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FAQ: Why do parts for my heater (or A/C) cost so much?

Do you have a question for our experts about how your home comfort systems work or about an experience you’ve had with Oliver? We’d love to hear from you.

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There are lots of questions that we answer frequently, and we often publish the answers in our newsletters to help other customers who may have a similar question or issue. Today’s topic is one that we address regularly, and we hope that this information is helpful to you in what can be a very stressful situation!

Q: I had a technician out to my house to repair a problem with my heating(/cooling) system. They diagnosed a bad part and quoted me a price to repair it. I did some research online and found out that I could buy the part for much less than the technician quoted! I don’t think this is fair, why should I pay so much extra to get my equipment fixed?

A: This is a great question, and many customers feel the same way – they need to have their heating or cooling systems back online as quickly as possible, but are justifiably wary about paying more than necessary to get the job done. No one wants to be taken advantage of in their time of need, and no reputable contractor large or small is looking to jeopardize relationships with customers by doing this.

So if it’s not a big profit scheme, why ARE parts so expensive? The simplest answer is that the cost of any given part is only a fraction of the costs involved with installing a part. Oliver uses a flat rate system that also takes into account the vehicle, gasoline, maintenance, tools, and materials necessary for our HVAC service technicians to provide service at your home. In addition to these aspects of the call that you see, we also must account for the professional contributions of our customer service representatives, dispatchers, parts coordinators, and accountants that handle each call as well as the overhead costs of the office building. All parts that we install come with a 2-year part and labor warranty, and we offer emergency service with no residential overtime rates. We do operate on a profit, which is a necessary part of staying in business, but the profits that we earn are a very small portion of the flat rate price.

Today’s Expert: Residential Service Manager Bill McVean

We are always happy to discuss questions and concerns about individual situations, and we hope that this information is helpful to you!