You know what they say about home – its where the Wi-Fi connects automatically and the air conditioner is just right. What’s your idea of relaxation? Is it lying on the sofa with matching pillows staring at your favourite painting while the air conditioner lazily does its thing? I can’t imagine sleeping Singapore’s heat without the AC. I would dehydrate to death. If your air conditioner breaks down when you least expect it and you need a new one, how will you go about finding the right supplier? Look out for these things.
1. Use Google
Open favourite search engine – the likes of Google, Bing and Yahoo. This is the easiest way of finding reliable suppliers. For example, if you live in the Tampines area, search for “Air conditioner suppliers near”. You will get one in close proximity and you can compare quotes too.
Bonus points if you read their Google reviews. Google is very good at weeding fake reviews. A good google rating is definitely a big plus. Avoid Yelp like the plague. They have confessed to using software to filter out negative reviews.
2. Ask for referrals from neighbours
There’s no form of marketing that beats the classic word of mouth. Ask neighbours/ friends and relatives for recommendations. Chances are, they’ve worked with one I the recent past. I bet you trust your neighbours. They will never give biased opinions. Ask anything in the lines of “Which air conditioner supplier did you contract?” You could ask them if they had a pleasant experience.
Go to the reputable suppliers. Let’s be honest, things don’t always work out as we had planned. The contractor may be delayed by harsh weather or missing parts. Professional suppliers are better at handling these hiccups. They will slowly walk you through all stages from equipment acquisition to installation.
3. Shop around
Different suppliers have different rates for the same equipment. Ask for written quotes from a few of them. A few will provide a detailed scope of work along with labour rates. You will get an idea of how much money you would need. Compare quotes. Go for the most affordable one. However, never compromise on quality. Getting a cooling system is a big investment. Try to save as much as you can.
4. Ensure they’re licensed to operate in your jurisdiction.
All trustworthy contractors a are verified by the relevant bodies. They are issued with licenses to indicate that they are conversant with the necessary safety installation. It is worth noting that the typical “handymen” never have approval from the government. Well, they may be very good at their job but there’s no guarantee that they adhere to safety precautions.
5. Be wary of any supplier that recommends the same unit you had before
Typical units have a lifespan of fifteen years. Is a 2018 unit equal to that one manufactured in 2003? Of course not. Technology evolves so fast. Credible suppliers know what the best models are. They will also give you a variety of options too.
If you notice that a supplier is pushing you towards getting an older model. They’re probably looking for ways to dispose of their old stock. Newer models are money energy efficient and this is one thing you can’t compromise.
6. Don’t overvalue experience
When it comes to experience, there’s a big difference between “We have ten years working experience” and “we have ten years of combined experience”. Sometimes suppliers get crafty and this is one of their tricks don’t fall for it. Even though they “have been doing these things for fifteen years”, they may not be conversant with current trends. Just like all other technological devices, AC units are out phased pretty fast.
Before signing the contract, do your due diligence and ensure that they are conversant with current best practices. In fact, I’ve seen several very good suppliers that are still in their twenties.
7. Stay away from these half-decent suppliers
Avoid headaches and unnecessary inconveniences. These bargain suppliers sometimes offer below par services. Getting a new AC isn’t as simple as painting your house or fixing a leaking sink. They’re sophisticated. Save yourself the hassle and avoid cutting corners. You will avoid running into problems down the road.
8. Do they wear uniforms?
Uniforms are a big investment to suppliers. Only the very dedicated ones go this route. Supplier uniforms convey trust and professionalism. Even though this isn’t a key indicator of reliability, It’s definitely an added advantage. A supplier that invests in getting uniforms definitely cares about other aspects of their business such as employee training and equipment maintenance.
It is also worth noting that a good number of air con scams have been conducted by non-uniformed suppliers. They enter homes disguised as contractors from a reputable supplier. Uniforms are a guarantee that the supplier is who they claim to be.
9. Good suppliers first survey your home then give a quote, not the other way round
The best suppliers first survey your home before giving estimates. Be cautious when dealing with suppliers that insist on giving quotes through the telephone. This marketing gimmick is known as the classic bait and switch.
In short, they will give a considerably low quote over the phone to attract your attention. Then, they’ll jack up the rates once at your place. By then you will they will have boiled you like the proverbial frog and you won’t see it coming.
10. Good suppliers don’t have the best prices
Let’s be honest. Low priced ac units are rarely worth looking at. Never start searching for a supplier solely based on price. You get what you pay for. When you contract a fly-by-night unlicensed supplier. There’s a high probability of getting counterfeit merchandise. They manage to offer incredibly low rates by sacrificing quality. The last thing you want to end up with is an outdated energy-inefficient unit.
Never base your argument on pricing. You should only consider this after you’ve narrowed down your list to around three or four suppliers. This is by no means an exhaustive guide to getting the right supplier. Reason wisely.