Maintenance clubs are a little-understood subject, and one that we, as contractors who run a maintenance club, get asked a lot of questions about. So many, in fact, that today we’re going to answer some of those questions, and hopefully help you spot a good deal from a bad one–because not all maintenance clubs are created equal!
A Team You Can Trust
An HVAC maintenance program is only as good as the contractor running it. We’ve found that most contractors who offer maintenance clubs tend to be pretty trustworthy, but you’ll need to feel them out for yourself. Do you like the people there? Do they seem knowledgeable and courteous? Do they answer your questions in a way that makes sense, or do you feel yourself getting the brush off? Like we said, the fact that a contractor offers a club is a good sign–it means they probably care about community involvement and long-term relationships with their clients.
Fees, or For-Real Service?
A good sign of a bad deal is if the maintenance club only guarantees you discounts on work that needs to be done. If there’s one thing a maintenance program is NOT, it’s an insurance policy. A maintenance club shouldn’t grudgingly pay out “discounts” if something goes wrong. You should be getting star treatment whether your system breaks or not! A good club will get you real value for your dollar–for example, a few tune-ups and services a year, a discount on parts or labor, and maybe even some special deals for club-members only. If you’re paying money, you should see some value for your dollar even if you have a good year and nothing needs work. Free tune-ups, at the very least, should be part of the deal.
Your HVAC maintenance program membership doesn’t hold much water if you can’t get timely service. If something breaks or the system goes down, you want to know you’re dealing with local contractors who will be there ASAP. When buying into a maintenance club, make sure you’re getting a discount on dispatches for repairs and other service. You don’t want to be stranded with a broken system or other issues and not have anybody coming. What’s the point in paying for an HVAC maintenance program if the maintenance doesn’t get done when you need it?
You also want to know that you’re part of the local community. A good maintenance club makes you feel more than a valued client–it makes you part of the contractor’s friends and family. We believe that a contractor should treat all their clients like family, whether they’re in a maintenance club or not–and that’s how we do it at Bell Brothers. That said, if you’re a club member you should get priority service and discounts on labor that reflect how much you mean to the contractor. You shouldn’t have to worry about paying for overtime if your system goes down in the off-hours. And you shouldn’t ever pick up the phone and worry about the cost of fixing a major problem. If you’re in the club, you’re in the immediate family and the contractor should take care of you as such.
It’s no secret–we think our maintenance club is a great example of how to do it right. Whether you’re reading this here in the Central Valley or across the country somewhere, take a look at what our club gets you. Now keep in mind–we treat our clients pretty darn well, and our club members get some fantastic benefits that not all clubs will offer. Just because a club doesn’t offer everything on our list doesn’t necessarily make it a bad deal. But use it as a rubric when looking at other clubs that you may be considering, and follow your intuition as well as our lead. Bell Brothers wants to set the standard for customer service, and part of great customer service is a great maintenance club!