A common myth is that you need a license to purchase hvac parts.
The reason for this myth is that many heating and cooling repair companies want you to believe that this is true. Heating and cooling repair companies make a ton of money on parts sales. Most parts are marked up on average over 100%! Now that hvac company will tell you about taxes and fuel and labor costs, im not talking about this, just the parts. A lot of companies are also switching to flat-rate pricing, which includes tax, labor and parts. So it is even harder for the consumer to see what the actual breakdown of cost is. I personally have mixed feelings about this. On one side, you have a layer of protection for the customer if you get a rookie tech or a tech that likes to take his sweet old time with a simple repair. You know that no matter how long it takes, you are only paying that one price. On the other hand, those prices are generally much higher than necessary to cover the labor included in that price. Let’s say that a company showed up and charged you a diagnostic fee of $90 to find out that you have a bad capacitor. Then they quote you a flat rate of $300 to replace it. That price includes labor. He spends a total of one hour there from the moment he showed up, till the moment you paid your bill of $390. Now another company shows up, charges you the same $90. This price includes service charge to show up and a half hour of labor. In that half hour they find you have a bad capacitor and quote you the price of the capacitor at $75. You agree and replaces the capacitor in 5 min (average time it takes to change one) and he stops your time and figures your bill. Your total is $210. $90 for service and half hr labor+ $75 for part+ $45 for additional half hour= $210. So you can see in this example, like many others, you would have saved substantially by going with the second company. However, there are technicians that take advantage of this scenario as well and will purposely take longer to complete repairs, these are usually the “one man and a van” companies.
There is another reason for this myth as well and it is because most hvac parts distributors do not allow the public to buy parts from them. They are “contractor only”, which means that you have to have a company account with them in order to purchase parts. This is due to the overwhelming amount of returns submitted by uneducated do-it-yourselfers’ that frequently purchase the wrong parts or install them incorrectly and they don’t work. This is a huge cost to parts distributors and takes time.
You can however purchase your own parts online at websites like Fixmyfurnace.com, easier than ever before and with the “virtual diagnostic” tool, you can be sure what is causing the issue and get the correct part every time! We even offer local parts pick up from one of our partner distributors to get you back up and running the same day!