Next up, we’re covering questions 8-10 in our series on choosing a national HVAC service provider.

As we wrote in our previous blogs, these questions can help you get a better gauge on who is best qualified to handle HVAC maintenance and repair requirements at each of your locations.

In case you missed them, here are links to our first seven questions in part 1 and part 2 of our series.


Question #8:
How do you as the vendor evaluate the accuracy of the quote – i.e., the amount of time for the labor, and the price for the material?

National HVAC providers subcontract work in most markets they serve. It’s how the business operates. For example, if one of your stores in Tuscaloosa, Alabama is warm and getting warmer by the minute, a national HVAC vendor will dispatch a technician who will then issue a quote back to the National Service Provider to fix the problem. If he estimates six hours of labor to replace a compressor, who in the service provider’s company is validating that quote before it is sent to you? The technician said a replacement compressor would cost $2,000 as the material expense; is it really a $2,000 compressor, or is it a $1,500 compressor?

As the customer, you want to make sure you’re getting the right labor and material at the right price. It’s essential, therefore, to know precisely what the national HVAC vendor you hire does to “watch your back” in all HVAC-related matters. A HVAC technical person should be reviewing all quotes from a third party contractor, prior to passing it along to the customer.

Question #9:
Who will be responsible for my account?

Who is the key go-to person at your company? Many national HVAC vendors assign customer service representatives to this role. Customer service reps do well taking work orders and processing them. But when you have an issue you feel needs escalated, many times the service rep needs additional assistance.

A higher level of service results from a provider who assigns a business manager to each customer – a sales-oriented professional who is adept at negotiation and understanding your business. A business manager’s job is to intercede before issues and problems arise, view those problems from the customer perspective, gather facts, make sense of it all, and work with the customer to resolve the issue.

Question #10:
What types of reports can I expect to receive from your company?

If you as a customer award a national vendor 500 stores, your spend on HVAC management is significant. So what kind of reporting does that vendor provide? What types of reports are available to you? Do you as the customer have the flexibility to decide? For example, do you want to know dollars spent on preventive maintenance (PM) versus repairs? The PM to TM ratio? (meaning for every dollar spent on preventive maintenance, how many dollars do I spend on repairs.)What about the age, make and model of each piece of equipment; is knowing that important to you? In a larger sense, are the reports they generate valuable and actionable, or do they simply report dollars spent.

We think strategic reporting – and proper analysis of facts and figures – is essential. A proprietary management system like CLS Facility Services’ PM Logic® provides comprehensive reporting that is ideal for national HVAC management. We believe it’s the standard by which any national reporting system should be measured. Check it out and then see how another vendor’s reporting system stacks up.

For your employees, your customers and your bottom line, make sure that the professionals who support HVAC systems at your locations are uniquely qualified. This starts with asking the right questions.

Our past HVAC blog posts on our website contain great insight on important HVAC topics, so we invite you to scan through them. To inquire about CLS’s national HVAC services, or all other CLS services, please call us at 800-548-3542.