RODNEY B. SMITH PLUMBING & HEATING

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CHOOSE THE RIGHT SERVICEMAN


Why is it so difficult (and sometimes a little frightening) to call a repairman to fix your plumbing, heating and air conditioning?

Your air conditioning equipment is, in general, so reliable that it only breaks once or twice in maybe five years. Your car needs service once or twice a year. You know who to call for that. Maybe if your air conditioning broke more often, you'd know who to call!

Well, we wouldn't wish that on anyone, so let's look at problems we can do something about. If the problem is unfamiliarity, ignorance really, then the solution is knowledge. Just how is the home repair game played?

To answer that question, let us first ask ourselves: what do we want in a service technician?

REALITY CHECK
In an ideal universe, a repairman would appear at our front door five minutes after we realized our equipment was broken, fix it for free and disappear again for another five years till it broke again.

That's not reality, of course. More realistically, you want to be able to find a technician easily, pick up the phone and call, and get a live person, not a recording. You want the technician to arrive in a reasonable amount of time and not waste your whole day, make the right diagnosis, have the right parts in his vehicle, and fix your equipment correctly the first time. All for a reasonable amount of money. And when problems do occur (and sometimes they just do), you expect to be able to pick up the phone again and handle it easily.

For the technician's part, they know that you're stressed. They know that you didn't call them because you want them there. You're calling because you need them there. Between that and the media trying to convince you that all service technicians are out to deceive the public, they know that the situation can be sticky, and emotions can run irrationally high. In our experience, those circumstances, more than any other, are where disputes come from.

MONEY
Another reality is that phones and repair vehicles and parts stocks cost money. Labor costs money, even when that labor is driving to your house, waiting in line to buy parts for your job, or waiting to answer your phone call. Yellow page advertising is not cheap. All these things you justifiably expect as a convenience; but deep down inside you know that convenience comes with a price.


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