When you need a qualified and reliable company to handle HVAC maintenance for your NYC business, it can be tricky to pick the right one. The one that can get to you fast in an emergency. The one that will show up when they promise. The one with skilled technicians who will fix things right the first time.
When you’re interviewing potential HVAC maintenance companies in NYC, here are 10 questions to ask. The answers will help you weed out the companies who are likely to disappoint you, and identify the star performers.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Arista is the largest HVAC service company in NYC, and we hope you choose us! But even if you don’t, getting these answers will steer you toward a quality HVAC service provider.
1. How long have you been performing HVAC maintenance in NYC?
The last thing you want in an HVAC company is one that will be out of business before your contract ends. The companies that have been doing HVAC maintenance in NYC for years (decades even) are more likely to be stable businesses that will be around to provide great service for the long term. Plus, they have experience with all types of building environments and know the city codes inside and out.
Arista’s answer: We’ve been providing HVAC maintenance throughout the NYC metro area since 1949.
2. How many HVAC trucks do you have? In my neighborhood?
Bigger is not always better, but when it comes to HVAC maintenance in NYC, it really helps. New York City is a big, crowded place, and it can take a long time to get from one place to another. When you choose a service provider with a large fleet of trucks and technicians, they always have someone nearby and can get to you quicker.
Arista’s answer: Our fleet is over 100 trucks and still growing, so chances are very good we have someone in your NYC neighborhood right now.
3. What is your response time in an emergency?
For a business, every minute you go without heat or air conditioning is costing you money. So response time is important. (However, remember to take into account the next question to get a better feel for when your problem will be solved, which is even more important.)
Arista’s answer: Our goal is to provide emergency service within four hours of receiving a call. For calls received prior to 12:00 p.m. (Mon-Fri), Arista will typically respond within the same day. For calls received in the afternoon, we will respond the same day if possible, but more likely the following day.
4. How fast can you get parts?
If your HVAC maintenance technician shows up in 30 minutes, but it takes 10 days to get the parts needed for your repair, that quick response time doesn’t help you much. Look for a service provider with a large parts inventory and relationships with many parts suppliers in the city. Quick access to parts means less downtime for you.
Arista’s answer: Our trucks carry a large inventory of parts, so our techs almost always have what they need at hand. We also work with numerous supply houses in the NYC metro area, so we have quick access to 55,000+ parts at any given time. We even have dedicated drivers who can pick up a part so your technician can keep working.
5. What tasks are included in your commercial HVAC maintenance plan?
This is important: all HVAC maintenance plans are not the same! Make sure you check out the contracts to see exactly what’s included and what’s not. If one company’s price is drastically lower than the others, it’s likely because they’re cutting corners on the work.
Arista’s answer: Our HVAC maintenance agreement spells out exactly what you get, which is comprehensive maintenance work that keeps your equipment in peak condition and operating efficiently and effectively. Read this article to learn about comparing contracts (and see an actual copy of Arista’s HVAC maintenance agreement).
6. Will I always get the same technician?
It’s super helpful when you have someone working on your HVAC equipment who knows you, your business, and the equipment’s history. However, that can backfire when that person leaves the company or is away on vacation when you need help. Instead, look for a team of technicians assigned to your account. That way, there’s always someone in the know available to take care of your needs.
Arista’s answer: When you choose Arista, you’ll get a dedicated account manager and a team of HVAC maintenance technicians assigned to your location.
7. What type of training do your technicians receive?
In New York, HVAC technicians don’t need a license from the state. That makes it tough for a customer to be sure they really know what they’re doing. So, ask about how service techs are trained.
Here’s what you don’t want to hear: “they went to trade school.” That level of training is the bare minimum for getting started with highly technical HVAC work. Ideally, you want technicians who went through a 5 year apprenticeship program with on-the-job and classroom training. And, you want to hear that all technicians must complete ongoing training to keep up with the latest equipment and advances in the field.
Arista’s answer: Arista has designed a continuing education/training program which specifically addresses each particular technicians opportunities for growth. Plus, our techs are MSCA-STAR certified, which means they must complete 1200 hours of training, pass a rigorous exam, pass background checks, and agree to abide by a code of conduct.
8. Do you have a process for checking a technician’s work?
You may wonder how on-the-job training works: is your technician still learning? Who is making sure their work is done correctly? Proper supervision is essential, and you’ll want to know how companies verify what their techs are doing.
Arista’s answer: Apprentice technicians always work alongside a fully qualified journeyman. Plus, Arista has a team of field supervisors who oversee the work of our technicians. They follow up with customers, perform training, and do spot checks to verify the quality of our maintenance and repair work.
9. How do you report on the work completed at each service call?
As a busy business owner or facilities manager, you don’t have time to supervise every HVAC maintenance visit, especially if you have multiple locations. Will the service provider leave illegible, handwritten work orders on somebody’s desk? Or will you receive work reports you can read and understand?
Arista’s answer: We not only email you a comprehensive report after each service call with everything clearly spelled out, we provide a VIDEO that shows you exactly what the technician did.
10. Can you provide references that are similar to my business?
This is another overlooked way to vet a service provider. It’s very helpful to talk to someone like you about their experience. For example, if you have a chain of stores, you want to talk to someone who also manages multiple locations. If you have a restaurant, your HVAC needs are very different from an office-based business, so be sure to talk to references who can address your specific questions.
Arista’s answer: Arista serves over 3,000 businesses/properties in the NYC metro area, so it’s easy for us to provide a relevant reference who can share the details you want to know.
Want even more questions to ask? Top 10 Questions Facility Managers Should Ask NYC HVAC Contractors