially replacing both units.

These sorts of curveballs can be a source of anxiety to a homeowner, but they don’t have to be. In the example above, replacing both at the same time can make both installations significantly cheaper, and can save money long-term as opposed to replacing them separately. It may not have been an option you were initially considering, but could be the best route.

The appointment will also include a load calculation, which is a measurement of your home, combined with information like how many doors and windows you have, how large they are, and what kind of shape they’re in. This helps the HVAC rep know how powerful a system you’ll need to properly service your home.

No options should ever be pushed on you. Educating the homeowner and consulting with them on their options should be the only focus. For example, maybe you’re not ready to replace your furnace in the scenario above. The information gathered should be kept on file, so that when you’re ready for that step, the company has the information and doesn’t need to revisit the home for new calculations.

After the Appointment

Following your appointment, you’re not done! More importantly, your HVAC contractor should just be getting started.

What You Can Do

Review the information you’ve received and send any follow-up questions to the representative you met with.

What Your HVAC Contractor Should Do

Your discussion may have led to some very detailed answers, so it’s a best practice to reiterate much of the information that was discussed in the meeting. This might be in the form of an email or links to educational information.

The HVAC provider will also confirm any responses they gave with their installation manager, in case there was something unique about the home or equipment that may require a special process.

The Takeaways

What should you know by the end of the process. Here’s a comprehensive list:

  1. Know that the HVAC representative was there to educate and assist, not sell. If you ever feel like you’re being pressured into a decision, it’s a red flag.
  2. What is the age and state of your current HVAC equipment? Understanding these can help you make the right decision moving forward.
  3. What is the state of your outdoor equipment and ductwork? These may require modifications depending on the nature of the installation, or include considerations beyond the main A/C or furnace. Know how it affects both the installation process and the pricing of the job.
  4. What is the size of your home and how does this translate to HVAC needs? A previous HVAC system may have been improperly sized for your home, or something may have changed about the home in recent years. This information is crucial to getting the right fit.
  5. What are all of your options to address your pain points (hot/cold areas, high bills, etc.), and the costs of each? You shouldn’t just have one option coming out of a sales meeting, but several that can fit your budget and comfort needs in various ways.
  6. Does it make sense to pair a new A/C with a furnace, or vice-versa? Even if the answer is no, understanding the cost and benefits can help you in the future, without taking extra time out of your meeting and decision.
  7. Are there any indoor air quality (IAQ) products that will provide value or comfort? Items like humidifiers, air purifiers, and dehumidifiers aren’t just to increase the comfort of your home. They can also reduce heating and cooling costs significantly. It’s worth learning about them
  8. What are your financing and payment options, and how do they fit into your budget? Whether you’re paying in cash, credit card, looking for financing, or want to mix and match payment types, a good HVAC company can walk you through each.
  9. Will the HVAC company support your purchase after installation? Do they come back after a week to ensure the system is running as smoothly as it was at installation? Do they offer warranties and maintenance plans? An HVAC company should be a partner in your investment, not a one-and-done installer who never shows up again.

Trust in HVAC

The Biggest Takeaway

The biggest takeaway: What’s the value of one company compared to another?

If the only thing you’re worried about is price, you can frankly ignore some of these takeaways. But we’re here to tell you that price isn’t nearly everything. In fact, sometimes the price isn’t the real price. What do I mean by that? A few things...

HVAC installation can be remarkably complicated. The difference between a good installation and a bad one is the difference of hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars per year in system efficiency.

If an HVAC system is not the right size, it will run too much and spike your energy bills. That will also kill the life expectancy of the system and will require more frequent repairs.

A regular, comprehensive maintenance program can save you thousands in the long run and extend the system’s life by up to a decade.

Including an IAQ product might represent a larger initial investment but can also increase efficiency and comfort while reducing costs.

Add all of those together, and the equation isn’t just about the price that’s handed to you across the table by a sales representative. It’s so much more than that.

Lastly, an HVAC contractor, and individual consultant, who is concerned about all of these things is going to bring you the peace of mind to know you’re making the right decision. And there’s no price you can put on that.

If you’re thinking about a new system and are in Columbus, OH, or surrounding areas, call us today to schedule your free estimate. We’d love to start you along this process and help you make the right decision for you. And if you're looking to compare estimates, we welcome a comparison with any company in the area. Here's a list of Columbus, OH HVAC contractors. You can consider them alongside Fire & Ice, knowing what to look for to get the best value for your system and choice of contractor.

And if you’re already scheduled, feel free to do some research in our comprehensive Learning Center. We look forward to meeting you and assisting you with your HVAC comfort needs!

Learning Center

Explore our learning center. It's a comprehensive section focused on answering your questions, providing detailed information, and tips that will improve buyer education when it comes to your home's HVAC system.

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