You are ready to install a new commercial HVAC system for your business. Your big question is: how much should you expect to spend? Budgeting is essential for this type of project, which can certainly end up being a substantial investment. Shopping around at various HVAC companies might be your best bet for finding the best deal. As you go about getting estimates for HVAC system cost, here are five important things to keep in mind:
- A lot is going to depend on you: Don’t spend too much time searching for “average commercial HVAC installation cost” online. While Internet resources can give you a ballpark price, the fact is that every HVAC project—especially in the commercial realm—is unique. How much you end up spending is going to depend on a lot of different factors, from the size and layout of your building to whether the building already has ductwork in place. Part of what makes the costing process so valuable is that you can start finding out what the ballpark price ranges are for your project in particular.
- You are paying for two main things: When you start getting price quotes for your HVAC system, you should see things broken down into two different categories: materials and labor. Your HVAC technician will estimate, to the best of their ability, how much it will cost them to acquire the necessary equipment and materials for your project. They will also calculate how much time they expect the project to take and multiply that number by their standard labor rate. Of course, there is still plenty of variance in these numbers. Some contractors charge lower labor rates, while some will quote you based on cheaper materials or systems than others. As you look at these numbers, think critically about why one business might be asking for more or less money than another. Always feel free to ask for further details about your quote, such as what type of hardware the HVAC company is considering for your project.
- Price isn’t everything: To go along with the above point, it’s important to remember that HVAC system cost is not the only consideration when it comes to choosing a technician to handle your project. In fact, it’s not even the most critical consideration. It’s worth spending a little more money upfront to get a higher quality system. Better HVAC equipment might be rated for energy efficiency, which will save you money over time. Some contractors might try to keep costs down by using cheaper thermostats or system controls, but you need to question whether these controls will offer all the features you want. Comparing different HVAC companies not just based on price, but also based on factors like the equipment brands and models they choose, will give you a better sense of where the most value is.
- System testing should be included in your quote: You don’t complete the installation of an HVAC system just because it’s been installed. On the contrary, once installation has happened, your HVAC contractor needs to go back in and test every component of your system. As you get different quotes for HVAC installation cost, make sure they all include labor time for startup testing. Some technicians might try to save you money by skimping in this area. While it would be nice to save that money, startup testing is not a place where you want to cut corners or costs. Thorough testing is a must to ensure seamless startup and dependable performance. If the labor estimate on your quote isn’t broken down to reflect different parts of the project, ask your technician for a more detailed breakdown.
- There is probably a reason for higher labor costs: If you notice higher (or lower) labor costs as you compare different HVAC system cost quotes, recognize that there is probably some reason for the variation. HVAC technicians require a great deal of training, certification, and knowledge to do what they do. It’s a premium job that merits a premium labor rate. Again, saving money is great, but you don’t want to entrust your project to a less skilled or less reputed technician just to save a few bucks. Instead of comparing labor costs in a vacuum, research each HVAC company and find out about their certifications, their customer reviews, and their overall industry experience. It’s worth spending a bit more for a skilled company that truly knows their stuff. A new commercial HVAC system is a big undertaking, and having that expertise on your side can provide considerable peace of mind. Research different HVAC licensing bodies to make this compare-and-contrast process easier.
Deciding on an HVAC technician to handle your commercial HVAC project is no small undertaking. In addition to dictating your HVAC installation cost, this process will also determine the design of your HVAC systems, the equipment involved in that system, and your overall confidence in that system’s ability to meet your needs. Keep the five tips above in mind to help you compare price quotes and choose the HVAC company that is best for you.