If you’re ready to hire a heating and cooling contractor, who do you pick? I’ve got 8 tips that will help you to quickly drill down to the best contractors.
1. Get referrals.
There’s nothing quite like getting the ‘real’ story from your neighbor. She’ll tell you if they were on time or respectful. She’ll let you know that her home feels great now. She also might tell you if she got a great deal!
2. Find out their contractor license number.
In Wisconsin, you must have one. If they don’t have a license, you might just have one of those ‘2 guys and a truck’. Yikes!
3. Get their Proof of Insurance.
This is not a big deal for the contractor. It’s just a single phone call to their company who will want to either mail, e-mail, or fax the information directly to you.
Occasionally, there is a company who runs around without insurance. Avoid this problem! It might be your own homeowner’s insurance that has to pick up the tab if there’s an accident or a bad installation! Even worse if your insurance does nothing about it at all…
4. Find out how long they’ve been around.
It’s true that a young company could do a fabulous job. True, also, that being around a long time doesn’t guarantee that they do great work. It does mean that they’ve worked hard enough to stay around, though, so it’s just one thing to look for on your list.
5. Be cautious of any heating and cooling contractor who quotes a number over the phone.
HVAC is complicated. You might think you need a repair. When they show up, they might tell you that your furnace repair should be a replacement.
Perhaps you don’t need as much ductwork as they originally expected…there are just too many factors to be able to quote quickly and without looking at your situation.
6. Ask for a written heating and cooling quote.
Your estimate should be itemized and written down, so you know what they’ll be doing and what equipment they’ll be installing. A verbal quote? Erm. Just say ‘no’.
7. Beware of running the numbers.
Perhaps your HVAC contractor gives you a low bid. That makes you happy. What if that low bid is because he does a bad job? That makes you angry. Yep. Don’t only look at the final quote – look at the whole picture.
8. Gut check.
Do you remember that time you hired someone who gave you a bad feeling? Oh, yes. Me, too. If a contractor gives you a bad feeling – even if you can’t figure out WHY – keep looking. There will be a contractor who takes the time to communicate, who is insured and polite and who will be a great fit. Of course, we DO think that’s us.