How to Choose your HVAC Contractor
It’s that time of year again. The season where you may need to hire an HVAC contractor or company for repairs or maintenance to your HVAC equipment. Whether it be for a small or large repair, or even a replacement, there are many options you’ll want to consider. We’ve compiled a list of ten aspects to consider when hiring an HVAC contractor, as well as a few things to beware of
- Is the contractor referred by a friend or neighbor?How to Choose your HVAC Contractor
The best source of information about the quality of work, friendliness, and customer service is simply from the experiences of friends or neighbors. Look for positive reviews that are verifiable.
- Does the company fleet reassure you?
Contractors driving unmarked beat up, dirty vehicles are likely to treat your home in a similar matter. In addition, these contractors may be skating on the edge of bankruptcy and unwilling or unable to fulfill their warranty requirements. Choose a fleet that is clearly marked, clean, and well-kept.
- Does the company have a physical address?
While many contractors may operate out of a home office when starting, they do have a physical address. Fly-by-nights and moonlighters, who will not remain around to stand behind their work, do not. They operate from cell phones. Check the company’s website; if no address is shown, be wary. You don’t want to pay for work that may never get finished, or have anyone to contact.
- Are company employees neat, clean, and professional?
Companies that provide employees with uniforms and insist on moderate levels of grooming tend to take a more professional approach across the board. Fly-by-nights are more likely to wear dirty jeans and tee shirts. The technicians at reputable HVAC companies are uniformed, ID’d, and provide service in a professional manner.
- Are the company employees actual “employees” or are they subcontractors?
This is extremely important, as subcontract repairmen are almost always paid by commission. It doesn’t matter if it’s an electrical contractor, plumber or even car mechanic. Commissioned-based repairmen are paid on a percentage of the money they collect from the customer. This means the more repairs he sells, the bigger his paycheck will be at the end of the week. There is nothing wrong with legitimate repairs, however, this form of earning a paycheck encourages the temptation to sell false repairs.
- What equipment brands are carried?
Manufacturers of the better-known equipment brands are selective about the contractors they allow to sell and install their equipment. Attempt to locate a reputable contractor or company based on technical proficiency as well as exceptionally high customer service scores.
- Will the company guarantee a price before work begins
Better contractors utilize flat rate pricing. This method of service pricing is fairer for consumers as it guarantees that everyone pays the same price for the same repair; there’s no need to watch the clock because the price stays the same even if the technician works at a slower pace than others. This form of pricing also avoids the uncertainty of the old “time and materials” pricing method. Try to receive repair prices that are pre-printed in a regional standards pricing guide which allows their technicians to quote repair prices before the work begins.
- What warranties are offered?
Better contractors, who are more confident in their work, offer better warranties. More guarantees and promises are offered and honored by more reputable HVAC companies
- Is the contractor licensed?
Licensing is a minimum requirement. Under no circumstances should you allow an unlicensed contractor to work on your equipment. State law requires that a license number appear on all solicitations, including websites. If no license is shown, be wary.
- Is the contractor fully insured?
If an employee of an uninsured contractor is hurt on your property, you can be held liable for medical expenses. Reputable contractors will provide copies of their general liability and workers compensation insurance. If the contractor uses subcontractors, ask for copies of their individual insurance. has full liability coverage exceeding state requirements and full workers’ comp. coverage. Certificates of Insurance should be available upon request.
- Beware the lowest price.
You want to spend the least amount possible, yet that often eliminates the lowest price. Why? Cheap contractors typically cut corners, which ends up costing more in the long run. Cheap contractors cannot afford to fix mistakes which can result in the need to pay twice. Cheap contractors have difficulty hiring the best technicians because they cannot afford to pay top wages or offer a benefits package.
- Beware the yellow pages.
Selecting a contractor from the yellow pages is similar to throwing a dart. Maybe you’ ll get lucky. Maybe not. Companies with double full-page ads pay a lot for those ads. The end result is that these ads create a higher overhead, overhead that is passed down to you in higher prices. You can save money and increase your chances of finding an honest company if you choose from contractors with more modest size ads. Overall, it’s recommended that the yellow pages be used as a tool of last resort.
- Beware companies without a track record
Every company has to start sometime. Yet, HVAC companies tend to fail frequently. In fact, one in five closes annually. Those consumers who have purchased an extended labor warranty from a company that closes its doors, may lose out on their warranty coverage. The best indicator that a company will survive long enough to honor its warranty obligations is that it has survived the ups and downs of the past. It is recommended that you consider those companies who have been in business for at least 7 years or more. They are more apt to be stable and have had more experience to overcome business mistakes, uncertainties and risks.
As you are now aware, there are several aspects to consider when hiring your HVAC contractor and company. By following some of these simple tips we’ve provided, you’ll most likely have a better experience and can rest assured knowing you’ve hired the proper contractor and company for the job!