Is That Air Duct Daily Deal Too Good to be True?

Written by Shanna Reimer of Oliver Heating, Cooling and Plumbing
Updated July 7, 2015
air duct cleaning worker checking vent
Follow these three tips to make sure that air duct cleaning deal is worth it. (Photo by Eldon Lindsay)

Think you scored a great daily deal on a service like air duct cleaning? Check the fine print before you buy.

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I love daily deals. They offer great opportunities to get to know my neighborhood better and try out new services and restaurants. But if you’re like me, you’re looking for more than a one-time deal — you’re looking for a hidden gem, a local company that will earn your repeat business. So it’s really frustrating when a “deal” for cheap air duct cleaning turns into a hassle, or a high-pressure situation that requires you to purchase additional items or services that weren’t included in the offer.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret — I’ve also been on the other side of the coin. As a marketing coordinator in the home services industry, I’ve placed several daily deals to let new customers know about us and what we do. My experience with daily deals has taught me valuable lessons that I’d like to share with you. I’m going to use air duct cleaning as an example because it’s a hot item lately in daily deals, but I hope that you can apply these lessons whenever you suspect a deal is too good to be true.

RELATED: Is Air Duct Cleaning Worth It?

1. Are they auditioning for you? Or practicing on you?

A daily deal is an opportunity for you, not a business, to try something new. Before accepting a deeply discounted offer, especially for a service like air duct cleaning where someone will be entering your home, take a few minutes to find out about the company. Their name should be listed in the ad, period. If not, you should take that as a red flag and move on. It's not worth taking the risk of falling for a scam.

MORE: How to Avoid Chimney Repair Scams

Make sure they are properly licensed and insured, and that their technicians are trained and certified for the work they will be doing. A reputable provider should be able to tell you about their membership in professional associations, and the training programs their employees complete, such as the National Air Duct Cleaners Association, which requires yearly training and testing.

As always, anyone entering your home to perform a service should be a professional — are they driving a marked vehicle? In uniform? Do they provide floor and shoe covers to protect your home? These are questions you should ask about any home service, and you shouldn’t compromise on the answers for the sake of a deal.

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RELATED VIDEO: Avoid air duct cleaning scams

2. Do you understand and know exactly what you are buying?

My favorite daily deals are for restaurants — I can try something new, but I still know what to expect when I get there. My expectations for a clean environment and friendly, prompt service are the same whether I’m using a deal or picking up takeout from the Chinese restaurant that greets everyone in my family by name.

Going with our air duct cleaning example again, if I’m purchasing a deal to have this service done for the first time, I would call the company to make sure that someone there can explain the process to me. A reputable company will not only be able to walk you through it, but will also ask questions about your home to give you an accurate estimate of the time and any materials that will be needed to complete the job.

For instance, they should ask you how many thermostats you have, where they are located, the location of your heating and air conditioning system, and how many total vents you have. If you don’t have prior experience with a product or service, you should look into it to make sure that the deal covers all of the basic elements. It’s also a good idea to check the fine print and make sure you’re getting the deal from a reputable third-party source that can resolve disputes or offer a refund if needed.

RELATED: Angie's List Guide to A/C

3. How are they making money?

We all know that companies are in business to make money — they have expenses to meet, employees to pay, and at the end of the day if there isn’t a profit, there isn’t a business anymore. There are two ways that a company can make money when they offer a daily deal: they can either try to run up the cost of your first experience with them, or they can try to win you as a customer for the long term.

Air duct cleaning cost for a whole home should be between $400 and $1,000. So when you see a deal for $99, $49, and even $29, you need to ask yourself where that company will make their money. Some of the clues are in the listing: If it reads “unlimited supply vents,” but doesn’t mention return vents, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. On the other hand, a reputable company will offer you a complete basic service and encourage you to become a repeat customer of their full-service options.

Have you had a good or bad experience with a daily deal? Tell us about it in the comments section below. 

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on Jan. 23, 2013.

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About this Angie's List Expert: Shanna Reimer is the marketing coordinator for Oliver Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, & Electrical, located in Morton, Pennsylvania. She writes about home improvement services on the OliverHeatCool blog, and really doesn’t eat that much Chinese food but totally appreciates the great customer service. Oliver Heating Cooling and Plumbing & Electrical provides HVAC services in and around the Philadelphia metro area.

As of July 16, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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