When you need an air conditioning and heating company, you usually need it right away, a situation that some HVAC companies take advantage of, making replacements instead of repairs, charging high rates, and even taking your money without completing the job. Being the victim of a disreputable HVAC service can be emotionally and financially painful. That’s why it’s important to know the traits of a reputable one. Below, we list five traits of a reputable air conditioning repair service.
1. Good record at the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
A company’s record at the BBB can show how it regards its customers. A company that places its customers first will not have unresolved customer complaints on its record. While some of its customers will inevitably make irate complaints, a good HVAC service resolves them if only to protect its image. While a company that has unresolved complaints isn’t necessarily disreputable, it should cause you to ask: what if the next unresolved complaint is yours?
2. Bonded and Insured
A company that’s bonded and insured protects you against (a) financial loss in the event of breach of contract, and (b) damage to your property or person relating to repairs or replacements, whether during the repair or replacement process, or as a result of improper repairs or replacements. Before hiring an HVAC service to make even the smallest repair or replacement, ask for proof of its bonding and insurance.
3. Willing to Give Extended References
Every HVAC company gives references, but whether they reflect its true service quality is the question. Just as you wouldn’t list lukewarm references on a job application, neither will a heating and AC company list them on tentative proposal. Therefore, it’s best to ask for 8-12 more references than a company initially provides. If it doesn’t wish to provide them, the reason why should be obvious: they wouldn’t support the glowing report provided by its initial references.
4. Accepting payment upon completion of work
There are two types of heating and AC companies that ask for some or all of a project’s cost upfront: those that don’t have much capital to work with, and those that plan on taking your money and running. Often, outfits that ask for money upfront need it to complete another project, which creates the additional problem of backlogging your project. If an outfit wants installment payments for work completed—as many do for large projects—this is acceptable. But don’t pay anything for work that hasn’t been performed, or supplies that haven’t been purchased.
5. NATE Certified Technicians
NATE certification guarantees a heating and cooling technician is properly educated in (a) all aspects of his or her technical area, and (b) aware of the latest technologies and practices in his or her technical area. There are thousands of HVAC workers that learned heating and cooling practices through an unofficial apprenticeship, and aren’t aware of best industry practices. Hiring a NATE certified technician ensures you don’t hire a “professional” who actually performs amateur work.