email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Energy Reduction Quote

I received the company's fixed price quote today.  Interesting reading...  I have some questions about some of their measurements and proposed actions.  They want to meet with me personally to discuss the proposal, but I prefer to do it by email.

I always prefer to take company salespeople out of their comfort zone (talking a lot off the record).  Responding to email questions, they have to answer the questions and I have the email to read and re-read a few times to make sure I see what they are evading (if anything).  And it gives me time to consider more questions.

For example, I've noticed they over-estimated my current annual bill by 20% (and I showed them my last 12 month bills),  they overestimated my "conditioned" (meaning heated and cooled) residential square footage (added in my unheated garage as a "conditioned" area), added an extra exhaust fan to be sealed, etc.

So I will compose a list of questions for them to answer.  They should be pleased.  Their salesperson is 30 minuted away from me and planned a 30 minute visit to explain the quote.  I'm helping them do it in about 10 minutes.  Yes, I'm being a bit sarcastic...  I was a salesman once and know the value of talking face-to-face, sliding around questions, and not have anything in writing except the actual contract (with all the fine print).

Mostly, I know what works for ME.  I bought my last car by email, and it sure saved me a lot of time AND money.  No sitting around while the salesman pretends to "see if I can get the Manager to go for this low deal".  And with everything in writing, there were no "little surprise add-ons" afterwards.  I got the car for $500 above the dealers actually cost (according to the Consumer Reports Car Report I bought for $12).  And the car will be 10 years old In October.  So I like negotiating at a distance.

Back to the energy savings quote...  The total quote is for $5100 (with a $2000 subsidy from my electrical supplier bringing it to $3100).  The estimated savings is about 30% (in line with what I've found at seemingly neutral internet sites about such projects.  My last year energy cost was almost $3000, so that means  $900 per year and a payback of just under 3.5 years.  And that's assuming energy costs don't rise (and they will) so it will be closer to a 3 year payback.

After I get them to make some reductions in their quote, and given their Angieslist "A" rating on both quality of work AND price, I think I will just have them do the work without getting competitive bids.  And there are a few smaller cost-effective things I can do myself...

1 comment:

Megan said...

I too prefer to negotiate and discuss via email, Mark. But, my experience is that many people won't. They'll insist on phoning. I don't think it's always because they don't want to go on record; rather, for them it's faster and more effective to speak rather than type; it's also more personable. But me? I hate hate hate using the telephone, so sometimes I simply walk away from a potential supplier if they won't use email.

Sydney, Australia