Are you disappointed with your current HVAC service provider? Wondering if you’re expecting too much or if there are really better commercial HVAC companies out there?
We promise, there are better ones. Keep reading to learn what you should NOT put up with, and how to find the best commercial HVAC companies.
Commercial HVAC companies: common signs of poor service
- Taking far too long to get to you for an emergency repair
- Failing to show up on time for an appointment
- Failing to correctly diagnose problems, so it takes several visits to finally get it right
- Unwilling to perform work at convenient times for your business
- Doing the bare minimum for preventative maintenance
- Being careless and leaving a mess in your space
- Contracts, work orders, and invoices you can’t understand
HVAC service for business: you deserve better
If you watch TV news reports and the occasional YouTube video (don’t we all?), it’s easy to get the impression that many HVAC companies are out to rip you off. Have you seen those exposés that catch dishonest and just plain incompetent service providers with hidden cameras?
As the owner of a business, you can be a prime target for these disreputable people. You’re probably not an HVAC expert, you count on HVAC for your business to operate and make money, and you’re so busy that you don’t have time to question anything they do or tell you. And business owners tend to put up with far more sub-par service than they should, just to avoid the hassle of making a change. Sound familiar?
The truth is, there are many commercial HVAC companies that you can count on to do things right. The question is, how can you tell which providers are qualified and reliable? It’s not as difficult as you may imagine to get reliable HVAC for your business. You just need to know where to look and the right questions to ask.
How to find better commercial HVAC companies
You’re probably tempted to go straight for Google. Wait! Before you hit the internet, take these steps first.
1. Keep an eye out for trucks in your neighborhood.
Do you see the same ones again and again? The companies that do a lot of work in your area know the buildings well and are very likely doing good work since so many people are using them.
BONUS: the company that always has a truck around the corner can get to you faster in an emergency.
2. Ask your neighbors for a recommendation.
This is especially useful if your neighbors’ businesses similar to yours, or if they are located in a similar space.
3. Ok, now ask the internet.
Now you can go ahead and Google, but don’t stop there. Once you identify a few candidates with a Google search (or Duck Duck Go or whatever search engine you like), the next step is to peruse their web sites before you make calls.
Do they seem to have experience with businesses like yours? Can they offer all the services you need? For example, if you own a food service business, it would be smart to call an HVAC company that also does refrigeration service.
The right way to evaluate commercial HVAC companies
Once you have found a few commercial HVAC companies in your area (and you should always evaluate at least two or three) you need to know what to ask and what to look for so you can weed out unqualified or dishonest providers.
As a business owner, you understand how crucial it is to have adequate liability insurance as well as workers compensation to cover your employees. But do you realize that you are putting yourself and your business at risk if you hire a vendor without the same financial protection? What if their technician inadvertently causes damage to your property or injury to your employee or customer? Never hire any HVAC company (or any service provider for that matter) without adequate insurance.
Proof of technical competence
This is a big issue in New York, where HVAC technicians are not required to hold a license from the state. In that case, you need to dig deeper for evidence of their technical expertise.
The best proof you can get is certification by a reputable industry association, such as the Mechanical Service Contractors of America (MSCA), which requires years of education, field training and passing a rigorous exam. Also ask about EPA 608 certification which is required for technicians handling refrigerants.
Building code knowledge and willingness to handle permits
When a provider of HVAC for small business tells you they don’t take out permits, that should be a red flag. They may be trying to pass off sub-par work by going around the legal requirements. They may not understand the requirements, or they just don’t want to take the time to handle it. As a small business owner, dealing with the building department is the last thing you have time to do! Look for a company that takes care of the whole job.
Look for a one-year work guarantee on any install, repair, or service, which protects you from sub-par work and misdiagnosed HVAC issues.
Especially when you’re installing a new HVAC system for your business, you may not be thinking about the maintenance that will be required in the years to come. But you should be! Maintenance is a necessity for a commercial HVAC system because it prevents many breakdowns that can disrupt your business. And it makes your equipment run more efficiently to keep your energy bills down.
Some commercial HVAC companies only want to deal with the big-money jobs of selling equipment and installing it, but don’t want to deal with performing maintenance. You are much better off with a company that services and maintains what they sell and install.
Clear contracts and terms of service
What does it tell you when a company’s bids and contracts are written in vague terms or legalese that makes it impossible to understand what’s covered and what isn’t? It probably means they don’t want you to understand. Look for a company that clearly spells out in writing the service they intend to provide and the cost.