How to Choose a Qualified Contractor

How to Choose a Qualified Contractor


Your home is a big investment. You want everything to run smoothly and efficiently, and if it doesn’t, you need someone you can trust to keep everything in working order. Who you choose for a contractor is very important—you need to be able to trust the company that they will give you quality work at fair prices. While the price of some professional contractors might be scary, it’s important to know that you’re paying for more than just contractor, but you’re paying for the reliability that comes with licensing, accreditation, insurance, and experience.

First consider what you need for your home and do your research to find the contractors that best suit your needs—you wouldn’t want a plumber when your issue is your heat pump. Then check their accreditations. Is the company, and their technicians, a member of the Northern American Technician Excellence program, Air Conditioning Contractors of America, Indoor Air Quality Association, Better Business Bureau, etc.? (You can check all of Lindstrom’s reference and affiliations.)

Another great way to find a reliable contractor is to talk with friends and co-workers. Ask them who they use and who they recommend. Personal experiences may vary, but if you trust your friends you can trust their recommendations. (Plus sometimes you can see their work first hand at a friend’s home.)

Things to know about hiring a contractor:

  • Licensing and insurance: Did you know that all HVAC technicians must be licensed by your state? Not only that, but they must be either bonded or carry proper insurance.
  • Certification: HVAC technicians should hold proper certification in equipment installation, maintenance and repair.
  • Knowledge and experience: You want to make sure your HVAC technician is knowledgeable in the equipment and tools he/she uses to repair your system. Hiring an HVAC technician with demonstrated ability and experience means you’ll benefit from the knowledge a contractor has gained from experience.
  • Security and respect: A technician is entering your home, so you should expect he/she to be respectful of your property as well as time.

Once you’ve whittled down the options for a contractor to a handful, it’s time to contact them. You’ll want to explain your issue as thoroughly as possible and see if they can send someone over for an estimate. You always want to get more than one estimate to compare services and fees. Be aware of a company that will offer you an estimate over the phone instead of in person—they’ll need to see what you need in person in order to give you a reliable estimate that doesn’t include any surprises at the end.

Other estimate tips:

  • Get references from two or three past costumers from the contractor, then contact those individuals to discuss their experience with the contractor.
  • A good estimator will do a survey of your whole home to base his/her proposal on what they call a heat-load or cooling-load calculation.
  • A written estimate/proposal will outline the equipment being installed, work to be done, and the price (including all labor costs)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask about discounts, incentives or other cost-saving measures. Tax credits for the purchase of certain equipment might be available for your savings.
  • Make sure you are given a written contract that details what exactly what the technician will do, what equipment will be installed, what materials will be used and other details. The contract should also state what the technician will expect from you in return, such as payment terms and homeowner responsibilities. Make sure you understand all of the terms of the contract before signing—if you don’t understand something ask.

Take your time doing your research to find the best contractor for your home’s needs. Contact Lindstrom Air Conditioning and Plumbing today to discuss how we can help make your home more comfortable.

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