As I mentioned in an earlier article, I am in need of a new furnace. And, after weeks of nursing my current, dying furnace while shopping around, I have finally purchased one.
While price was an obvious consideration when shopping, it wasn’t the only thing that influenced my decision. In fact, while the furnace prices were close in general, I did pick a proposal that was $200-$300 more than some of the other proposals I received. And, there were three main reasons for this.
First, I gave preference to local companies. The idea of supporting my local economy was part of this but, primarily, I liked the idea of purchasing my furnace from someone I’m likely to see while out shopping, dining out or at some of the local chamber of commerce activities. From my own experience in sales, I know it’s much easier to be open and honest when you know you might run into your customer at any given time.
Another reason I liked dealing with a local company was the fact the repair technicians were local. Hopefully, I will never need to call them. But, if I do, at least I know they don’t have far to travel.
Second, I avoided people who tried to sell me something I didn’t need. I had quite a few salespeople aggressively push their two-stage furnace options on me and, to put it bluntly, I didn’t even look at their quotes. I have a one-story house with no basement and, even with my current furnace (installed in the early 1980s); my monthly heating bill rarely tops $100. Simply put, a two-stage furnace would be overkill for me because my extra energy savings would never be enough to justify a price difference that, at times, was as much as $1200. The salespeople who recognized that and were upfront with me about it were the ones that received my consideration.
Last, the more details they included about the work, the better. In addition to having to pay for the new furnace, I need to plan my life around the installation. This wasn’t as easy to do with some furnace companies as others. For example, when I asked about installation time, I had some that could tell me an exact date while others would give me a range. My preference, obviously, was for the former.
It also helped if a salesperson could give me an estimate about how much time it would take to install the furnace and details about what work needed to be done, which rooms they would need access to, etc. While this didn’t necessarily make or break a deal (the proposal I picked was actually a little less detailed than some of the others), having those things spelled out for me did have an influence.
Since it is starting to warm up, I probably won’t use my new furnace that much until next winter. However, by considering these things in addition to the price, I can be much more confident about my purchase.