I recently had Terminix Pest Control quote adding Blown-in insulation to my upstairs attic. I didn’t even know they were in that business. It was recommended by my monthly Terminix “bug guy” as a possible way to eliminate the few rare silverfish he has not been able to completely resolve and also reduce my heating and cooling bills.
The Quote! Holy … how much?
A sales professional came to my house, borrowed my ladder, looked in my attic, drew up a sketch of the area to be insulated, and prepared a formal quote. Fortunately, prior to all that, I did a little research on the Internet pricing blown-in attic insulation myself. I found two sources that were consistent at $0.40 – $0.45 per square foot; installed about $375. I checked material cost at Lowe’s and found I could purchase the material for approx. $159 (21 bags x $7.56 per bag). Before he presented the quote, I warned him that I didn’t believe he would be able to be competitive, since the reason I changed my annual termite contract to another company was because Terminix was way out of line on their prices. Nevertheless, he completed his survey and proudly presented his quote. $1,740.00 Installed! He pointed out that that was “right out of the book” and he may be able to do a little better with some seasonal discounts.
WOW! Out of the park! But not a Home Run!
My jaw must have dropped to the floor and all I could say was WOW …(dead silence)… WOW… (dead silence) …WOW! He asked if maybe that wasn’t what I expected? I said, I told you in advance that I didn’t think you could be competitive, but not only are you not in the ball park, you’re not even on the planet. I told him he must have misfigured something (like maybe a decimal place). He quickly pulled out his three ring binder and showed me a fancy set charts to defend his quote. I quickly pulled out my Internet research on wrinkled ”post-it” notes from the pocket of my flannel shirt and showed him how I arrived at prices more in line with $350 to $400 installed.
Terminix Blows the Blown in Quote! - Minor Bugs!
In reviewing the details, we agreed on the square footage of 868 within a few sq.ft. We agreed that I already had 6 inches of R-19 rolled fiberglass insulation installed properly. We agreed that I needed approximately 5+ more inches of blown-in insulation to get me up to today’s new government recommended standards for our area of R-38. We totally disagreed on the number of bags required to get the coverage I needed. With the help of his handy dandy chart he arrived at 45 bags of insulation required, instead of the 21 bags I calculated. The number of bags then drives all the other costs in the quote, especially the labor.
After I showed him how he was misreading his own chart, he agreed he needed to re-calculate his quote. I showed him how to read his chart correctly and he returned to his car to re-figure the new quote. His new estimate, 21 bags. This took his original quote down from $1740.00 to $710.00. Then he added some seasonal discounts to take it down to a total of $640.00. WOW! again, $1,740.00 down to $640.00 with the stoke of a pencil. Believe it? Just by asking a few questions.
Boomers Beware! - Whatever it takes to Boom-bazzell the Boomer!
Next he was proud to tell me that it included the environmentally safe pest control chemical of Borax and that unlike most other insulation it was fire retardant. I told him that I believed that most rolled insulation like the type already in my attic was also fire retardant. He said it wasn’t (sorry, he is wrong). I pointed out to him, that if it wasn’t then I would be wasting my money because the old insulation wasn’t going to be removed per this proposal. He said that putting the fire retardant material on top of the other insulation it would smother out any fire that started in the other layer of insulation. Do you think that made me feel a whole lot better?
He also guaranteed it against “bugs” and went on to tell me that if I ever saw a bug again that I could call and Terminix they would come out to re-spray free of charge. By now I was getting amused. I pay a monthly fee for service with Terminix that has the same guarantee. Since I wouldn’t see any bugs in the future, I asked him if I could get rid of his buddy and the $36.00 per month I now pay for my monthly service. Of course he backpedalled and said, “not really because it would only cover the upstairs of my two story house”.
My Concerns – What really “Bugs” me!
What bothers me about this whole thing is this was a very simple job. Any sales professional(?) should have been able to walk up to my house without taking a single measurement and known that $1,740.00 was not a reasonable number. What also bothers me, is that if I had not known anything about construction or had not done some research on my own I would not have asked the questions I did. He would have been happy to sign me up to a contract to sell me a $640.00 job (or really a $350.00 Job) for only $1,740.00 without blinking an eye. Furthermore, it concerns me that some little old lady has probably unknowingly already paid prices like this in the past. Obviously, I declined his offer! I was nice however, and told him I would consider it in the future, thinking that he must have felt lucky that I hadn’t thrown him. He then said that I needed to hurry because after late spring they wouldn’t do these jobs because it was too hot to be working in attics.
The Follow up! DEAL? or NO DEAL?
Two weeks later the sales professional actually called to ask what I intended to do about the insulation job? I honestly told him that, due to his lack of knowledge on the subject, I had no confidence that Terminex should even be in the insulation business. I said it really “bugged” me but, I was giving him the benefit of the doubt that it was all an honest mistake. Because I was considering it an honest mistake, I had no intention of filing a complaint to the Attorney Generals Office or the Better Business Bureau. He agreed that he had misread his charts, but thought that I really should re-consider this great deal.
You gotta be Kiddin’ me. $1,740.00 down to $640.00 which is still almost twice as high as it should be. And, if I act now, 0% financing for 12 Months! How do you pass up that deal? … I did! … NO DEAL!
Papa says, Don’t be “Boombazzelled”. Get competitive quotes!