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

Posted On: February 02, 2019

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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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

At 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!

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