How to Vet an HVAC Contractor

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Ask for a Letter of Bondability

When HVAC contractors work on large-scale public projects, they are often required to post other types of surety bonds, such as performance and payment bonds, to make sure the job is well done.

While you don't have the legal authority to require a HVAC contractor to post a performance bond, you can request a letter of bondability (learn what a performance bond is in more detail). This type of letter is issued by a surety bond company that issues contractor bonds.

Normally, not every contractor can work on all types of projects, so sureties give them certain limits called construction bond lines. The construction bond line represents the dollar amount up to which a company thinks a certain contractor can work on, based on their credibility and financial strength. By getting the letter of bondability, you don’t have the same protection as a performance bond, but you learn whether the company would bond the contractor and up to what sum. This can give you a fairly good idea if the particular HVAC contractor is capable of handling the work you need to get done.

These tips should prepare you to make a confident choice when vetting an HVAC contractor. Of course, to make sure you're really working with the right professional, request bids from several contractors – even if the first one looks good, as with any purchase, you want to get the best possible value for your money. Then it's time to sit back and enjoy the cool – or warm – comfort of your facility!

Eric Halsey is a historian who shares his knowledge and works with JW Surety Bonds.

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