Homeowners know that finding reliable and trustworthy technicians presents challenges. How do you find an experienced plumber or HVAC tech? Can I trust them in my home? Will they fix my problems? The questions are endless.
However, the answers are simple.
Over the years, there are proven ways to find trusted help. Many of the methods work for identifying qualified companies for a variety of home services, such as plumbing, electrical and HVAC. Additionally, these time tested methods work for things like lawn care and babysitting. Although, we recommend using a different company for those services!
1. Ask Your Friends, Family, Neighbors & Co-Workers
First and foremost, ask your friends, family and neighbors. Word of mouth works because we trust the opinions of our personal network. In particular, for homeowners new to the area, asking your personal network is the first step to finding a trustworthy HVAC tech. If you are new to the area, then start with neighbors or co-workers that have lived in the community. For new homeowners, then friends and family have accumulated contacts over the years.
There are other steps to take, but this helps start or narrow your list of possible candidates.
2. Look for Reviews
Next, look for reviews!
Reviews provide a few clues about potential HVAC companies. First, many people share negative reviews. For example, how many times do you tell stories about a negative customer service experience? Conversely, how often do you share really great experiences with other companies?
Online reviews show positive and negative reviews. If an HVAC company shows numerous reviews, plus, many positive reviews, that provides some insight into their work ethic and customer service. Additionally, most companies likely have a few negative reviews. We are all human and make mistakes from time to time. But, how we respond to negative feedback shows our character! Does a company take accountability for their actions? If so, that highlights their dedication to the customer experience.
3. Conduct Your Own Due Diligence
Homeowners must conduct their own research. Certain things simply don’t come up while reading reviews or asking your co-worker. For example, the Better Business Bureau offers a few questions to ask a potential HVAC tech.
- How long have they been in business in your area?
- Which manufacturers do they do installs for? (They should work with at least two different companies.)
- Request verification of trade licenses and insurance (Make sure the contractor carries general liability insurance and workers’ compensation. If the contractor is not insured, the homeowner may be liable for accidents that occur on the property.)
- Request verification that they are properly registered with the state and local authorities.
Additionally, ask for references and ensure previous customers will respond and answer your questions! Energy Star recommends actually calling the references as well:
“Ask contractors for customer references and call them. Ask about the contractor’s installation or service performance, and if the job was completed on time and within budget.”
Finally, look for two particular certifications and accreditations. The North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certification is a standard requirement. Also, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) is the leading industry trade organization. Any HVAC company should belong to ACCA and rely on NATE certified HVAC techs.
4. Service History Counts
Experienced HVAC techs provide a skill set only available with on the job training. During your due diligence, look for their company history on their web site or be sure to ask about it during your reference call. For example, trust builds over time, so a company with multiple decades in business demonstrates a high quality of service. House Logic offers some additional context and wisdom:
“A contractor who’s been plying his trade locally for five or 10 years has an established network of subcontractors and suppliers in the area and a local reputation to uphold. That makes them a safer bet than a contractor who’s either new to the business or planning to commute to your job from 50 miles away.”
Plus, look at their location and business card, ensuring a local address, not a PO Box. Why?
Homeowners and quality technicians aim to build a relationship over time. Homeowners reduce the risk of a fly-by-night company if they have an actual address. Also, you want quick and reliable service if an emergency occurs!
“If your heater quits working during a deep freeze or your air conditioner goes on the blink just when the temperature rises about 100 degrees F, it’s a comfort – and safety – emergency. That’s true even if it’s Christmas Day or the 4th of July. You want a contractor who is available 24/7 every day of the year. Hopefully, you’ll never need to make that weekend or holiday call, but we all know Murphy’s Law so make sure when you need them, your air conditioning and heating contractor will answer your call for help.”
In particular, the sudden and severe thunderstorms in the Capital District presents possible heating and air conditioning issues. Ensure your HVAC team will be there when you need them!
5. Flexibility and Financing Options
The home HVAC system provides heating and cooling throughout the year. In the Capital District, cold winters and hot summers puts a lot of demand on the system. Plus, as the heart of your home comfort, HVAC systems are quite expensive. As a result, HVAC techs and companies know that homeowners may need some financing and payment flexibility.
Although homeowners must understand the demands of running any business, trusted HVAC companies work with homeowners. After all, both parties aim to build a long term relationship. Therefore, if an HVAC tech makes outlandish demands, such as full payment in advance of the work, view that as a warning sign.
“Be careful with any contractor who pushes for part of all of the payment in advance, or with any contractor who needs payment in advance to purchase equipment for the job. This is especially true if it was the contractor who initiated the contact. Smart people pay at stages of work, or when the job is complete. Some specialized, one-of-a-kind custom work requires a good faith deposit, but you should exercise good judgment when doing so.”
Also, ask about financing, rebates or incentives. For example, many utilities work with HVAC companies and offer rebates or incentives. In the Capital District, A.Johnson participates in the EmPower New York program and works with homeowners that rely on rebates to improve their home comfort.
6. Customer Service Matters
Regardless of industry, customer service makes a difference. Quite frankly, ACCA shares why quality HVAC techs stand out from the pack.
“Truly professional contractors care about your home’s indoor environment system, because they care about your business… and they want your referrals. True professionals offer employee training, provide state of the art equipment, ask you questions about your lifestyle needs, and provide options for service, so you can make the right decision.”
In general, during your due diligence discussions, think about how the company makes you feel. Ultimately, you’d like to rely on a HVAC tech for years. Do they treat you with respect? If not, that offers some insight into how they treat their customers!
For example, at A.Johnson we take pride in our service. In fact, we guarantee it!
We offer complete customer and performance satisfaction through our 100% money back guarantee.
7. Find a Full Service Company
An understated quality, but no less important is the depth and breadth of knowledge. For example, Danny Lipford, a home improvement pro from This Old House, shares why a full service company makes a difference.
“When hunting for a company to maintain your system, look for one that designs, installs and services the type of system you have. Full-service companies tend to be up to date on the latest advances in the field.”
Plus, a full service company that offers comprehensive HVAC services, along with other trades, provides peace of mind. Although these time tested methods work, they take time. As with everything in life, it takes time to do things right. Therefore, if you find a company that offers HVAC, along with plumbing and electrical services, then you know they provide reliable work in all fields.
A.Johnson works with homeowners in the Capital District area to fix any and all plumbing, heating and cooling issues in your home. From routine maintenance to emergency service, contact us today to improve your home comfort needs!