Contractor may need licenses, depending on your state or local requirements. Be sure to ask any hvac contractor about their training, experience, and member associations.
EPA certifications are required to handle refrigerant in cooling systems. This means that ownership of refrigerant recovery equipment is a must. Ask your contractor to verify his certificate.
Call the state and the Better Business Bureau to find out if there have been any complaints against them. Check the contractor’s record, their performance, and get a list of their past projects to look at their work. Ask for a list of references and call them about the contractor’s performance. Ask specific questions: What work was done? Did they start and finish the project as promised? Did they arrive on time and clean the job site daily? Was their work continuous throughout the project or sporadic?
Ask for verification of a Certificate of Insurance then call the insurance company to confirm the certificate is valid. Understand that it’s your responsibility for workers on your property Know that the contractor is insured.
A written contract or proposal is a must! Always obtain one before allowing any hvac contractor in to install anything. Ask about warranties and financing. Remember, the lowest bid may not be your best choice. A slightly higher bid may get you more in the long run with better equipment and service. Ensure the equipment and service best meets your needs by carefully evaluating the contractor’s proposal.
By now your list of potential contractors should contain only qualified reliable contractors. Now it’s time to compare prices. Again look for the best value, not the lowest price. Have the potential contractors look at the job and give them a firm, but reasonable deadline for submitting the bid to you. You should discuss any optional items, such as a programmable thermostat or high efficiency filters at this time. Once all the bids are in, look at them all together. They should all be in a similar price range.
Review the bids carefully, not just the bottom line. Look over them very carefully. Any bid that seems way out of line may not very well be. A bid which is much higher than the rest could mean that this particular hvac contractor picked up on something that the others missed. Possibly something necessary to bring the project up to code. Now, look at any that are much lower than the rest. Be particularly cautious of these. Why does this one cost less? Are they using inferior materials or just lower prices? Don’t be afraid to call the contractor and ask any questions that you have about his bid.
Keep in mind that selecting the best bid is all about tradeoffs. You will want to select the bid that is the best tradeoff between price and quality of work.