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Choosing An HVAC Contractor: Don’t Get Taken for a Ride

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Last Updated on January 9, 2018

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choosing an hvac contractor

This is an update to one of our most popular and helpful blog posts. Here’s the original: 4 Ways to Make Sure Your NYC HVAC Vendor Isn’t Taking You For a Ride

As a property owner or a facilities manager, you probably feel at the mercy of the different contractors you call in to maintain your building or make repairs. One of the most important parts of facility management is making sure your building maintains a comfortable temperature and good air quality, and you’re aware that choosing an HVAC contractor is something you shouldn’t take lightly.

So, let’s take a look at how to choose an HVAC contractor.

Choosing an HVAC contractor: leave it to the experts

Most building managers have many hats to wear when it comes to keeping their buildings and properties in tiptop shape. One hat they should forego wearing is the HVAC repair and maintenance cap. Choosing an HVAC contractor for these tasks is a wise path to take because today’s systems are increasingly sophisticated. It’s best to call in a professional who is certified to do the work and has extensive experience dealing with a variety of HVAC equipment and an assortment of problems.

Often people are reluctant to initiate the process of choosing an HVAC contractor (and might even stick with a poor service contract) because of worries that they will fall prey to an unscrupulous HVAC provider. Some managers hesitate about switching from a disappointing contractor because of the fear of the unknown. The truth is, you don’t have to settle for a subpar contractor. There are trustworthy vendors in the NYC metropolitan area, you just have to know how to find them.

Here are some things to look when choosing an HVAC contractor.

Tips for choosing an HVAC contractor

Licensing. Research licensing requirements before choosing an HVAC contractor. Does the contractor you are considering possess the proper licenses? Different states and local jurisdictions require different licensing. Ask for referrals and check references.

Training. When choosing an HVAC contractor, make sure the company employs technicians who have earned the proper brand certifications. Manufacturers’ equipment-warrantees are often contingent upon a certified technician performing work on the HVAC system, so don’t be shy about asking to see proof of qualifications. A company that employs professionally certified staff members means they care about having well-trained, qualified personnel.

Industry affiliations. Check to see what professional organizations vendors belong to when choosing an HVAC contractor. Check to see if the technicians have certifications from either the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) or the Mechanical Services Contractors of America (MSCA). HVAC companies that have affiliations with these professional associations have access to industry tools and current best practices. They will hear about the latest and greatest in HVAC equipment, training and service; putting them ahead of the curve.

Written estimates. Don’t settle for over-the-phone estimates when choosing an HVAC contractor. A technician will not truly know the condition of your system without conducting a full and careful inspection. Get estimates in writing. You don’t want to hire a company based on a phone estimate only to find your system needs different and more expensive work than was cited in the quote over the phone.

Communication. Make sure the technician provides you with a full and clear explanation of the repairs or services before the work gets underway.

Insurance. Don’t be afraid to ask to see proof of insurance when choosing an HVAC contractor. It is important that the vendor maintains adequate insurance including liability insurance, which will protect you against damage at your facility and worker’s compensation that cover workers from on-the-job injuries.

Expertise. Make sure when choosing an HVAC contractor that company representatives are knowledgeable about cutting-edge equipment and do not steer you away from energy-saving upgrades that could reduce your operational costs.

If you have qualms about the services and the quality of work provided by your current contractors, invite an independent HVAC contractor in to conduct a thorough inspection of your system.

Evidence-based service

A select number of HVAC companies, such as Arista Air, have invested in state-of-the-art technology that enables technicians to provide clients with visual proof of service. Outfitted with wearable recording technology that resembles safety glasses, Arista’s technicians’ video-document the main tasks performed on your HVAC system. After the job reaches completion, Arista provides you with a link to access your service call video. The visual proof shows customers they are receiving the services they are paying for and are not getting taken for a ride.

Learn more: How the Best HVAC Companies Use Technology for a Better Service Experience

Choosing an HVAC contractor for a service contract

If you are considering a maintenance contract, ask to see a sample service contract. A trustworthy company should document the terms of the agreement in plain English, not legalese that’s intended to hide less-than-desireable practices.

When looking at a maintenance contract, see if contains a termination clause. Most reputable HVAC companies will permit you to terminate your contract with 30-days written notice. If it does not include a termination clause, you should go elsewhere for your HVAC services.

Feeling trapped by your service contract? Get our white paper that shows you how to make the transition easy. Contract Confidence: Transitioning to a New HVAC Service Provider

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