Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Lesson One From The Loan Department: You Are Not A Slip And Slide.

I work on a loan program that helps people finance a variety of energy efficient home improvements, including heating systems, at a low interest rate. Most people probably put stuff like this on a credit card at a mid-to-upper-teens interest rate or take out a home improvement loan at 9% or more. Our loans are 3% max, so it rocks pretty hard. We also help people figure out what rebates they may be eligible for, etc. Free money AND low interest? Neat.

There is, of course, a catch, that being that you need to fill out the correct forms.

When did this become startling? If you want someone to pay $500 of one of your bills, and they told you, "okay, but you have to fill out this here paper," wouldn't that seem like a kind of easy way to get someone to pay $500 for you, and therefore...wouldn't you just fill out the goddamn form? I've had people call in and be all "well I didn't think you actually NEEDED this form...god, what a pain, my contractor has to sign it? Shee-it. Can't you just give it to me anyway?" Why, because you're cute? Because you have a wicked smoker's cough, and that makes me doubt that you are THAT much of a Brad Pitt clone that I should fork over $500 on your say so.

But even better is something called a heat sizing. This is something that's required for both the loan program and one of the utilities' rebates. I'll say it up front - it's kind of a pain. You have to measure walls and ceilings and windows and all kinds of stuff, and then you need to calculate the hourly BTU output that the heating system needs to get out in order to effectively heat the house. Most contractors just look at what heating system is there and get one the same size, or measure the baseboard, multiply accordingly, and call it a day. The reason it's important is because a too small system - obviously - won't heat your house, and a too big system will be continually kicking on and off, which totally takes out your efficiency ratings. Clearly, both are bad.

Oh. My. God. Do people not want to do these heat sizings. And it's understandable when it's the contractor complaining...if you didn't do it when you were out there to quote the job, then you have to go back there and do it, and it's a lot of work, and it sucks. Fine. What I REALLY don't get is when the customers want to DO THE SIZING THEMSELVES. The thing that cracks me up is that they always trying to be all smooth about it, to wit:

Me: you need an intake form, your proposal and a heat sizing calculation for your home.
Client: What's a heat sizing?
Me: It's an accounting of the space your heating system needs to heat. The contractor measures things like the walls and baseboard and produces a profile of your home. Your contractor either will have done it when he quoted the job, or they'll need to swing by and get one done for you.
Client: So they need to measure the walls, right?
Me: Well, that amongst other things, and there are a few more steps to complete the calculation. Like I said, your contractor should be able to provide the calculation for you.
Client: Well what else do they need to measure?
Me: It's not just measurements, sir, they need to perform a series of calculations based on those measurements.
Client: So what does he need to calculate?
Me: *pause, while breathing deeply through my nose and clenching the chair arm*
Client: So I can tell him, I mean.
Me: Sir, if he has any questions, you can direct him to this number.

Note to my customers...YOU ARE NOT THAT SLICK. Okay? You're not. I know you're trying to figure out how to do it yourself so you don't have to call your contractor, which you're resisting for some weird reason. I KNOW. You are the FIFTH PERSON THIS WEEK who has tried to play this game. AND IT IS WEDNESDAY. I am not faxing you the form to do the sizing, I'm not walking you through it, I'm not HAVING it.

When was this okay? Did someone pass a law saying all rules were to be followed as you feel necessary? Because I could TOTALLY ditch some of the rules of my life, and if we're allowed to do that then great.

Le sigh.

No comments:

Post a Comment