The 24-hour fitness center doors were locked. The sign said permanently closed. I had just paid my annual membership 2 weeks before that. This was back in 1983 and losing $239 of hard-earned money hit home. Deb and I lived on a tight budget while raising our family.

How could a company go back on its word so quickly? It felt like a fraud. The good news was a class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of the fitness center members. Attorneys sent a dozen or so to update letters over the next two years to each member which gave us hope of getting membership money back. The bad news was in the end I received a fifty-seven-cent check as a settlement for the class-action lawsuit. Fifty-seven cents returned from a $239 membership. Life provides important lessons.

Contracts are supposed to mean something. It’s like a solid handshake and giving your word. Many of us have signed contracts and found out later it was a bad deal. Customers must get a great deal when they purchase something on contract. The 24-hour fitness center contract lacked integrity because they had to have known bankruptcy was just around the corner. It was not a good deal.

Through time most of us have been burned at least once. I’ve been burned by the best too many times and am very sensitive to scams or deals that seem too good to be true. It makes it difficult to trust anyone, but there are good companies out there that deserve our support.

History told me that every John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical business transaction needed to be done with integrity from the smallest transaction to the largest. I will not live in that other world with the scammers. Integrity is the basis of John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical’s Service Maintenance Agreements on heating and air conditioning systems.

Service Maintenance Agreements are an incredible deal. If they are done properly, they will reduce carbon monoxide risks, improve indoor air quality, reduce energy costs, and provide quality comfort. They are good for the customer and the contractors.

The main benefit for heating and air conditioning contractors is it takes the peaks and valleys out of their workload. This reduces emergency calls during the hottest and coldest times of the year. That’s when equipment typically breaks down.

A good example is weak heat pump capacitors that fail under heavy loads on hot or cold days. Before the failure, capacitors can be tested and replaced while performing a routine Service Maintenance Agreement.

Nebraska has extreme temperatures that are brutal on heating and cooling systems. Homes are tighter today than ever resulting in poor indoor air quality and suffering from Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are caused by the off gassing of chemicals in all manmade items. Why are cancer and other diseases on the rise?

A good Service Maintenance Agreement will indicate the exact quality of your air only if your technicians have the right equipment to test the quality of your air. Techs also need to have other necessary testing equipment and be well trained. This is very important since equipment troubleshooting is complicated.

Some Service Maintenance Agreement offers are misleading to get into the doors of customers. A 40-point inspection with a low price may look good, but is that a company you have heard of before? Do they have integrity and the right business practices that will protect you? Are they Better Business Bureau members? Are they known for quality or shoddy workmanship? I can’t go into more details on this subject other than saying “buyers beware.” Also, there are good heating and air conditioning contractors.

John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical received the 2017 Chamber of Commerce Green Business of the Year award. We are serious about energy savings and protecting our environment. Our energy-saving efforts during the last year were the equivalent of reducing the carbon footprint of our community by 41 million miles of driving. It’s obvious we do not sell natural gas!

This is a great time of year to consider a Service Maintenance Agreement if you do not have one. If you already have an agreement, then feel very good about taking important steps to improve your health and comfort while reducing energy costs. Maybe a loved one could also benefit from a Service Maintenance Agreement as a gift?

I am proud to say John Henry's Plumbing, Heating, Air, and Electrical’s Service Maintenance Agreements have saved lives and improved the health of our community!

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