5 Things to Look For When Hiring A Heating and Cooling Contractor

5 Things to Look For When Hiring A

Heating and Cooling Contractor

Eever wonder why the most inexperienced, costly contractors end up in your home?  Actually it could have less to do with you than it does with the kind of information you’re gathering before you contact a heating and cooling company in for work. 

Let’s be clear: You usually take the time to call a heating and cooling contractor because you are either:  a) very hot or b) very cold.  So an untimely breakdown (are they ever timely?) has forced your search for someone who can make the repair.

From this point, the service you receive can either soothe – or increase – your feelings of panic and irritation. There are several factors that contribute to both.

Here are the top things to look for before opening your home—and your wallet:

  1.  Credentials – If a contractor begins to stutter or make up excuses when you ask for an HVAC license, it’s probably a safe bet that you should take your business elsewhere.  Oddly, many customers don’t ask but wish they had.
    1. HAVC contractors are required to be licensed and insured. In fact, all heating and cooling contractors should be able to readily (and eagerly) provide licensing and insurance information, plus references from recent customers. 
    2. Be sure to check the references and inquire about timeliness, job performance, and overall satisfaction of results. The best question you can usually ask is, “Would you hire them again.
  2. Technical Skill –Even though fairly common, you do not want your home to be the training ground of an inexperienced technician.  By the time you see your contractor scratching his head or tossing “spare” parts back in his tool kit, it may be too late to ask about prior training.
    1. Granted, not every company meets the stringent hiring and training advised by NATE. Heating and cooling work is serious business, and not suited for “guesswork”. Skilled training is the only path to proficiency.
    2. Plus, don’t necessarily assume that   “30 years of experience” is a fair method of judgment; it could very well mean one year of mistakes repeated for 30 years.
    3. You’ll learn more about a company asking specific questions about training policies and experience requirements for hiring. Our experts are willing to share this with you to help you make the best choice for your home or business.
  3. Up-Front Pricing – Couple of points here. First and most common are the contractors who just say, “We’ll let you know how much it is and how long it’ll take once we take everything apart.” That’s dangerous, since you could be stuck with parts scattered everywhere or just a “guess” on the completion.
    1. Our experts arrive, ask questions, diagnose and then give you a price and schedule for the work’s completion. Then you decide to go forward or not.
    2. Legitimate heating and cooling contractors—and there are many—should give a price for services before work begins, and ask for deposit when work begins and final payment when work has been finished. We call this up-front pricing, and it’s the fairest, most convenient method.
  4. Scheduling– Think about it.  You’re hot or cold.  And your HVAC contractor has just said he’d be glad to come out and take a look at your system a week from Tuesday.  The fact is, if he can’t provide satisfactory relief, maybe you should keep looking. Sure, the more popular contractors will have scheduling issues in the middle of a busy season – us included – but the scheduling should be explained with the assurance that the contractor will get there as soon as he can.
    1. Many HVAC experts offer Maintenance Agreement programs that allow for Priority Scheduling – even in busiest times – which is one of many benefits. Regardless, when you schedule for a repair, ask for a specific time, and expect your contractor to keep it, with reasonable updates during any delays.
  5. Warranties – Most companies “say” they warrant their work but sadly, the words often get conveniently forgotten if a problem arises. And that’s the only time you’ll know… or care. Without a warranty, you may have another system breakdown and be expected to pay the same price to have it fixed again. That’s crazy.

Plus, on a replacement system, you’re investing in a long-term solution. That’s why Nordyne not only manufactures state-of-the-art reliability into new systems, but gives you real peace of mind with some of the longest warranties in the entire industry. 

So if your contractor answers your questions with “Oh, trust me it’ll be fine.  What do you need a guarantee for?”, then you should make other arrangements. Our experts come with the assurance of pre-screening for prompt, efficient assistance to you. Your satisfaction, future business and referrals are too important to us to risk otherwise!

Remember, you are calling a contractor because you have a problem.  His job is to solve those problems – not add to them.  Understanding the above list can save you time, money, and quite possibly a few gray hairs.

Want more solutions to these and other heating and cooling challenges and get more than you pay for? Contact Quinn’s PHC at (610) 376-6001 for more information.

Author: john

John Quinn is the Operations Manager of Quinn’s Plumbing Heating Cooling LLC of Reading PA. He has over 30 years experience in the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, water treatment and electrical fields, in particular with residential mechanical systems for small businesses and individual home owners. The reason Quinn decided to concentrate on his own business was because he loves what he does and it allows him to meet people and he enjoys a challenge, it’s a great chance to mix business with pleasure. Quinn earned his engineering degrees from The Pennsylvania State University in mechanical engineering through the VA higher education program. He is a 5 year combat veteran of the US Marine Corps and also a graduate of the Murrell T. Dobbins Technical High School Plumbing and Heating Apprentice Program in Philadelphia and is also certified a Master Plumber, Master HVAC Mechanic and Electrician. He lives in Reading with his wife Mary Quinn who is also his business partner. They have 2 adult daughters and 3 grandchildren. When he is not working, Quinn likes to scuba dive or work on his model train collection. John Quinn can be reached at www.quinnsphc.com , john@quinnsphc.com or by calling (610) 376-6001 or (215) 242-6329.