Average labor rate for HVAC repair?

dusty1959October 23, 2009

What is the average labor rate/hour for HVAC repair?

I realize it can vary by state but I have an estimate to install a new combustion motor (parts & labor) & heat exchanger (labor only as part is warrantied) on a Carrier 48JZ dual fuel unit and for the heat exchanger along they quoted $628 for the labor.

When I questioned how long the entire job would take to complete the tech said about 4 hrs. Well, that's $150/hr just for the heat exchanger.

Don't you think that is a little outrageous? Or am I WAY off base and need to "get with the times".

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It's more than just the time there

They had to come to the house, find the right part number, order the heat exchanger, schedule a time to do it, change the heat exchanger, probably with 2 people, with some added required parts and materials, return the heat exchanger for warranty with filled out paperwork, and wait for their credit.

Not a easy or fun job I might add, but your still better off than buying a new $5,000 furnace.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 10:00AM
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NY area typical rates would be something like $250 first hour/$125 each additional. Sounds about right to me.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 1:07PM
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I understand (as most business owners do) your anxiety over what seems to be a high hourly rate. These issues come up often in most forums. I don't think you should be chastised for asking since in today's environment, costs change frequently and they always seem to go upward. There are some out there who do overdo it a bit. Costs in your area vary from others so, to help you get an idea of what is part of that hourly fee, I hope the items listed below will help. You probably have some idea of what some of these things cost in your area.

The hourly rate doesn't just include what is paid to the 2 people doing the work. In addition to the up front labor Zl700 outlined, there is also insurance costs which are broken down on an hourly basis per employee (such as unemployment compensation, social security, liability insurance, auto, medical, just to name a few), fuel costs, vehicle cost and maintenance, tool costs,licensing fees, taxes, utilities an on and on. There are also administrative fees...lawyer, office administrative personnel (who don't bring in money per se but are required in a business). I could go on but I think you get the idea. After these costs are spread out per employee/per hour, the company needs to make a profit also. Unfortunately, the loaded hourly rate makes it appear the company is making a killing when they are not. If you were not receiving warranty work, the main area where the company could negotiate is on the cost of materials and some value added incentives.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 8:17PM
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Thank you so much for the kind response. That makes sense.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 11:27AM
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Small businesses are unfortunately very inefficient. They can't afford a big ad campaign and don't have name recognition, so have lots of dead time between customers but still have hungry kids to feed. You're paying for that dead time, and you shouldn't. Your Ford dealer has all those expenses mentioned above and still manages to post his labor at $50-$65 burdened because he keeps his crew busy.

So try the biggest shop around, or one run with a more realistic attitude toward value. Around here we have a robust Asian-American community that's often a good place to find value.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 2:15AM
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I paid $110 this year for about 1/2 hour labor and 15 miles trip charge. Texas

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 5:24AM
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Find some illegal workers, and then don't even pay them after they are finished. Won't cost you a dime!

Big companies to small companies with dead time? Asians to Illegals. I'm sorry but larger companies have more over head and to be honest big or small if the business is run correctly the price will be close to the same.

And when was the last time a auto shop came to your house to fix your car? And if they did they would charge you from the time they left the shop to the time they got back to the shop! so that 50-60 an hour dollars just doubled.

My question is how much do you make?
My tax income for the past 2 years has been 0 = Zero = nada = nothing. And I will say for the amount of info in my noggin I should be paid a good deal of money.

Every dime I made went back to the business to help the next customer. My wife works to pay the mortgage and covers the family with insurance.

It is total nonsense and a lack of knowledge of not owning your own business to come here and say the price should be peanuts and beer. We are not clowns in a circus, and why do people come here looking for pro's in this industry for guidance? Everyone should be able to fix whatever is broke right? I only go to the insurance agent because the law says I have too to have insurance and an insurance agent sells it.

To think of all the extra charges I am paying in things just because you all need a salary more than me.

You want over charges, let's talk TV subscriptions, Telephone, cell phone, medical billing, to bottled water.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 7:11AM
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I respectfully disagree with your statement. Most small businesses are run much more efficiently than larger companies. There're numerous methods a small business guy uses to stay afloat without gouging. He won't be in business long, word travels fast, if he gouges and does poor work. A large business can absorb some losses resulting from poor work, repeat attempts, etc. from dishonest or irresponsible employees to a certain extent. For the most part, a large company will raise their labor or parts rates to compensate for it. I think we have all seen many big companies fail or become much smaller as a result. Sears for example. And remember Montgomery Wards?

A small business guy does not have that luxury. A small business that has been around a while can not afford dead time and those who have survived past the "5 year in business success period" have eliminated or made constructive use of any free time, if indeed there is any. Your best deals and work are usually provided by a smaller business. For example, most of the larger companies prefer commercial clientele over residential. They'll set a fixed rate at a commercial threshold and when a residential client asks for service, they'll pay that same rate.

Here's one area many businesses use to eliminate down time....Manufacturers need businesses to do warranty work for them. There's a lot of it out there and most small businesses use it, grudgingly, to fill in that time. I say grudgingly because there's not much of a profit margin. The manufacturer usually sets the rate which is at a level that makes THEM look favorable. The "survival" is in the volume of work which pretty much eliminates free time and consumes a lot of personal time too.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2009 at 6:46PM
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glad to see that you understand all the expenses!
usually these threads turn into hvac co's raping
the homeowner, when actually the costs are justified.
I pay a lot for propane..cause they deliver it to me,
I'm sure if I could find a way to safely transport and
refill my tank the cost would be lower. But it is that
come to my house..their expertiese and their business.

some small businessess are very efficiently run.
just my .02

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 6:09PM
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I am having a cole replaced under warrenty, labor is 817.00? Is this a fair price. They are replacing the evap. coil due to a leak.LT101A,

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 3:44PM
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I'm tired of how people complain about the cost of having their units worked on. Put yourself in the technicians shoes, 1.He has to go to school for 2 yrs to learn the trade. 2.He has all kinds of expenses, (insurance, ware and tear on vehicles, food, gas, help, equipment, tools, etc). 3.He has to work in places few tread to go (under houses, in attics, tight places, mud, rain, snow, etc.)And most of the repairs is because the home owner neglected their units. A new unit will last 30 yrs if the home owner would take the time to do simple maintenance. Air conditioning and heating is one of the most important luxuries in your life so don't complain about the cost just pay the man and ask him what you can do to help your unit last longer.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 3:11AM
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