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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chicago area
    Posts
    1,453

    Question for homeowners

    What is the most likely way you go about finding a HVAC contractor?

    Phonebook, mailer, chamber of commerce, ask a friend or family, newspaper, online search, or other.

    Please explain if other.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    121
    What no home owners here!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    416

    No DIY

    I'm sorry, this sounds like DIY advertising... You need to seek the help of an advertising professional.....

    All kidding aside, I've used the same co. for almost 20 years and if memory serves me, they were recommended by a neighbor.

    When I'm looking to hire, I almost always get recommendations from neighbors, friends, and co-workers. Word-of-mouth IMHO is the best.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    georgia
    Posts
    562
    The secret arts of black magic.

    But seriously, its tough. Even getting references from friends doesnt mean their system was installed properly. You'll probably need to educate yourself about what a system needs to do in your situation, and what an installer should do jobwise, and how a job should be bid, etc.. Lots of cold calls to companies. Those that dont bother to show up or call obviously get removed form your list. Narrow down the list of companies and possible equipment, then get customer references and do site visits of owners of the same equipment you'll be getting installed. Take a lot of notes and create a file.

    Be wary though, as many contractors dont seem to appreciate dealing with a homeowner with any useful knowledge. We're blamed for not educating ourselves before the purchase, then we're blamed for knowing more than we think we do.

    I'd also check sites like Kudzu, Yelp, Angies List, maybe even Twitter, etc.. Always do a good web search for the contractor before getting married.

    Maybe you'll be lucky and your area has a bunch of well qualified companies.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Central New Jersey
    Posts
    253
    I researched local contractors by going to the equipment manufacturer's web site (Ex: Carrier, Trane). I feel the contractor has to have some minimum qualification in order to be listed as an authorized dealer. My results were mixed using this method.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    georgia
    Posts
    562
    Quote Originally Posted by mike_home View Post
    I researched local contractors by going to the equipment manufacturer's web site (Ex: Carrier, Trane). I feel the contractor has to have some minimum qualification in order to be listed as an authorized dealer. My results were mixed using this method.
    One would think that, but from what I've been told its not true. Many are just paid placements.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    4H: Hot, Humid Houston H.O.
    Posts
    3,304
    Pretty much word of mouth, or advertising (need not be true). I went with one company which claimed they were "NCI trained", I was looking for techs who could measure everything and work at a high skill level. They sent someone who bad-mouthed Manual J, saying any 6 people would get 6 different answers. He told war stories and every one of them had oversizing. But... he was a likeable fellow and I could not see any obvious shortcomings in what he did. At least not until later. Stayed with him about 5 years, bought 5 figures worth of stuff thru him.

    It almost could be random, how we hook up with AC pros. What I dearly wish for would be a set of numbers simple enough we homeowners could pick up on them even if not understand them fully. Said numbers would definitively tell us whether our AC was working as it should. If there were something simple enough for us homeowners to understand, then it should be doubly so for AC techs.

    Then we could be confident our 3-ton AC systems would be putting out 3 tons of cooling, or be able to know why not. That alone would put to rest the perennial confusion about sizing, "it doesn't cool" translates so often to "it must be undersized, that piker who installed it went cheap and small". Know what I mean? It would revolutionize this whole field.

    Thanks for letting me rant -- Pstu

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Moore, Oklahoma, United States
    Posts
    4,506
    Have somebody that answers the phone during normal business hours that can answer basic questions. People don't like automated systems or having to wait on a call back. Have your trucks marked so other potential customers will see them in the neighborhood. Have a good website with pictures of the shop/trucks/staff. Possibly include some "wall of pride" pictures form installs you have done. Include a FAQ for those questions customers call you with over and over. People don't use phone books much these days, I don't see much point in paying their ridiculous rates for advertising. When was the last time you looked in a phone book for something?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Chicago area
    Posts
    1,453
    Thanks for all the replies.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Chicago suburb
    Posts
    27
    When I was in the market for a new HVAC system, I likened the experience of talking to the HVAC Sales reps to dealing used car salesman - didn't know who to trust and believe.

    I was referred to an HVAC company by a gentlemen, who my wife knew personally, that is a plumber and knew the owners of the HVAC over 30 years. I don't regret the call, nor the install. My vote goes to word of mouth. I might add that my neighbor used the same company - again no complaints.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    29
    For me it was easy. My neighbor is a HVAC guy. In the state of georgia you are allowed to build your own home. You dont need a licsence of any kind to build it. So, I didnt have to have a liscenced company come in and do my AC. My neighbor showed/told me what to do and I done it. How did he decide on how big the units and ducts needed to be? Hell if I know but, it works great.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Littleton, Co
    Posts
    54
    I started my search, here in Colorado, at the Colorado Building Trades website. Next I narrowed it down to companies that were owned by people that had a working knowledge of the trade. I immediately eliminated companies that a) Started the interview with a financing pitch. or b) Were members of the chamber of commerce. c) Showed up to do an estimate in full size Hummer.

    Adam

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Hallandale Beach, FL.
    Posts
    437
    Quote Originally Posted by adamt View Post
    I started my search, here in Colorado, at the Colorado Building Trades website. Next I narrowed it down to companies that were owned by people that had a working knowledge of the trade. I immediately eliminated companies that a) Started the interview with a financing pitch. or b) Were members of the chamber of commerce. c) Showed up to do an estimate in full size Hummer.

    Adam
    Why would/did you eliminate a contractor based on the Hummer?
    I miss you mom and dad.

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