When you’re looking for an HVAC contractor, you have a lot of choices. And since an HVAC installation or repair can cost a considerable amount of money, you want to be sure you choose the best contractor available. So how is a homeowner to decide just who that is?
Tips for Hiring the Best HVAC Contractor
1. Find out how long the company has been in business. While length of operation alone won’t tell you how reputable a company is, it does show that it is established and has been around for a while.
2. Look at the company’s website. Does it reflect a reputable, organized business that has made an investment in being professional and providing good customer service?
3. Ask for references, and follow up by calling them, asking about job satisfaction and if the job was completed on time.
4. Check online references, such as Angie’s List, an online directory with crowd-sourced reviews, and Yelp, a crowd-sourced review forum.
4. Ask about certifications. Beyond the basic training in HVAC, certifications are available in the industry that show a technician has reached a certain level of expertise. The NATE (North American Technician Excellence) certification is one specifically for the HVAC industry.
5. Ask about licensing, insurance and bonding. Licensing for HVAC projects over $500 is required for contractors in California. Most HVAC clients prefer the company has liability insurance, just like any other contractor. Without that insurance, the client can be held responsible for any wrongdoing or accidents caused by the contractor. A surety bond is a type of credit the contractor provides that says he will fulfill contractual obligations. If not, a claim can be filed against the contractor; the bonding company will pay, but will turn to the contractor afterward to be reimbursed.
6. Don’t accept telephone estimates. If a contractor you’re interviewing offers one, keep looking elsewhere. No reputable HVAC contractor can make a reasonable estimate for work without inspecting your HVAC system first.