Posted on 4/25/2014 11:45 AM by Svetlana Guineva
Just because a HVAC contractor is popular doesn’t mean they are the right fit for your facility. HVAC contractors will be always in demand because individuals and businesses constantly need their HVAC systems either serviced, repaired, or replaced.
Do your homework and check the HVAC contractor’s credibility and reputation before signing an agreement. Just follow these six easy steps to choose a reliable HVAC contractor.
Where Can I Find an HVAC Contractor?
Check the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). This non-profit organization is comprised of more than 60,000 professionals and 4,000 businesses in the indoor environment field and energy services. ACCA helps customers who are looking for quality contractors find reputable businesses amid their members. These businesses are sure to be in good standing and able to provide a number of referrals for previous jobs.
Another option is Angie’s List, a consumer review and rating website, where anyone can check whether the company or contractor they are about to hire is trustworthy and performs high-quality work. Services and companies are graded on a scale from A to F, and the reviews go into many details such as cost, professionalism, meeting contract agreements and deadlines, and more.
A third option that often seems to work better than any official review platform is asking around for recommendations and referrals. Ask your friends, neighbors, and colleagues who work in the same field as yours, even ask family members. Those who are usually within your circle of trust won’t mislead you.
The Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a very helpful if you want to double check the consumer ratings of an HVAC contractor. The website shows whether there have been any customer complaints against the specified company. Contact your local BBB office with any inquiries you may have.
HVAC Contractor’s Essential Paperwork
Licensing. Depending on where your business is situated, an HVAC contractor may be required to obtain a license by the state, municipality, or county. Oftentimes, a state requirement may be a certificate of passed exams and technical HVAC training.
There are two websites you can consult to find your state’s specific requirements or check whether your contractor of choice is licensed: the Contractor’s License Reference Site and National Contractors.
Bonding. A contract license surety bond is needed as a precaution against unfair dealings as well as a kind of financial insurance in case something with the agreement goes wrong. It’s a prerequisite for getting a license, so again, check with your local authorities if it’s a mandatory requirement. The bond amount varies according to the local requirements.
Worker’s compensation insurance. It’s needed in case a worker is injured while performing the job on your property.
Ask for Contractor’s Credentials
Of course, the license and surety bond are major requirements, but you will also want to make sure that the contractor has all the necessary permits to do the job. Find out whether your HVAC contractor has experience with the maintenance, repair, or replacement of your existing system in order prevent future misunderstanding or technical problems.
If you are planning to install a new system, do thorough research to find out which contractors specialize in that particular brand or model. A good contractor is one who will be there to guide you through the maintenance process. In the long run, knowing how to service the system yourself will save a considerable amount of money.
Starting with the initial inquiry, keep all correspondence in writing. Sometimes it’s best to send an email instead of calling the company directly. That way you can keep track of what is been said or promised.
Don’t rely on promises. Require all quotes or bids to be returned in official writing, so you can file them for later reference. When you sign a contract, make sure that the paper contains:
- All details about the dates on which the work will be performed
- A thorough breakdown of labor and equipment cost
- Payment due dates
- Deadline for project completion
Ask for at least three referrals from former customers of your HVAC contractor. Call the referrals and ask all the questions you wish to get answered. That way you can ensure that your selection of an HVAC contractor will lead to a successful business transaction for all sides involved.
The installment, maintenance, repair, or replacement of an HVAC system is expensive. Follow all the suggested steps above to make the best choice and save your company money and time.
Don’t hesitate to ask for copies of all necessary paperwork—such as license, bond, insurance, or other professional certificates and permits—even if the contractor is recommended by your best friend.
Going back to all the listed tips above, do you think we missed anything? Share your experience with us, good or bad. Let us know in the comment section if there is something else to take under consideration when it comes to choosing the right HVAC contractor.
Svetlana Guineva is a contributor for Lance Surety Bonds blog.