Both are a pain in the, ah hem…arm, and you’ll probably regret it if you don’t get one.
If you’re reading this likely you’re either in the process of selecting an HVAC vendor, or (like many people) you’ve had a frustrating, confusing, or downright devastating experience with a previous maintenance contract. And yet, you want to do your best to prevent equipment failure, keep your employees and tenants happy, and save time, money and stress in the process.
From mechanical contractors to manufacturers, there are a wide variety of vendors who offer preventive maintenance contracts, and not all of their services are equal. This article–and this series, really–is meant to help you avoid preventative maintenance mayhem, by giving you the knowledge you need to make the decision that’s right for you.
In our last post we discussed all the ways contractors can vary; now, let’s review the various types of service agreements help you make an informed decision before investing in one.
HVAC maintenance contract types can generally be narrowed down to the following:
- Full Coverage — The ultimate insurance policy for the buyer, as the contractor assumes the risk for most anything that can go wrong with your system. But make sure you understand exactly how each vendor defines “full coverage.”
- Full Labor — Typically covers 100% of the labor to repair, replace and maintain most HVAC equipment. As the system owner or manager, you’re responsible for the cost of any equipment and parts needed to complete the repair.
- Preventive Maintenance — Generally a “fixed fee” charge for a specified number of scheduled maintenance visits annually. Though initially less expensive than a full-service or full-labor contract, any emergencies, repairs and replacements must be paid for on a labor-and-materials basis.
- Inspection Service — This is typically the least expensive type of agreement — and the least valuable when it comes to protecting your system. It is also usually purchased for a fixed annual fee and includes a specified number of periodic inspections.
Variations are possible within each contract type, but it depends on the system owner’s requirements and the contractor’s ability and willingness to modify or customize service offerings.
Don’t be driven by price alone — if a service provider is less than reputable or misquotes costs, you can bet they’ll only do the minimum to keep your system running until the end of the contract term.
To learn more about HVAC service agreements, download our free guide to HVAC Preventive Maintenance Contracts: How to Find the Right One for Your HVAC Infrastructure.