Question: How Can I Select a Good Air Conditioning Company?
Answer: Selecting a good air conditioning company requires some research. This is one reason why people should plan on replacing their air conditioner before it breaks down. The best companies are often very busy when air conditioners fail, since air conditioners are like lemmings; they tend to die together during extreme weather.
Referrals from friends and neighbors is always a good place to begin. While review sites can be helpful, be careful of unscrupulous companies who stack reviews from their employees. Angie’s list is probably a better source than the Better Business Bureau, since those of us in the industry know of some very bad companies with strong BBB ratings. Reviews on the internet can be helpful but again use some common sense.
Any company worth doing business with will provide you a free in home estimate. This may be the best way to get to know the company. But you need to know what to ask! Don’t be fooled by appearances. Good air conditioning is about doing all the right things that don’t get noticed.
Length the company has been in business and their involvement, if any, in the community is also important. Do they sponsor local events and do some of their employees, particularly management participate in civic organizations. Companies that have a local presence generally do not cheat the public.
Make sure the company you are about to deal with has a real place of business that is open to visit during normal working hours. Your better companies will belong to trade associations like ACCA. Your better companies should have a long list of referrals and job sites. Service techs should have good uniforms and well stocked parts vans, not pickup trucks. How do you stock a pick-up truck.
Never do business with anyone who contacted you by phone that you have never done business with before. Run away from anyone who tries to sell you a UV light for $1300. Check local permit lists to make sure their name appears as someone who pulls permits for work. Find out what level of dealer they are for the brand they sell. For example top Carrier dealers are called Factory Authorized Dealers. And the top of these dealers may have won a President’s Award. Make sure any awards a company states is not simply some sales award but also has a customer satisfaction component. Also check to see if the manufacturer has the company listed on their dealer locator network.
One tip is to call the company on a Saturday late, or Sunday and see if you can get a hold of anyone. This one trick alone might indicate who can respond better when you need them. Or call up the company some time ask to speak to the guy in charge… have a conversation and see what you think. Even the largest and best a/c companies will have Presidents or General Managers that are accessible to the public! They should be eager to answer any of your questions, or concerns.
One of the best and easiest ways to check out a company simply is to find out if they have qualified service technicians. You can find out how many qualified service technicians they have by going to the consumer connection link on NATE.org. NATE is the national testing certification for ac mechanics. You can find out what percentage of the techs have certification. You want a company that has at least 80% certified technicians. You can find this link by googling the NATE Consumer Contractor Connection website.
Your best chance to find the right contractor is to become educated. Know what to ask and have a good idea of what you want to buy. So read on and become informed.