If you pick your HVAC contractor because you like their name, or they have a few good reviews on some obscure website, you might be setting yourself up for big problems later on. If your HVAC contractor shows up to your residence or building wearing a dark suit and sunglasses and wants to talk to you in the back of his van, you’re definitely in for some trouble.
Picking someone to fix, maintain or even install a new HVAC system shouldn’t be done carelessly. You must do your homework if you want good service without getting ripped off. Let’s also not forget you’re giving someone access to your home or place of business. Unless you want to watch them during their entire visit (which might take hours, depending on the job), you need to trust them.
Look for the basics first
Any legitimate HVAC contractor will have no problems giving you their licensing and bonding information. The local government issues a license that shows the contractor has met the minimum standards to do HVAC work. This usually means they have met certain educational and training requirements, and often have passed comprehensive exams.
Bonding is another sign of a legitimate contractor. A surety bond protects you from contractors who have subpar performance, can’t meet their own financial obligations to subcontractors, don’t make good faith bids and so forth. In most states, getting a surety bond is a requirement for becoming a licensed contractor.
One more basic consideration is insurance. The contractor should have some sort of workers insurance so if they are hurt on the job while on your property, you are not held financially liable.
If a contractor lacks any of these three basics, move on to someone else.
Finding a HVAC contractor
This is where you have to separate the good from the bad. There are several places you can find a contractor, but not all are created equal.
The best way to find someone to work on your HVAC system is a referral from family, friends, neighbors or co-workers. Word of mouth is a very reliable way to find someone who will do good work.
You can also go on Angie’s List to find an HVAC contractor. Angie’s List does require consumers subscribe to the service. But once you do, you’ll have access to comprehensive reviews of a contractor’s pricing, quality of work and overall satisfaction. Look for someone with several positive reviews.
Get everything in writing
You’ve done your research, found a reliable HVAC contractor so trustworthy you’d allow him/her to babysit your kids, now what? Once you agree on the work that needs to be done and how much it will cost, get it in writing. Promises on word alone don’t mean much. Having a written contract will keep your HVAC company honest because if they break it, there can be serious consequences.
Stay far, far away from any contractor that is not willing to put the terms of a job in writing.
Find someone who specializes in your needs
Just like doctors specialize in different areas of medicine, contractors can also specialize in various parts of HVAC maintenance. Most companies will probably offer everything from new HVAC installation to annual maintenance and repair. Question their experience. If you need a new furnace installed, ask about how often they install new furnaces.
Also, it’s important to ask about what kind of guarantee they offer. Do they stand behind their work? Are they authorized to work on your particular brand of equipment that complies with the manufacturer’s warranty? The last thing you want is to have a contractor install a new system, then have it break and not got any help from the contractor.
Use common sense
Choosing a HVAC contractor just requires a little homework and a good dose of common sense. If you feel something is “off” then it probably is. Listen to your instincts. HVAC systems are expensive to replace, repair and maintain. If you use the above tips, you should have no problems finding a good, honest contractor.
Do you need a HVAC contractor? Contact us today and find out how we can meet your needs. We are honest, licensed, bonded and insured. We stand behind our work 100%.
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