The Right Contractor
17 Point Checklist for Choosing the Right Contractor
- Check credentials: Before making your choice, call your local Better Business Bureau and affiliated state and community agencies for a company history of complaints and resolutions to make sure the dealer is reputable.
- Ask for references: Current customers are an excellent source of information and are often willing to share their experience.
- Check local licenses: Ask to see any applicable state and local licenses, bonding, and insurance coverage.
- Get a detailed written proposal: Beware of a dealer that does not back-up their offer in a detailed written proposal. A detailed written proposal is one sign of a quality contractor.
- Heat loss-heat gain calculation: Expect a thorough calculation performed with an on-site evaluation. A good contractor should measure your home, check insulation factors and evaluate your overall comfort needs.
- Equipment/labor warranties and guarantees: Warranties and guarantees vary according to manufacturer and dealer, don’t be afraid to ask questions and demand that they are included in the written estimate.
- Follow contract law: Demand that your contractor follows contract law. A new comfort system is a big decision and with big decisions comes responsibility. According to California law, all home improvement contracts include a 3-day right to cancel.
- Ask your contractor about the maintenance requirements of your new system: What can you do yourself and/or does the contractor offer maintenance services. A maintenance agreement is one of the best ways to ensure your system’s performance, reliability and safety.
- Know and understand the contract: Beware of ambiguous contracts and again, ask lots of questions. It is very important to understand all aspects of the agreement with your contractor before any work begins.
- Get more than one estimate or reference: If you are uncomfortable making your decision for any reason, get two or three estimates or references and compare. More information is better than less; however, compare more than just price when evaluating estimates. Look for the best value!
- How long has the company been in business? Proven experience is best. You want to invest with a company that will be around tomorrow should you need further assistance with your home’s new system; everything from warranty repairs to coming back for a tune-up to get your comfort just right.
- Industry certified technicians: It is important to ask how many industry-certified technicians are employed. Do they have enough to serve you in an after-hours situation?
- Employee licensing: Are the sales reps listed on the contractor’s license and approved for in home sales as required by state law?
- Know your deposit amount: Is the contractor not complying by state law asking for a deposit for more than 10% of the proposal amount or more than $1,000.00 for proposal exceeding $10,000.00?
- Trust Certified Employees: Does the company Trust Certify its employees with extensive background checks and drug testing?
- Know your EPA guidelines: Does the company follow EPA guidelines for reclaiming refrigerants, and are they certified to do so?
- Make sure they have an office: Have you seen a picture of the company’s place of business?