AAAA Generator Services Inc always recommends that customers have their first annual service in the 12th, 24th and 36th months. That way, they can be sure that the generator has been thoroughly checked out each year and before its factory warranty changes or expires.
Once the decision is made to seek standby power system installation advice, most either have no idea where to start or, worse, have wrong ideas of who can help. While many believe that an electrician or engineer is the one to call for expertise in backup power, most electricians, engineers, general contractors and even employees of generator companies usually only have an average understanding of their respective field but precious few have even a moderate understanding of all the aspects of a generator installation. Normally, gathering complete, quality information from reputable sources is a daunting task requiring independent, unbiased on-site consultations by separate experts. Making it even more difficult, not only should each be qualified in their own field but they should also not have a personal agenda. AAAA Generator Services Inc's response to this dilemma is to offer one single unbiased consultation by a rare expert in all aspects of standby power installations.
First and foremost, it is vital to distinguish between a free sales call and a paid consultation. While we agree that sales calls are generally free (many salesmen will even offer gifts), these mostly rely on income from high pressure salesman who self-describe as "closers". Using dodgy sales tactics, most will push for a signature for an overpriced and flashy installation with excessive options on the very first visit in order to capitalize on the excitement of the initial visit. Rarely, if ever in these scenarios, does the customer get offered the best possible advice. We see the aftermath of this sales approach all too often, as those who go down this path will often call us afterward when their system fails to meet expectations or, worse yet, fails to even work in an actual outage. Keep in mind that many customers wait years for a significant outage to test their generators, only to find out that their system could never have worked as installed.
At AAAA, we have chosen the paid consultation model because we prefer to cater to those who see the value of an expert, unbiased consult. We even go to great lengths to make sure our consultation is not a sales call. For example, we send only the very best and most knowledgeable experts (not "closers"), we provide honest, unbiased advice and we don't even offer contracts or signatures on the same visit as the consultation. So, while AAAA does offer turn-key standby power solutions, we often will instead advise, train and equip customers (and frequently other electricians, plumbers, general contractors, architects and engineers). Then, once all the decisions have all been made, whatever has not been sourced, AAAA offers to provide (whether just the equipment or also the installation). So if you have a favorite plumber and/or electrician and want us to only provide the generator and startup, for example, that is your choice.
While most are used to paying for a consultation with an engineer, doctor, lawyer or other professional, there is often the expectation that any consultation by an expert in standby power must be a sales call and, as such, should be free. Certainly, there are many generator companies offering free high-pressure sales visits. If that's your thing, you're in the majority and that's fine. Just know that we don't have it in us to do that to people. Instead, AAAA offers only premium services and does not believe this kind of sales technique is in the best interest of the consumer. As such, AAAA does not offer simple sales visits at all. AAAA's sales strategy, instead, is simply to respond to customer's requests for information and, if that turns into a request for quote, we provide the best and the most honest prices in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since AAAA's sales model does not rely on high pricing to pay for expensive sales calls or flashy showrooms, we can instead offer the best products and services at the best prices, all while maintaining inventory and support in Hayward, CA. If you're serious about having a standby power system installed, we recommend you thoughtfully consider your options.
The results of our unique approach include that we have many independent contractors, engineers and regional managers who rely on us for repeat consultations. And as with any valuable commodity with limited availability, the prices have to adjust to be able to continue to offer consultations without having to revert to either a lottery system or a months-long wait for an appointment with us. So, rather than reverting to time and materials, we now offer an on site consultation flat rate. As of 7/1/19, AAAA is offering standby power system consultations for a nominal and highly discounted fee of $700.* The on site consultation includes up to one hour on site for an unbiased consultation by an expert in all of these fields including engineering, plumbing, electrical, generators, fuel cells, both kinetic and chemical UPS and loads like HVAC, servers, electronics, motors and pumps.
We believe you'll agree that this is a great value because we provide more than just pricing advice when we perform an on site consultation:
*AAAA's on site consultation is the only one of its kind in the San Francisco Bay Area and, as such, is in high demand. In order for AAAA to continue to offer the best generator pricing as well as maintain the largest local inventory, we could not continue to cater to the constant requests for on site consultations from many who had no interest in actually buying anything. So we instituted the consultation fee.
- We survey your electrical lines and loads, looking at motor horsepower, air conditioning tonnage, heater kilowatts, etc.
- We survey your natural gas/propane line and loads to confirm proper sizing of piping, regulator and meter.
- We will determine the best location(s) for your generator and transfer switch and, often more importantly, will tell you where they cannot be installed due to fire hazards, noise restrictions, setback rules, etc.
Following, please find some average starting prices for a full basic installation including all parts and taxes (except permits - see below). Please note that the vast majority of customers do not fall into this category. Most end up incurring extra costs for various reasons. Because of this, we will customize an installation based on your personal preferences and sign a written contract for an exact bid amount before any money changes hands.
Permitting liaison services are part of our turn-key installation pricing. Our minimum price for this service is $2,500, which is included in the costs below. Then, if we are in contract to be your permitting liaison, we will pay your permitting costs and then add those to your invoice, at our cost. So if, for example, you want to source your own permits, please subtract $2,500 from the below pricing. Please note that some areas (i.e. San Jose) are quite obstructionist. Our liaison fee goes up considerably in these areas. It should also be noted that some municipalities do not operate within the law. Just a few examples of some of the things we've experienced from local municipalities: 1) Charging more than they're legally allowed by state law, 2) Denying contractors their right to even pull a permit (insisting on architects or engineers), 3) Requiring changes that violate Code 4) Demanding bribes. The list goes on and on. Also, it should be noted that our liaison services are not without limits. Specifically, AAAA includes debating an issue up to three times with our contact at your municipality (if they can't understand their error after three tries, they're never going to). At that point, you will need to choose whether to comply with their requirements (at your expense), take up the debate with them yourself or otherwise find a solution. So, while we'll always detail our pricing in advance of any work performed, we cannot foresee what your local municipality will do.
Regarding any required permit fees, engineering fees, inspection fees, signs, locks, unlocks and widgets that don't actually contribute to an on site standby power system: Some areas can have fairly hefty permit fees. Other areas may require special inspections and/or engineering for anything from structure, to noise, to plumbing, to electrical, to septic, to trees. Still others will have visions of bizarre contraptions they want installed (or vital components they want removed). Our bid only covers things that actually put useful metal and plastic on site per Code. For all these other requirements that your local municipality dreams up (but that don't actually provide a useful primary function on site), we recommend you maintain an additional 30% contingency fund.
Below price estimates include all of the following:
- Provide a concrete pad
- Generator (installed within 5' of utilities)
- ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch)installed within 5' of generator, 5' of service, not including any wall penetrations
- Natural gas piping - includes a surface run of up to 5' with no obstructions
- Conduit/wiring - includes a surface run of up to 5' with no obstructions
- Battery (installed)
- Start-up by a factory-trained dealer
Basic installed prices for the following generators (includes generator, tax, etc.):
- $17,750.00- 14kW air-cooled standby generator with 100A load center ATS. For a paralleled 28kW system, please multiply by 1.8.
- $19,925.00- 20-22kW air-cooled standby generator with 200A SE rated ATS. For a paralleled 40kW system, please multiply by 1.8 and add $1,000 for BAAQMD permit liaison services.
- Above this, average starting cost is roughly $800-$1,200/kW
Again, we cannot stress enough that these should be considered as low numbers for a complete installation. Things that commonly increase the price:
- Upgrade to variable speed generator
- Digitally controlled transfer switch (for savings over the life of the system)
- Redundant backup power systems, specializing in priority circuit uptime
- Fully automatic digitally controlled 2-wire start transfer switch powering the entire home
- Load shedding installed as needed on lower priority loads
- UPS on critical loads
- Sound dampening to reduce noise levels to comply with local ordinances
- Remote start/stop via switches and/or timers to help reduce the noise level at night
- Dual fuel setups, allowing virtually limitless fuel while natural gas is available as well as on site storage of diesel, propane and adsorbed natural gas
- Integration with customer's solar, further reducing the dependence on the generator
- Trenching for either the gas or the electrical
- Aluminum or custom generator enclosures
- Remote mounting of generator or transfer switch
- Custom wiring, outdoor transfer switch installation, etc.