I've worked in the HVAC industry for a number of years now. I've seen companies come and companies go. If I remember correctly, there are approximately 1,200 HVAC contractors in the San Antonio, TX area at any given time. That's a lot of competition! Very few of these people are terribly successful. The ones who are successful know how to not only repair air conditioning and heating equipment, but also run a business.
Too many people feel that if they can just pass their test and get their license, they can get rich running their own business. What they don't understand is that they will have to get their work from somewhere, and they'll have to have a pricing structure to go with which will keep them from losing money.
I'm not on here to give lessons to people who want to be my competitors though. I'm here to help the Average Joe get what's best for him when HE calls an AC repairman!
As I mentioned already, there are many, many HVAC contractors out there, and they aren't all created equally . . . well maybe they were CREATED equally, but they've made certain decisions that have brought them down the current roads they are on.
"What's the difference?", you may ask. "If a guy took the HVAC Contractor's Test approved by the TDLR, and received his license, then why shouldn't I just use anyone?" The simple answer is as easy as comparing the service at a 4-star restaurant to that of your local 7-11 store.
At the 4-star restaurant, you are attended to by a person who knows that his or her pay depends on how you feel about the service provided. At the 7-11, you will most likely have a person who doesn't care if you are in there or not, and it shows in every move the person makes as well as in every word he or she says.
When you hire someone to repair your air conditioner or heater, you will notice the technician's demeanor, level of friendliness and professionalism. All of these things matter as much as the price to most people. Many times professionalism matters more than the price to potential customers. What matters to you most? Is it the level of service provided, or is it the low, low price? Obviously, a nice combination of both will satisfy you. Of course, there's a limit to how high a price can be regardless of the level of service, and a limit to how crappy the service can be regardless of the price.
Be wary of who you hire to work on your central air system. Check the company out on the internet. Find out how long they've been in business. Ask questions, and make sure you get satisfactory answers before letting someone start working on your air conditioner.