Service call? What is it and how much? Cagle Service - Heating and Air

Service Call? What Is It And How Much?

In the heating and air conditioning business, and the service business in general, we have a term referred to as a “service call”. It’s probably our most commonly used service term.

But what is it exactly? And what about the fee associated with it?

I’m glad you asked!

hvac service call

Service Call 101

A service call is simply a service that is rendered when a homeowner or business owner has a problem or malfunction that they need examined or diagnosed. 

For example: Let’s say that an owner of a restaurant is having a problem with his air conditioning unit. It isn’t blowing cold air in the middle of the summer, and it’s creating discomfort for his customers. This individual would probably call a HVAC service company to have them come out to diagnose the problem with the AC system.

This would be considered a service call.

This is would apply to any service that is needed. Whether it’s heating and air conditioning related or electrical, plumbing, refrigeration etc.

A service is needed. A service company is called to come out and provide that service. Fairly simply right?

What about the fee?

service call fee

Service Call Fee

A service call fee is the fee that is charged in order for the service technician(s) to come out and perform the service. Normally, the fee is meant to cover common expenses associated with each service call. Some of the areas of expenses include travel expenses and travel time, service vehicle expenses, and labor expenses.

For example, many service call fees are actually two fees combined: the trip charge fee and the service fee. The trip charge fee covers the time, gas/mileage, and typical vehicle expense items. The service fee covers the actual service and labor performed on site.

Each HVAC service company has their own fee that they charge. This fee can vary from company to company, depending on many factors. Some service companies will charge a standard or flat rate for all locations within their service radius. But, other service companies will charge a fee that is specifically suited to the particular service call location. Therefore, the fee would vary from location to location depending on the mileage it takes to get to each location.

For example: A HVAC company might charge a standard $80 fee for a service call that includes their main area of service, Jackson TN for example. For any areas beyond Jackson TN, the fee might be up to $90 or more for the further distance of travel. In this example this fee would include both the travel time/mileage (trip charge fee) and the first 30 minutes of labor on site in order to diagnose the problem (service fee).

$40-$50 for the trip charge fee and $40 for the service fee = $80-$90.

If the time on site goes beyond 30 minutes, the fee would increase depending on how long the technician is on site or how much extra labor is performed.

Average Service Call Fee Cost

After doing some research we have found that service call fees can vary quite a bit. They can range anywhere from $75 up to $150 and even more.

Note: Most service call fees do not cover material and/or parts costs, if they are needed.

We hope this information has given you a better basic understanding of service calls and the fees associated with them. We want our customers to understand our services and what’s included.

What are some service call fees that you have encountered? What was the service call for? Comment below!

We are a professional HVAC company located in Jackson TN. If you need service performed on your HVAC unit and live in or around the Jackson TN area, feel free give us a call at 731-300-1030. Our technicians are fully trained and certified and are ready to serve you!

23 thoughts on “Service Call? What Is It And How Much?”

  1. Heather Crass

    I had my furnace worked on in the recent winter storm. There was a “recoup cover” piece that needed to be replaced but the technician didn’t have the part with him. So he came back another day with the part to put in on. Took only a few minutes. But I was charged for two service calls totaling $229 plus the part!
    Why would a company EVER carry a needed part to fix even a simple issue, when they could instead charge twice? I feel taken advantage of. Would you charge two service calls for this?
    I was not happy.

    1. Hey Heather thanks for sharing! It all depends on how the company charges for their work. In most cases, the HVAC company would charge for the initial service call to come out and diagnose the problem. If there is need of a repair that includes parts, the job would then include the cost of the parts and the labor involved to replace the part. Are you certain they charged you for 2 service calls and parts? Or do you think it was 1 initial service call plus parts and labor?

    2. No to two service call fees on the same repair unless the homeowner says no to the repair, then calls you back out after changing their mind. Granted this is if the part is stocked on the vehicle. Now if it is a part that is not stocked and the tech needs to go get it, then you will be paying for the time to go get it and install. Ex: service call 80, part 210, 2 hour round trip and install 160. If the hourly labor charge is the same as the service call and it took an additional hour, then it will look like two service calls. It should just be communicated. We can’t carry everything on a vehicle, but can carry a good bit of the normal stuff.

  2. I had to have my Hvac people come out on a weekend “Sunday” and I tried everything troubleshooting wise to wait u til Monday. My unit is not even 2 years old and the meter on the air handler is broken. Part has to me ordered so we are living/trying to sleep in a very hot house waiting on this to be resolved. The weekend service call charge was $210 and the technician was here less than 30 min. If the part is still under warranty and like I said why would a brand new part break …..why should we have to still pay the service call fee plus still be hot (checking into a hotel would be cost prohibitive because we live in a tourist town). Guess I just need to complain because I am sleep deprived and hot

    1. Hey Patsy. Hate to hear that your air conditioner isn’t working properly. That can be brutal in the Summer months! In most cases, weekend service costs more than normal weekday service for HVAC companies. While the part itself is covered under warranty, the labor involved for troubleshooting and replacing the part isn’t covered by the warranty. With that said, $210 does seem a little high for just a service call, but your local HVAC company might have good reasons for that charge that don’t meet the eye. And like I said before, weekend services are typically quite a bit more costly than normal weekday services.

      I hope your unit gets fixed asap and you get cool air running through your home again soon!

  3. Janie Laferty

    Hi, I had a service provider come to my house to fix a problem. My question relates to disclosure of the service charge. In my case, they called it a trip charge. When making the appointment over the phone, we discussed where I lived and at no point did the vendor indicate there would be a charge to come to my house. I feel they should have disclosed it and the appropriate time would have been when we talked about where I lived. Is non disclosure breaking the law?

    1. Hi Janie. Service charges or trip charges are very normal in the HVAC and service industry. In most cases, there is always going to be a charge for coming out to a home or business for some type of service. While I am not certain as far as the law goes, I do not think that the company has to disclose the service or trip charge of their own volition. If the customer asks, then yes I would expect the service company to share the information.

      If a service company has to spend time, gas, and vehicle expense to make a trip out to your home, there is probably going to be some sort of charge. It sounds like you probably got charged for the labor onsite and the trip charge as 2 separate charges. This is quite normal. Some companies combine the labor and travel expenses into one charge and some list them separately. In either case, you are paying for the trip out to your location and the labor onsite.

      By the way, the only time that a charge might be excluded is when the HVAC company is providing a free estimate for a new unit. This is made clear through the “free estimate” terminology. Some companies might also have special deals when they don’t charge for the trip/service call charge but this is usually made clear upfront.

  4. Rose Hughs

    Hi, we had a well storage tank simple issue and the company we called that was recommended to us from another well company, came out and fixed it, but said we should get a bigger pressure tank on the booster pump. They then came out several days later and replaced that (although it seems to run as much as the smaller one).
    I received the bill yesterday for $808.77. I had been charged two separate service calls of $150.00 each. The first repair on the storage tank was $205.00 including the service charge. The rest was for the pressure tank replacement with 2 parts and another $150.00 service charge. Is this normal or right?
    Thank you for your input.

    1. Hi Rose. It sounds like the well company that serviced your tank charges a service call on every call they respond to or every trip they make. This is just one way it’s done. Some service companies include a service call on every trip on the bill and others only include a service call on the bill for the initial trip for troubleshooting/fixing the problem. After that, rather than including a service call on the bill for every trip, some service companies will simply charge for labor and parts (on the bill). In both cases the labor, time, and parts are accounted for on the bill, but just categorized differently. Hope that makes sense!

  5. I call heating and cooling for the hot water heater they installed, they charged a service charge ok and time spent to clean a filter and then charged a milage charge which she said was the miles wherever she was when I called and milage charge again bact to whenever she was when I called I understand all the charges except the double milage what if she had gotten another call from here I paid and then the next customer also pays is this leagle

    1. Hi Tom. I can’t say if that’s legal or not. We personally do not charge per mile, so that’s out of our expertise. Sorry about that.

  6. Then how do you compare prices? Let’s say you have an AC issue. It doesn’t blow cold air or condensation pan leaks, etc. You call to get an estimate but they say they have to take a look at it first, which is understandable. But they charge $100 for the service call. If you want to call 3 people to get an idea of how much it would cost, you’re out $300. What do you recommend?

    1. Hi John. The only real way to compare prices is with the company’s service call rate. If they don’t know how much the actual repair is going to cost to fix without diagnosing it, there’s really no way to compare prices besides the way that you mentioned. Once you find out what the issue is exactly, then it is possible to call different companies and get a possible estimate.

  7. Michael

    Hi! I ran across you site while Googling for definition of Service Call. Your definition/description of Service Call Fee is consistence with my expectations. Thanks. Now for my long winded reason why I was Googling in the first place.

    I had a Service Call within a 20 mile radius for $149 that included 30 minutes of labor. Every 15 minutes thereafter was $30. OK so far. Now for the two markup fees padding the bill an extra $30. I know what these charges are and how they are or should be calculated.
    1. SERVICE MATERIALS (aka Shop Fee) – SET MININUM FEE that covers cost of, cleaners, sealants, embers, paint, paper towels, etc.
    2. FUEL SURCHARGE – All service calls regardless of distance are subject to a minimum fuel surcharge fee of $15.

    I have multiple beefs with the FUEL SURCHARGE. I’m only 4.5 miles from the store and gas is only $3.42. Even my fully packed Suburban with Great Danes and towing a 30′ trailer filled with fresh water gets 9-10 MPG at freeway speeds.
    1. A fuel surcharge is not a based flat minimum fee but instead based on the actual fuel used.
    2. Charging $15 when using less than one gallon gas @ $3.42 in price gouging and most likely criminal under Consumer Protection Law, but we though we could have a good debate on the legality, we will leave that to the lawyers.
    3. The Service Call should cover vehicle costs including fuel, the 30 minutes of labor and 15 minutes of drive time.
    4. “Etc.” is a keyword in what is included in Service Materials description, where “etc.” could easily be construed include gas and fuel surcharge.

    After inquiring about the fuel surcharge with the GM, he stated, “All service calls regardless of distance are subject to a minimum fuel surcharge fee of $15. Your order was emailed to you before us coming and included the surcharge. This surcharge applies to all service calls and is not negotiable.”.

    Note that I am stuck with these Tool of a GM who puts money before customers (bad past history) as they are the only authorized service dealership for the product in small town USA. How many different ways can you say I got you and I own you, so just bend over and take it? Also, I what it is like to be GM, as I was a store manager of a pizza chain back it’s hay days when the emphasis was take care of the customer and the customer will take care of you.

    Your thoughts on the fuel surcharge and padding the bill, please.

    1. Hi Michael. Concerning your questions on the fuel surcharge, we don’t implement a fuel surcharge but rather a general “trip charge” fee in our service call. All of this is covered in the blog post above. As far as someone charging a fuel surcharge, we don’t really have an opinion on that as that is at the discretion of the company owner and what they want to charge for or incorporate in their service call fee. Service companies construct their service call fees in different ways and there’s no “one fits all”. Hope that helps!

  8. I had to call the heating and air installers because my heat stopped working completely. The service call was $100 and they said since they had to order the parts, it would be used towards the labor when they returned. The motor had burned out so they replaced the board also in case it was also damaged. It took a week for the parts to come in and it is winter here. I had purchased a warranty with the new unit so the parts were covered. Today’s bill was $275, $100 for service call, $100 an hour and took maybe 15 minutes and then they charged me $75 for a warranty processing fee. I asked about the $100 that was supposed to go towards labor and he said the 2 trips out were $100 each so technically it did apply since I didn’t have to pay 2 service calls. Why don’t they actually tell you what all you are paying for before they even come out.

    1. Yeah Donna it sounds like they charge $100 per trip/service all and since they came out twice they charged $100 for each trip but removed 1 trip/service call charge as they said they would. If you ask upfront, they should be able to tell you how their pricing works prior to coming out.

  9. hello 👋,

    I was surfing the internet and I came across your site/blog and from what I have seen so far it is in the general area of what I am currently trying to figure out at this moment. I will try to break down the scenario as simple and as short as I can.

    okay, so there are 2 different HVAC companies I have contacted. The 1st one said that finding parts has been rather difficult and will take about 12 weeks minimum and was supposed to contact me today to give me an update on some information I had asked about they had not done that, thats not important right now.

    So I was referred another HVAC company so this is #2 company, they got back to me immediately, I shared my issue, I also stated that my specific hardware and what is installed in my apartment dates back long ago. It works off a water pressure type HVAC . Other words it has not yet been updated to more modern settings. I had already been estimated and was on the path to order an motor but then covid happened. So naturally this had to be shelved. Since then I have had a pretty well known HVAC company, Michael and Sons they had absolutely no idea of my HVAC system and they said they would send a more “experienced ” technician. Let’s say that did not do any better i never heard back from them and they also showed up 3 hours late.

    With this appointment that is supposed to take place tomorrow, I have made sure to let the receptionist pass along and her self included be aware of the status and what Era my HVAC is and also the type it is, water pressure and also I passed along the small tid bits the office manger has also told me about. To try to ensure my time doesn’t get wasted and there’s as well I also took pictures and sent them so both the receptionist and the specific technician will be made aware early on and know what he is going to be dealing with.

    My main question is if they show up and it turns out they do not in fact know at all anything about my specific HVAC, am I still having to pay the fee to come out. it is 100$
    it would be different if they made an assessment and were able to tell me something of an part a motor or something instead of I need to upgrade.

    To clarify I don’t need to upgrade my HVAC I just need an motor from an HVAC company and to install it. There is no need to take out the whole system just to install one that is not broken fully yet. That does not make me cheap, it is just a basic motor and as said I need a HVAC technician to install

    Because I had already made sure to let them know my specific HVAC situation, would there be any wiggle room because I had let them know beforehand ? Paying a 100$ just to tell me you don’t know what the problem is because your not familiar with my specific HVAC and also to not only just offer upgrade because truth is all technicians want most people to upgrade. Even after I already made sure to ask those specific questions before the
    technician even agreed to take the call – can you please let me know your input and feelings on this situation .

    I hope I am not coming off entitled, as I said it is not about the money. I just don’t see why should I pay the 100$ yes I get gas and everything but they agreed to take accept the call after I made sure they are all aware of what they will be looking at tomorrow.

    I hope this all makes sense.


    1. Hi Angel. I would think that if you explained your situation to them and the type of HVAC system you have, they would not have scheduled you if they were not able to do what you were wanting. If they do come out and they are not able to perform the job you are needing, then you could definitely argue that you made it clear to them what you needed prior to them coming out and for that reason you don’t think a $100 charge is warranted. On the other hand, as you mentioned, much of the service call charge covers gas, man hours, vehicle expenses, etc. So, I could also see why they would still want their fee. But, as you said, if you made it clear to them what you are needing and they can’t accommodate it, but still chose to come out, that’s on them. Ultimately, it’s between you and the HVAC company and I hope this situation works out well for you and that they are able to fix your HVAC problem! And just FYI, we are not legal professionals or lawyers so this is simply our opinion.

  10. Daryl Williams

    Hello. My ac stopped working properly, so I submitted a claim to get it repaired. Since I have a home warranty I thought that it would be covered. Unfortunately, the warranty company denied my claim because I did not perform yearly preventative maintenance on the ac. That was their way of getting out of repairing it.

    My warranty company explained that they would not cover the repairs but the hvac repair company that they selected would still do the work if I paid them out of pocket,I would have to make the arrangements on my own and not through the warranty company though. I have attempted to contact the company by phone and email but they will not call me back. I feel that they don’t want to do the work even though they quoted a price to my warranty company on my behalf.

    I paid a $85.00 service call fee when they initially came out which I am cool with, but I feel that for whatever reason they don’t want to do the work that I asked them to do.In your opinion is this bad business to charge a service fee and diagnose the problem but not want to do the work? I would appreciate your input?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Daryl. Thanks for your comment. A HVAC company, or any service company, certainly can perform a service call and diagnose the problem, but not commit to fixing the problem. A service call or diagnosis fee is a unique job within itself, so it is not technically connected to any follow up job. So, yes, what this company has done is acceptable. There could be numerous reasons why they aren’t wanting to perform the job, such as lack of manpower or availability (August is typically a super busy time for HVAC companies), along with other reasons they might have. Now, I don’t think it’s the best idea, from a reputation perspective, to perform a diagnosis for a customer, but then not want to fix the problem. But ultimately it’s up to each company to make those decisions. I hope that helps Daryl!

  11. This article provides a clear explanation of what a service call is in the context of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry, as well as how the associated fee is determined.

    A service call is described as a request for professional assistance when there’s a problem or malfunction with a system or appliance, such as an air conditioning unit. The example provided illustrates how a restaurant owner might seek HVAC service when their AC system fails to provide adequate cooling, disrupting business operations and customer comfort.

    The article also breaks down the service call fee, explaining that it typically covers expenses such as travel, vehicle maintenance, and labor costs incurred by the service technician. It notes that this fee can vary among HVAC service companies, with some charging a flat rate for all service calls within their service area, while others may calculate fees based on the specific location and distance traveled.

    Overall, the article offers valuable insights for homeowners and business owners seeking HVAC service, helping them understand what to expect in terms of both the service provided and the associated costs. Thank you for sharing this informative piece!

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