Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Getting hot or getting cold

Today's progress was to get a resonable quote for a heating/air conditioning system. This is our second quote and it's almost $5,000 cheaper than the other. So, is that a better bid or a worse system? It's a tough job to figure out what is a resonable quote for work done on a house if you don't know what a fair price is. There is a lot more to hiring someone to do a complex job than just price. If price was the only thing important, we would buy everything on E-bay. But hiring a contractor gets you more than just the work--you are also hiring their time, attention and quality. When I worked in the bike shop before I joined the Air Force, I remember customers saying that they would come to our shop for the prices, but they would go to the small shop for work on their bike. I asked them why they would do this when we had great mechanics and great prices. The answer surprised me; "I go to that other shop because I like the way they do their work and I think they do a better job." I am trying to remember that as I hire sub-contractors to work on our house. The more expensive job isn't always the best. It's the fair price done by the hard worker that I want to hire.

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