What Should You Look for in a Commercial HVAC Contractor?
You might not know where to start when it comes to choosing a commercial HVAC contractor to work with your business. Ideally, you want a long-term relationship with professionals you can rely upon to not only install your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment but to maintain and potentially upgrade it over time.
Today we’ll help guide you in choosing the right commercial HVAC company:
- What qualities a good HVAC contractor should possess
- How to vet an HVAC contractor
- What questions you should ask to ensure you’re hiring the right HVAC contractor
What are the Qualities of a Good Commercial HVAC Contractor?
Working with commercial heating and cooling systems requires advanced skills, extensive training, and expertise. Here are nine other qualities of a good commercial HVAC systems contractor.
Has Up-to-Date Licenses and Permits
A commercial HVAC contractor must have the required licenses and permits to work in your area. In addition, both the company and technicians must adhere to applicable government regulations and industry standards set forth by your city, county, or state.
Don’t be shy about asking to see licensing documents. If a contractor is legitimate, they won’t hesitate to show you their qualifications and proof of licensing.
Maintains Professional Affiliations
Check the contractor’s website for affiliations with local professional groups. For example, a certification from the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) proves that an HVAC technician has the proper training, experience, and education in handling various models, makes, and brands of commercial HVAC equipment.
HVAC manufacturers like Trane, Carrier, Lennox, and Rheem have consolidated parts of their training into the standard NATE certification.
Additionally, many HVAC contractors stay connected to the latest industry trends through membership in the Air Conditioner Contractors of America (ACCA).
Employs Highly Trained Technicians
Trustworthy HVAC companies continuously train their employees, ensuring that they’re up-to-date on the latest equipment, technology, licenses, certifications, and installation methods.
Has Extensive Experience With Commercial HVAC Equipment
A contractor experienced only in residential heating and cooling isn’t the right choice for your commercial project. Residential systems don’t operate as commercial systems do, so it’s crucial to ensure that your contractor specializes in commercial HVAC services and system installations.
However, many HVAC contractors do offer commercial and residential HVAC services. If you choose a contractor who can do double duty, make sure they have enough experience working specifically on complex, commercial-grade systems.
Understands How to Size a Commercial HVAC System
It should go without saying that an experienced commercial HVAC contractor would know how to size a commercial HVAC system. In addition, they should understand how many units they should purchase, what type is best, and where to install them on your property.
Works With Many Brands
Most experienced HVAC contractors work with various equipment manufacturers so they can recommend and install the right system for your needs. However, if a contractor only knows how to install or service one or two specific brands, you’ll be limited to potential equipment upgrades should you decide to maintain a long-term relationship with them.
Contractors with experience working with manufacturers like Lennox, Carrier, Trane, Honeywell, Mitsubishi, and Daiken have much more to offer you than those who provide limited or lesser-known equipment selections or product lines.
Is Committed to Customer Service
In meeting with any potential contractor, you should pay attention to your interactions with them. Do they provide the information they promised you? Do they respond to your calls or texts promptly? Are they unfailingly professional?
If you feel that a contractor could be unreliable even before the job starts, listen to your gut and look elsewhere.
Shows Up On Time
If a potential HVAC contractor is late to any appointments with you without notifying you, it might be a sign that they don’t value your time. On the other hand, being late consistently may indicate that meeting future project commitments and finishing dates could be in question.
Offers Free Estimates and Fair Rates
As with any type of service, commercial or residential, being charged fair market rates for goods and services is a priority. Make sure you get several bids to compare competitive rates in your area.
How to Vet an HVAC Contractor
Now that you have a baseline understanding of what you’re looking for in a qualified HVAC contractor don’t underestimate the value of word of mouth endorsements — or criticisms.
Check Out Their Social Media Reviews
Reading reviews on social channels like Yelp or Google My Business is an excellent way of determining an HVAC contractor’s credibility. In addition, pay attention to less than stellar reviews as well.
Look for situations in which the contractor not only performed poorly but responded to criticism badly. Addressing negative reviews and comments gives a different perspective on how the company may handle difficult situations with you, should there be any.
Contact Their References
References are worthless if you don’t follow up on them. Ask for several references from other commercial air conditioning clients who have worked with your potential contractor.
If a candidate is reluctant to provide references, that should be a cause for concern. Contractors with satisfied customers are more than happy to share them with you.
Check Their BBB Status
Work with HVAC contractors who are in good standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Contractors with A+ ratings from the BBB can generally be relied upon to provide quality service, as they have met the Bureau’s exacting standards for professionalism and reliability.
What Questions Should You Ask an HVAC Contractor?
“How long have you been in business?”
Your commercial HVAC unit is a significant business investment. Therefore, you want to ensure that the contractor you partner with has a proven track record of quality installations and service.
While not the only indicator of trustworthiness, a company that’s been in business for a significant amount of time is more likely to ensure the results you want.
“Are you insured?”
Any legitimate, professional HVAC commercial contractor should be insured. Insurance prevents your liability if accidental property damage or an injury occurs, protecting you and your contractor during installation or repair projects.
Make sure their insurance includes both workers’ compensation and general liability insurance.
“Do you provide maintenance services?”
HVAC system installations are never a one-and-done proposition. You’ll need yearly maintenance and occasional repairs over the life of your system to ensure longevity and quality airflow through your commercial property.
Why choose a contractor for your installation and then search for a separate full-service company to provide upkeep? Finding one entity who can do it all is worth their weight in gold.
Get our Ultimate Commercial HVAC Maintenance Checklist — Free!
"What are your operating hours?”
Dealing with home HVAC problems and commercial HVAC problems are two very different things. While inconvenient, home outages can be dealt with on a less-than-urgent basis. HVAC outages in commercial buildings, however, need to be resolved quickly.
Is the contractor you’re considering on call 24/7/365 in case of an emergency? You want a professional who is willing and able to respond quickly to resolve heating or cooling issues that can crop up at any time.
Choose FASTECH For Your Commercial HVAC Needs
Whether you want to upgrade your current commercial HVAC system or you’re looking for the right maintenance partner to service your company’s HVAC system, FASTECH can help.
FASTECH provides expert commercial HVAC system installation, maintenance, and upgrades that extend the lifespan of your HVAC system and reduce your utility bills. Over the last 25+ years, our expert team has provided cooling and refrigeration services for thousands of clients across nearly every industry, including retail, restaurants, pharmacies, service stations, and more.
To get started, contact us today.