How to Vet HVAC Contractors
Working in the HVAC field requires many skills, including ongoing technical training to keep capabilities to complete jobs successfully fully intact. When hiring an HVAC contractor, many project owners will look to these training details first, but that isn’t where vetting stops. Because the HVAC system is a crucial component of most construction jobs, new and old, it is necessary to ensure the contractor selected is up to snuff so the job is completed without issue. Vetting an HVAC contractor requires evaluating previous work, doing some detective work online, and checking contractor bonding status before a job begins. Here’s what to look for.
Review Previous Work
One of the most effective methods of vetting an HVAC contractor is taking the time to find out about previous projects that have been completed. This information may not be readily available without asking the potential contractor for the details, but good contractors will have a list of previous work ready to provide, without argument. Asking for past work details gives an idea of what types of projects a contractor has completed in the past, and the success of those projects. A good gauge of the quality of work may lie in annual energy bills from previous jobs, since most seasoned HVAC contractors have the tools to test heat load and cooling calculations quickly and accurately.
Check for Online Reviews
Vetting an HVAC contractor also requires taking the additional step of searching for their business or name online. With the advancement of the Internet, we are all more connected than ever before, and that includes the ability to share experiences about work completed. Past customers of a potential HVAC contractor can easily submit a review to one or multiple online review sites, including Yelp. There may also be reviews listed on social media sites like Facebook and Google+. Take online reviews with a grain of salt, though, as customers are far more likely to post a negative review when something goes wrong than they are to post a positive one when the job goes off without a hitch.
Also, testimonials may be listed on a contractor’s business website, or there may be information about previous work on the Better Business Bureau’s site. Regardless of where the review information comes from, any questions about a particular review can be addressed directly with the HVAC contractor before the job begins.
Understanding Bonding Requirements
HVAC contractors may also be vetted by reviewing their bonding requirements and status. All licensed HVAC contractors need to have a contractor’s license bond in place for new jobs, which protects the job owner should the work not be completed per the job requirements. Having the right surety bond in place helps HVAC contractors get new jobs, but it also shows that they have a strong track record of completing quality work. Surety companies look closely at a contractor’s ability to pay back any claim against a bond based on personal and business financial history. This can be a good indicator of how upstanding the contractor is when considering him for a new project.
Overall, vetting an HVAC contractor does not take a lot of time or effort, but it is necessary to ensure the work requested will be done properly and in line with all job requirements.
Eric Weisbrot is the Chief Marketing Officer of JW Surety Bonds. With years of experience in the surety industry under several different roles within the company, he is also a contributing author to the surety bond blog.