The world of air conditioning is much more complex than it seems. To perform any task in an air conditioning system, you need someone who has a lot of knowledge and experience. Even better if they are certified.
An air conditioning system has so many moving parts that it can confuse an inexperienced person trying to repair it. The system also contains toxic gasses and hence should be handled with care.
Unfortunately, today, a massive group of people claims to be air conditioning experts, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) contractors, or technicians. Still, they lack the basic knowledge putting everyone’s lives and your air-conditioning system at risk.
Now, if you are a residential property owner or in charge of a space, then one of your core responsibility is to keep the air conditioning system in perfect shape. You also have the added responsibility of finding the right HVAC contractor to handle the air conditioning system with care.
This post will help you find the best air conditioning repair contractor for your air conditioning system.
Step 1: Do the research
Always start with referrals. Word of mouth is not only a powerful marketing tool for a business but also helps find trustworthy partners (in this case, a contractor). Enquire the people who live around you or someone who you think owns an HVAC system.
‘Googling’ never gets old. Open your laptop or mobile and search one of the following keywords in Google -
- “Local HVAC contractors”
- “HVAC contractors near me”
- “Residential HVAC contractors near me”
- “Commercial HVAC contractors”
- “Best HVAC contractors”
- “HVAC contractor near me”
- “HVAC contractors in my area”
This search will throw you a list of all HVAC contractors in your locality.
Another method is to look out in online directories and marketplaces. There are various technician marketplaces that list various contractors and technicians—for example, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, Angie's list, etc.
If you don't want anything to do with digital, then walk into your nearest hardware store and ask them about air conditioning contractors. You can also go to the air condition parts aisle in a superstore and ask shoppers there.
Step 2: Shortlist the candidates
Now that you have a list of air conditioning technicians and contractors in your locality, it's time to shortlist a handful of candidates from the list. You can follow these substeps to shortlist -
- Visit the company's website. A simple ‘googling’ or a business card can help you with the company website URL. Now explore the website and accumulate as much data as possible about the company. Make sure to take a look at the services and expertise they have listed. This will help you identify whether they are an ideal fit for your needs. Also, try to note down the awards, industry association memberships, customer testimonials, and news mentions.
- The next place to explore is the company's social media handle. Who doesn’t have a social media account today? A relatively new contractor or a company might not build a website, but they will surely have a presence on social media. 9 out of 10 times, you can get these social links from a simple search. If they have a website, you can get the link directly from it. Understand their target audience and day-to-day activities from it.
- Have a look at the contractor's google my business page. This will help you find some genuine reviews that can be quite enlightening. You can also look into the reviews from Yelp or Angie's list.
Step 3: Talk to the contractors over the phone
Once you have done all the basic testing and shortlisting, you can further shorten this list to two-three candidates. Now the real test begins. You need to call these contractors and make a conversation that will help you better understand and gauge their skills.
Remember, the call is all about finding the authenticity of the contractor and making sure that they are skilled. So it makes total sense to ask these questions during the call -
- Is your company insured?
- Is your company taking all precautions for the COVID-19 situation? If yes, what are those?
- Are background checks being done on all the company employees?
- Are the technicians who work are tested for drugs?
- Does your business have any recognition or ratings by reputed professional societies?
- How long is the company in the business?
- Are all the technicians licensed? Is the business also licensed?
- Can you bring in all these certificates and license proof during the time of visit?
- How often does the company run criminal checks on all its technicians?
You can also ask questions about the technology they are using. For instance, you can ask questions like -
- What HVAC software are they using?
- Do they have HVAC dispatch software and HVAC service software?
Step 4: Get the HVAC contractor to visit you
Now that you have spoken to them over the phone, you would have got a fair idea about how reputable and safe they are. It’s time to prove their skills. It’s time you ask them to visit your location where air conditioning repair is to be done. This is also the stage where you ask the contractor for the estimate. Be very observant during the entire visit and identify if there is anywhere things can go wrong.
For instance, you can start by looking at their vehicle. Make sure it is a company vehicle, with the truck having clear identifications. Next, the technicians should have their IDs on them and wear a company uniform. If the technicians have brought a brochure and certificates for your reference, ask them to explain it to you.
All these tests can sound overwhelming at first, but you are trusting these people to enter your premises. So it is your responsibility to make sure that everything is in order and there can be mishaps later on.
Step 5: Look out for the scope of work, guarantees, and warranties
Before you finalize the contractor, understand their scope of work, guarantee, and warranty terms. Ask them what guarantees you get. There is a possibility that the technician can make some mistakes during the repair process, or the equipment could be damaged during the repair. You will be helpless later if they say they cannot repair it for free, even if the mistake is theirs.
Make sure you get a 100% money-back guarantee for issues that are related to the manufacturer or that are the technician’s responsibility. Also, the company must protect your property. If any damage is caused to the property, you should be 100% compensated by the company for parts and repair.
When the contractor comes for the estimate, here are a few things you can enquire about -
- How many years of manufacturing warranty do we get?
- Is there any restriction on the warranty work?
- Who takes the responsibility of getting the necessary permits for the job?
- Will you show me that the system is right for my load calculation?
- What is the time period for labor and material warranties?
- Will you also check the ductwork?
- Do I get the warranties in writing?
- What money-back guarantees do you offer?
- Do you perform manual J load calculations? Will I be able to see it?
Tips: How to identify a bad air conditioning contractor?
Here are some last-minute tips for you to identify and stay from the really bad air conditioning contractors -
- No reputable air conditioning contractor asks for an upfront cost. You must make payment only after the completion of work or during the stages of work. This is your first cue to stay away from such people.
- Make sure the company has all the required parts and inventory on-site. Failing to have them can result in the delay of work.
- Make sure that the HVAC contractor owns all the equipment that is being installed. If not, they could have unpaid dues with the supplier, and the supplier can come after you.
- The contract must be easy to read and understand. If the company's contract is filled with hundreds of pages and the text size is also very small, do not sign the contract. There is a good possibility that the contract will have loopholes.
A faulty air conditioning system can make anyone sweat both figuratively and literally. You will feel the rush to find someone pretty quickly. But hiring a contractor deserves a lot more time than you imagine. Hiring the wrong contractor can mess up all the things for your system, and it might end up in a worse state.
So do try to follow the above-mentioned steps to hire the best air conditioning contractor for your property. In addition, you can also take time to understand the basic components of the air conditioning system. This will make you feel more confident while talking to the contractor.