We've talked before about how furnace maintenance isn't a scam. While that's true, there are home heating contractors who will try to use a good thing to bait and switch you. For example, imagine you find a "value" furnace maintenance tune up those only cost $29-$39. But when the "heating company" shows up, you basically get a salesman who either does a poor job on your furnace or tries to convince you to replace your furnace when you really don't need to. To make sure this doesn't happen to you, use these tips to help you find a good home heating company.
- Check for a license
Contractors need a license to legally work in your home. Without it, there's no way to tell if they're qualified to do the work properly. Use this database from ga.gov to verify a heating company's license number.
- Ask for proof of general liability insurance
OK, this is a biggie. If the heating company has employees, ask to see a copy of the Certificate of Insurance or just ask for the name of the company's insurance carrier and agency and verify that the contractor has insurance. This is super important because if a heating company's employee gets injured on your property and the company doesn't have insurance, then you could have to pay for that worker's injuries and rehabilitation.
- Get recommendations from friends and family
Either call someone you trust or go to your social media groups for recommendations for a company that has performed a similar project that you need done.
- Ask how the heating company they want to be paid--before or after
It's best to never pay for an entire project upfront before a contractor completes the job. If a heating company insists on getting payment upfront before any work is done, move on to someone else.
- Get everything in writing
To eliminate ambiguity between you and the heating company you choose, get a work proposal in writing. That way you prevent any sneaky bait and switch maneuvers. The work proposal should contain information like:
- Specific details of the work to be done
- Materials the contractor will use
- Final cleanup the contractor will do when he or she completes the project.
- Completion date
- Payment schedule.
- Look for a company that is well established (one that has been in business in the same location for a long time)
Look to see that the heating company you hire has a business address and phone number listed. Imagine trying to find a contractor to fix a job they messed up if they operate out of their pickup truck with nothing but a cell phone. Also, the more years in business the better. It shows they will most likely continue to stay in business to uphold maintenance plans you may have purchased from them.
- Check online reviews and ratings
Google is your friend. Use it to find reviews and ratings of contractors you're considering. Places to check include:
Want more tips and helpful how-to? Check out our blog. Ragsdale Heating, Air & Plumbing has been serving the metro Atlanta area for over 20 years. Contact us online for more information on how we can help you.