hvac question

I got three bids for an ac unit, all using the same unit. One was for $4,100 and one was for $6,100 and one was for $7500.
Which one should I take? I'm so confused, and as a consumer, I'm so stupid I shouldn't have a driver's license.
I guess I had better take the highest bid as that will insure I get the best job, right? Will the most expensive bubba have the biggest and best butt crack? Will I be expected to perform any other sexual favors other than bending over to pay the bill?
Any help would be better than being clueless.
Any hvac people out there?
What explains the big difference in price other than the people have a different image of themselves and a different idea of just how stupid they KNOW I am?
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

This is a new install at the cabin? The "unit" may be the same, but how about the ancillary system components like the air handler, ducting, etc.? Those components could account for a decent chunk of the difference.
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All three bids for the same site. Done from the blueprints and partially framed house.
Steve
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Go with the cheapest, this will insure that you'll have a system that will *not* maintain your comfort.
If one can do it for $2 grand less, ask yourself...
Why can he do it so cheaply? Materials and installation is MONEY. It takes materials to do a job CORRECTLY. It takes longer to install things PROPERLY.
You can do it right or you can do it twice. Twice isn't the cheapest route.
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kjpro @ usenet.com wrote:

Alternatively, the guy who charges $2,000 more can more freely engage in his profilgate lifestyle, secure in the knowledge that he has abused yet another non-"professional."
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I see you haven't found a clue yet...
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SteveB wrote:

That doesn't mean much. You indicate all three bids are for the identical A/C "unit", which I believe would consist of the outdoor condenser unit and the indoor evaporator "A" coil. I don't believe the "unit" includes the indoor air handler that the "A" coil would be installed in, nor the ducting, filters, thermostat, etc. and the three bids could be specing different brands and qualities for those components.
If you can get a full materials list to go with each bid then you can see if they really are covering such a wide cost range for truly identical equipment. Offhand I'd be most leery of the low bid since the other two are relatively close together. Of course it could be that the low bid happens to have materials on hand from a canceled order and just wants to get rid of them. Could be that the higher bidders have all company employees with benefits to cover, while the low bid is one guy who hires a sub to install the ducting and has lower overhead. You simply have to get really detailed specs to properly compare the bids.
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And when you've done that and feel that all three are going to do the same work with the same equipment and achieve the same result, from there, it's just how much profit margin they want.
I went through this recently on a metal building. The prices ran from $41 to $65 k for what I specified. Same thickness materials, same number doors, windows, skylights, etc. A $24k spread is easily explainable. To me, anyway.
I have decided to do the job myself.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

Pretty easy to DIY a (reasonable size) metal building yourself as it doesn't require any exotic tools and the building kits are readily available. On the HVAC end however it does require more specialized tools and knowledge and for some parts licenses (refrigerant), and the materials aren't as readily accessible for DIY installation.
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On Wed, 24 Oct 2007 08:37:15 -0700, "SteveB"

Go to a HVAC supplies shop where they have furnaces on display. Take a good look at how they are constructed and read the installation manual. Ask the sales counter guys all the questions you have and you'll find that installing a furnace is not at all difficult. This is especially if it is only to replace a current one at the same location. The instruction manual gives all the information you need. You can even install it yourself. But given your admission of lack of knowledge of things mechanical pay a contractor to do it.
Get a price quote for the furnace. The basic high efficiency one I had in mind costs CDN$1,300. A contractor gets a trade discount that will be a profit to him. Figure out a reasonable the labor costs from you knowledge of furnace hardware prices.
For a contractor to do more than is specified in the instruction manual is highly unlikely. Ask what he is doing for the "more" and you are already armed with the correct knowledge to figure out if he is fibbing. For a contractor to do less will be a code violation and highly dangerous for you. You have the correct knowledge from the manual and from the shop that sells them to out him too.
Talk to the lowest bidder and ask him what his installation work will involve. He's sounds like the most honest contractor.
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wrote:

This is for a heat pump. All three bids were names given to me by the general contractor and said to be good craftsman. Just way different in the price.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

I thought you said - "I got three bids for an ac unit, all using the same unit. One was for $4,100 and one was for $6,100 and one was for $7500." Now it's a Heat Pump.
I would want to know who "sized" the equipment for your job and "how" did they decide? Was it a mechanical engineer or did they use the "thumb rule?" Will the ducts be installed above or below? Will they be using endflex [spiral aluminum] or flex? Will they be using one manufactuer's equipment or several?
I would ask the General Contractor what he thought? Also, do you "have" to use "his" recommended contractors? Can you ask your friends, neighbors, and relatives for their recommendations?
--
Zyp



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wrote:

yes
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wrote:

Referred by GC... LMAO That's a sure way to find a hack!!
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The biggest difference is what they think they can get from you.
Check carefully to see that each is actually quoting the same thing. Some may be including material that the cheaper ones are not. Does this include the duct work? Is the layout done?
If it truly is the same, the contractors references are all good, the obvious is to go with the lowest bid. Price does not always indicate quality work. At times, people look at how to do a particular job and think it is more complex that it really is. Others just want to make a lot of money, fast.
I'm in the middle of contracting a lot of renovation work building a manufacturing plant in an existing building. The disparity in some prices is alarming.
Concrete knee wall 7800 22,000
Pressure wash ceiling and walls 6800 120,000
In both cases, we used the lowest bidder and the work is perfectly satisfactory.
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I was jousting with some hvac person.
The point was that to which you have brought the discussion.
This ain't my first rodeo. I have a reasonable idea how much time it takes to do a job, how many people, materials, machinery, etc, having had a background in these areas. So, sometimes it is entertaining when some young person tries to yank my chain and treat me like I don't know what's going on. And then sometimes it is exasperating and offensive.
As you said, in both cases low bid got the job and got er done.
It's just all the dancing around that wears me out.
Steve
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wrote

The only dancing being done is coming from the person wearing your shoes.
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Steve, In my profession (now retired) we have tried the "bid twice the price and get only half the jobs" technique. If successful, you don't have to work as hard and make just as much money. BTW, I am referring to professional services, but, after all HVAC installation is also a service.
Ivan Vegvary
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