Established Heating and Air Conditioning Contractors should have a brick-and-mortar office and employ knowledgeable administrative staff. They should also carry General Liability Insurance and be registered with the Workers Compensation Board in Manitoba. As well, Technicians need to be up to date with relevant certification and training. The company probably also maintains a fleet of stocked vehicles and a substantial amount of service parts inventory. All these overhead costs have to be built into the labor rates that get passed on to clients, which is why reputable contractors will appear to be more expensive than the guy who operates out of his van. That relatively small premium, however, could mean the difference between getting service when you suddenly have no heating, cooling or hot water or spending the night or weekend away from what was once your comfortable home because the cheaper guy won’t answer his phone!
A legitimate HVAC contractor will spend time reviewing the details of your proposed repair or upgrade with you and will then quote you a firm price to complete the work. A comfort advisor worth his (or her) salt will not give you a price over the phone but will meet with you. This is not only to review the site conditions but also to see how serious you are about doing the work. More often than not, the problem at hand can have more than one solution and a second opinion might offer significant savings, or at least a better long term solution.
What if something unexpected goes wrong?
Communication is paramount for any relationship, and it applies just as much between contractors and their clients. No person or contractor will ever be perfect! If a contractor cannot deliver on something to the homeowner when they expect it, they should know exactly why and how they are going to make it right. Homeowners have to understand as well; the relationship is a two-way street. They should understand that there are just some things a contractor cannot control. But the bottom line is you don’t leave people waiting and guessing what’s going to happen; you do not put people in dangerous living conditions; and you do not leave them without a reasonable response to get things done.
From a contractor’s standpoint, it’s that you’re only as good as your last job.
Always check with your local Better Business Bureau to see whether any complaints have been lodged with the Heating and Cooling Contractor you are considering. Get a clearance certificate from Workers Compensation – ensure the company is listed as “active” and “in good standing” and that they are up-to-date with their premiums. All members of HRAI represent the “best of the best” in the industry. Click here http://www.hrai.ca/consumer-tips for more consumer Tips.