How to Find the Best Heating and Cooling Contractors Near Me
We can’t stress enough how important it is to find a heating and cooling contractor that you can trust. The last thing you want is your HVAC system to stop working in the hot summer months. Watts Heating & Cooling provides expert installation and quality maintenance performed by a skilled team of trained professionals. We offer 24-hour emergency service and are fully prepared to handle any situation that arises. But don’t just take our word for it. We invite you to do your research. Here’s how to find the best heating and cooling contractors in your area.
Check for Proper Licensing
The first thing you want to do is to make sure you hire a qualified technician who is properly licensed. Any contractor that doesn’t meet state licensing requirements is a contractor you should avoid hiring. Typically, a heating and cooling contractor will need to complete an HVAC certification training program and obtain a state license.
There are two types of licenses for HVAC contractors in the state of Oregon—the limited maintenance specialty contractor license and the commercial and residential contractor license. Both are issued by the Oregon Construction Contractors Board. As the site states, “Anyone can pretend to be a contractor. Check licenses.” We really couldn’t have said it any better.
Not only does the site allow you to check for valid licenses, but it also allows you to check a contractor’s complaint, disciplinary, and suspension history as well. You can also see when a contractor was first licensed, which will likely tell you how long the company has been in business.
The best way to conduct a search is by putting in the CCB license number for the contractor, which must be displayed on all brochures, websites, and business cards. Alternatively, you can also search by company name. If nothing comes up, however, you shouldn’t assume the contractor is unlicensed. There could be an error in the spelling of the company name, for instance. In this case, you should call the board directly to see what you can find out.
If you have the company name or license number, simply type it into the search box on the contractor’s license search page. You want to make sure any contractor you consider using has a valid license, a clean history with no prior complaints, unpaid debts, or administrative suspensions, just like Watts Heating & Cooling.
Read Online Reviews
Checking for valid licenses is a good place to start, but you shouldn’t stop there. You should also find out what other customers have to say about the company you’re looking to hire. There are a number of online sites and forums where you can read client reviews.
You can start by checking a company’s Facebook page. Professional Facebook pages allow customers to leave reviews and ratings. Google and Yelp are other popular sites for posting online reviews. While it’s not uncommon for a company to have one or two lukewarm reviews, you should be wary of any contractor that has a long list of dissatisfied customers.
Ask for Referrals
Word of mouth is another excellent way to find the best heating and cooling contractors. You can certainly ask the contractor for a list of references directly. But be wary of anyone the contractor tells you to call. The person on the other end of the line could be a family member or friend instead of a past client.
One of the best ways to find an HVAC contractor is to ask the people you already know and trust. Has a friend, family member, or co-worker recently had an HVAC system repaired or installed? If you’re new to the area, ask your neighbors who services the area and if there’s anyone they would recommend.
Referrals are oftentimes a good jumping-off point for finding prospective contractors. You can then narrow the list down based on other criteria, such as which one best fits your budget, has the most experience, and is located nearest to you.
Research Consumer Complaints
Beyond reviews, you should also check for official consumer complaints. This goes beyond a single dissatisfied customer. This will alert you to any questionable or even fraudulent behavior on the part of the contractor.
For instance, the state of Oregon keeps a list of “Buyer Beware” contractors on its government site. These individuals often operate without a license, and even when they appear to be licensed, many of them are scammers who are bilking thousands from their clients.
That’s why it’s so important to do your research and make sure the contractors you’re considering are who they say they are. Some of the people on the list operate independently and some are associated with companies, so give it a scan to know which contractors to avoid. The list isn’t limited strictly to HVAC contractors, so it’s a good idea to look it over before hiring any type of contractor to perform work on your home.
Most states, including Oregon, also have an Office of the Attorney General that tracks consumer complaints. The Consumer Complaints Database is another good resource for you to use. You can search by company or contractor name to view complaint history. While this may not necessarily help you find the best heating and cooling contractors in your area, it can certainly alert you to the ones that you should avoid.
Maintaining your HVAC system can save you a lot of money in the long run. That’s why it’s important you find a contractor that you can work with both for your immediate needs as well as in the long-term. Following these steps will help you have confidence in the company you hire for the job. So keep your cool, because you’re well on your way to finding trustworthy and reliable heating and cooling contractor near you.