HVAC Repair Company Costs: The Benefits of Flat-Rate versus Hourly Pricing

When considering which company to go with for your HVAC repair or installation, you will come across differences in billing. Some companies charge a flat-rate for service, and others charge hourly rates, based on their time on the job and the materials used.

There are some key differences that you should understand about these pricing models before you make a decision that you might regret. Read on to see how flat-rate pricing stacks up against hourly.

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Simply call (804) 364-9040 or contact Short Pump Heating & Air online for a FREE estimate, top-notch service, and excellent results!

What is the Difference Between Flat-Rate and Hourly Pricing for HVAC Service?

Flat-rate pricing is just that: the customer is given a price up front that includes parts, labor, and sales tax, as well as any other materials needed to get the job finished.

On the other hand, hourly pricing usually involves an hourly rate plus parts and material costs. With this model, the customer is not told upfront how much the work will cost. They are agreeing to pay based on the length of time the job takes.

Taken at face value, it’s easy to see why some customers might want to see an hourly estimate, so they understand where their money is going and what to expect in terms of cost. But let’s dig a little deeper…

A Closer Look at Fixed-Rate Pricing for HVAC Services

On the consumer end, a fixed-rate price performs one glorious function: it takes away any speculation about the final price tag, and lets the customer relax and know exactly what to expect.

On the provider end, it gives an incentive to work efficiently and get the repair finished in a timely manner. In terms of human psychology, it takes care of one of the most fundamental human desires: we all want to know what to expect. When expectations match the outcomes, everyone is satisfied.

A Closer Look at Hourly Pricing for HVAC Services

In contrast to fixed-rate pricing, hourly pricing does the exact opposite: it creates uncertainty about how much the final price tag will be and can lead to unreasonable expectations.

For the provider, billing by the hour can actually provide an incentive to take longer on a job or send a slower technician. After all, the more hours on the job, the higher the billing costs will be.

As anyone who has ever had an HVAC system installed or repaired can agree, the less time the job takes, the better. The interruption to the flow of day-to-day life is already a hassle, but add in the stress of not knowing how much a job is going to cost, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for disaster. Unrealistic expectations can lead to a lot of frustration when the clock is ticking and the price tag is climbing with every extra hour.

With hourly pricing, a customer could end up paying a different price for the exact same job, depending on the skills and experience of the service technician. We do not think this is fair for the customer or for the HVAC company.

Another aspect of flat-rate versus hourly is customer protection. Sometimes unforeseen issues arise during a job. What was quoted as a 4-hour job can suddenly stretch into a 6-hour job when unexpected issues occur. That’s a 50% increase. When you’ve budgeted for the originally estimated hours/hourly rate, the financial hit can hurt. With a flat-rate pricing structure, that isn’t an issue. The HVAC company will take the loss and will be working hard to get the job done as efficiently as possible.

Flat-Rate Pricing for HVAC Service is Best for You and the HVAC Contractor

HVAC Services in RichmondAt Short Pump Heating & Air, we believe that flat-rate pricing is the most transparent and fair pricing structure for everyone involved, both the customer and the HVAC contractor. When your air conditioner or heat goes out, it usually happens when you least expect it and when you need it most. The last thing you should be worried about is mysterious pricing leaving you in the dark, especially when you’re already sweating or shivering!

For fair and efficient service with no surprises, you can expect satisfaction with flat-rate pricing over hourly pricing.

Short Pump Heating & Air is able to provide flat rate pricing on 99% of our service, repair, and installation work. Give us a call at (804) 364-9040 or contact us online if you have any HVAC service needs or system questions. We would love the opportunity to become your heating and air conditioning provider!

We look forward to hearing from you, and we invite you to check out our great reviews to see why we are the top choice for HVAC service in and around Richmond, VA!

What is the cost of a new heat pump installed?

What is the cost of a new heat pump installed?

A common question we are always asked is “How much does a new heat pump cost?” This article is referring to the cost of both a new heat pump and air handler. This is considered a “complete system”. Typically when an older heat pump needs replacing, the heat pump and air handler both need to be replaced at the same time. 

The cost of a new heat pump depends on several factors. We have included a summary of three of the main cost factors…

The first factor to consider is the size (also known as capacity or BTU) of the required heat pump system. The sizing is referred to as “tonnage”. Sizing of a residential heat pump system ranges from 1.5 ton to 5 ton. The larger the space needed to be heated and cooled, the larger the heat pump that is required. The larger the tonnage, the higher the cost. 

The second factor that has a major impact on price is the SEER and HSPF ratings. The SEER and HSPF rating are the cooling and heating efficiency of the heat pump system. It is the cost to operate which would be reflected on the electric bill. The SEER of today’s new heat pumps range from 14 SEER to 20+SEER. The higher the SEER and HSPF, the lower the cost to operate the heat pump. Also, the higher the SEER and HSPF, the higher the upfront cost of the system. 

The third factor is the difficulty of the installation. How many duct work modifications are needed to properly install the new heat pump into the existing duct system? How much space is there to work? Is the air handler in an attic or crawlspace? What additional installation materials are needed/required? 

The lower end of the heat pump installation cost would be a 14 SEER, 1.5 ton heat pump. This cost is typically between $4,500-$5,500 installed. 

The higher end of heat pump installations would be a 20 SEER,  5 ton heat pump. This type of system would be over $10,000. 

All other sizes and models should fall in between these prices. 

Short Pump Heating and Air is a leader in the Richmond, VA area for new heat pumps and all HVAC system installations. Give us a call if you have any questions regarding your HVAC systems. We would be happy to schedule a free estimate to get you exact pricing and options on a new HVAC system installation. 

How Much Does a New Gas Furnace Cost?

How Much Does a New Gas Furnace Cost?

If anyone has every been in the market for a new gas furnace, I am sure you have noticed that prices can vary significantly. I am sure you are not surprised, but it is difficult to give an exact price on a new gas furnace without looking at the job in person. 

This article is to serve as a guideline to explain what impacts the different cost differences, and provide ballpark pricing on new gas furnace installations. Also note this article is referring to forced air gas furnaces (not boilers). 

The first thing to think about that will impact the price of a new furnace is the efficiency. (also referred to as AFUE).  Furnaces range anywhere from a standard 80% efficiency up to 98% efficiency. The higher the efficiency, the lower the cost of operation. AFUE is referring to the percentage of heat that is produced by the furnace that actually enters the home. The remaining exits as exhaust through a vent pipe or chimney. The higher the furnace efficiency, the more expensive the gas furnace. 

The next thing that can impact the price is the BTU of the furnace. This refers to the size or heating capacity of the furnace. The larger the space, typically the higher the BTU that is needed to heat the area. The higher the BTU, the more expensive the gas furnace. 

Another major factor in the pricing of a gas furnace is the comfort/efficiency upgrades available. A variable speed blower motor is a common upgrade in a gas furnace. The helps with overall comfort and energy efficiency. Furnaces can also have 2 stage, or multistage gas valves. This controls the level of gas flow into the system. It allows less gas into the furnace when less heat is required. This is another feature that helps with comfort and energy efficiency. Both of these features would add to the cost of a new gas furnace. 

The difficulty of the installation plays a large factor in the price of a new gas furnace. How much space is there to work in? Where in the home is the furnace? How much duct work is needed? What type of venting is required? What other materials are needed for ta professional installation? This is why an onsite visit is typically required to provide an exact price on a new furnace. 

A standard 80% efficient gas furnace will usually range between $2,500-$3,500 installed. 

A high efficiency 96% efficiency with variable speed fan and other upgrades can be $4,500-$5,500 installed. 

Other models can fall anywhere in between these prices. 

We hope this gives you a guideline of what to look for when installing a new gas furnace and things that can impact the overall pricing. As always, Short Pump Heating and Air is here to help with all of your gas furnace needs. We repair all models of gas furnaces and provide free estimates on gas furnace replacements.