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Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors: 5 Things to Ask Before You Hire

By YasmeenP Subscribe to RSS | May 28th 2012 | Views:

If you’re looking for a heating and air conditioning contractor, you may feel a little overwhelmed. Where do you start? And how do you know if one particular contractor is more or less qualified than another contractor? Following are five things you should ask an HVAC contractor before hiring him or her.

1. Could your bid be itemized?

You may think that this question is fairly obvious, but the truth is that many contractors prefer to provide you with a single, bottom-line price for the work you need done—and this can lead to your contractor taking advantage of you. For example, what if your original plan called for the contractor to install a particular item, and this part of your project was later eliminated? How would you know how much you should be credited for eliminating this portion of the project? Always be sure to get an itemized bid so that you know exactly what you’re being charged—and for what.

2. How long have you been working in this town or city?

This question may not at first seem like an obvious one to ask, but it’s important to know. A contractor who has been working in town for five or more years most likely has an established network of suppliers and subcontractors that he or she can turn to in the area. On the other hand, if a contractor will be commuting from fifty miles away or is new to the area, it may be difficult for him or her to get what he or she needs in order to complete the job.

3. Is your bid a fixed price, or is it an estimate?

Most of the time, homeowners assume that a bid is a fixed price of the work that they need or want to be completed. However, some HVAC contractors treat their bids as estimates, meaning that the homeowner’s final bill could end up being significantly higher once the project is completed. If your contractor says that he or she can’t give you a fixed price because of “unknown” elements, then eliminate those “unknowns” and get a fixed price bid.

4. Do you have any references or testimonials?

This is one of the best ways to determine the quality of a potential contractor’s work. Get in touch with his or her previous customers and find out what they thought about the work they had done, and whether they thought they were treated well and given a fair price. If your contractor can’t at least provide you with customer testimonials or a couple of references for you to contact, then move on to the next contractor on your list.

5. Who are your primary suppliers?

This is kind of an “extra” question that you can ask a potential contractor just to ensure that you’ve made the right decision. Your contractor’s suppliers know about his or her professional reputation, whether he or she is reliable about paying his or her bills, and whether he or she is someone that you will, ultimately, want to hire. Get in touch with your potential HVAC contractor’s suppliers and dig deep to find out if he or she is the right choice for you.

These are just five questions that you should always ask an HVAC contractor before taking the plunge and hiring him or her. What other questions would you add to this list?

Katrina Robinson is a freelance writer who focuses on a wide variety of topics such as Cincinnati heating and air conditioning contractors, home renovation, and more.

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