3 Tips for Hiring an Appliance Repair Service

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Jason Kennidy

Subject: how to pick a pro

I myself am I service technician going on 13 years, are licensed and bonded, with epa and multiple certifications from almost every appliance industry. This was listed in your tips " Some professionals won't want to provide an estimate over the phone: Avoid these companies, as they are likely trying to get you to commit to a service charge with no real idea of total cost." The reason for not giving quotes over the phone is because there multiple things that could cause the same effect. For example, your fridge isn't cooling correctly. That could be a defrost issue, but what part? The timer, bi metal thermostat or defrost heater? Or could it be the evaporator fan isn't running? or maybe the the condenser fan isn't running causing the compressor to perform poorly? Or maybe even there is a freon leak or restriction in the sealed system. To sit there and quote a price of a machine that hasn't been properly diagnosed is the most un-professional thing that a company could do,because pricing a job on a maybe this is the problem, then having to tell the customer different after finding it wasn't the problem, causes problems. Just my opinion.


Subject: How to pick a pro

I agree with Jason, even from a customer's prospective. I'd rather the contractor come to me, give me a quote once they see what they're up against then give me a choice. I've run a service business for 20+ years and quoting over the phone is a mistake - once a price is quoted, esp. a short range, site unseen (everything is "easy" nothing "takes more than a few secs") the customer will hold you to that price regardless of what one finds once at the home. Thus, *already* you are off on the wrong foot. I might quote a wide price range over the phone but I place the emphasis on service, reliability and honesty. Nicely might say, "I base my rates on the services I provide which I cannot give a price without first seeing the job". The contractors to stay *away* from are the quotes over the phone for ex. "20-30 min. for $ (a flat rate), site unseen. These contractors/services may be new and have no idea how much it costs to do the job properly, they may not pay taxes or insurance, they may undercut competitors prices simply to get work and worst of all, will give the least amount of time but charge the most amount of money. They "prefer cash" and not far down the road costs might go up or they will cut corners. These are the services to avoid.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.