It’s a common question that is asked by anyone who is thinking about contracting out for home improvement work. What am I paying for when I hire a professional contractor? There are many factors that go into pricing for these services, especially those of professionally trained and licensed contractors. While prices certainly can vary and should be examined to ensure fairness, there are many details that should be taken into account when searching for a contractor.

Just like with tangible goods purchased at a store, services such as HVAC, plumbing or other home improvement work require a markup. While it’s easy to understand product markups from these stores (shipping costs, overhead, cost of goods, advertising, etc.), many often overlook key components to “service markups.” Especially with highly trained and expert staff, like the team at BelRed, there are many factors that need to be covered within this “markup” cost. While costs may initially seem higher for well trained, experienced, and licensed contractors, the cost savings of doing things right can result in huge benefits.

The cost of service for the work BelRed does for its clients goes a long way to help ensuring that work is done properly. We spend a great deal of time and money on education and training programs for our employees, as we want to ensure all installers, service technicians, handymen, plumbers or other service providers wearing the BelRed uniform are as knowledgeable and professional they can possibly be. This education and training includes licensing and accreditation through some of the top home energy, heating and cooling industry organizations, including ACCA, NATE, BPI and more.

Aside from training, the cost of services also includes expenses such as insurance  (including liability, property, auto, workers compensation and more) and bonding—which provides peace of mind to our customers. There are also many miscellaneous costs that are associated with in-home services such as fuel and transportation costs, vehicle and equipment maintenance costs and costs to ensure compliance with government and industry regulations on multiple levels. Providing excellent service also requires a substantial support team from customer service reps to dispatchers, accounting staff and more.

Another thing that sets organizations like BelRed apart is the dedication to providing our employees with great pay and benefits. While this may seem obvious, many contractors work on a piece-work or per-job basis and provide few if any benefits. This can result in high staff turnover and corner-cutting or rushed work, as they are trying to finish one paid job to get to the next as fast as possible. Paying staff well, and providing excellent benefits helps promote stability. And while paying field staff hourly can cost more it ensures they can focus on doing the job right and making sure no stone is left unturned when it comes to safety and quality.

With any service that impacts utility costs, whether for gas, propane, oil, electricity or water, quality workmanship also ensures you get the long-term savings you expect. Unlike many consumer goods, the lifespan and efficiency of heating, cooling, and plumbing appliances can be greatly impacted by the quality of the installation.  Sometimes, paying less on the front end can actually cost you more in the long-run.

When it comes to your home, these types of services play a major role in the safety, health and quality of life for your family and loved ones. We feel strongly that that’s something that shouldn’t be compromised just to hire the lowest cost bidder for a project. So, to answer the question above – a good contractor can be worth a lot. Check out the video below from the ACCA to see more on the topic:

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