Top 3 HVAC Credentials
Along with certifications from a non-profit organization like NATE, homeowners can look for three specific credentials when hiring an HVAC contractor. It’s important to work with a contractor that is licensed, bonded and insured. Without these three credentials, you could be putting a lot at risk when you hire an HVAC contractor.
Top 3 HVAC Credentials
The State of Florida requires that contractors hold a license. But not just any license. In order to do business in Florida, contractors must apply and be approved for a license via the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB). The Board won’t hand out a license to just anyone who applies. To earn the credential, contractors must meet certain standards for experience in the HVAC industry and training.
By creating a written contract with a licensed contractor, you have recourse should something go wrong during the work project. In particular, the CILB has established a fund designed to compensate homeowners for financial repercussions as a result of the contractor reneging on the contractor or breaking certain laws.
A bond is an insurance policy that extends to the contractor’s clientele. For example, if the contractor doesn’t meet his end of the contract’s specifications, the insurance policy kicks in to cover the expenses. Some of the ways a contractor may break a contract include paying subcontractors when the contract specifically outlines against it and performing sub-part workmanship.
When you work with a contractor with a surety bond, and you get into trouble with the contractor holding up his end of the bargain, you won’t have to shoulder the bill for sub-par work or a rogue contractor.
In addition to a surety bond, licensed contractors that work in Florida are required to hold two other types of insurance. Specifically, these insurances cover injuries sustained on the job and are designed to protect the contractor and homeowner.
A worker’s compensation policy protects homeowners from being liable for an injury to a contracting company’s employee while on your property conducting HVAC work.
A contractor must also carry general liability insurance, which extends coverage of the homeowner to any damage sustained to the property, personal injury or bodily injury that’s on outcome of the HVAC work performed on your property. Even if your personal homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover accidents or contractor-related incidents, the contractor’s policies will. That’s why it’s ideal to only work with contractors who follow the state laws for doing business in Florida.
Other credentials to look for
Here are a few other credentials that can help homeowners gauge quality of workmanship:
- The Better Business Bureau (BBB). If a contractor has complaints against the company, you’ll find these on the BBB’s website. The organization was designed to create transparency between businesses and consumers, and be a place where consumers could voice complaints and allow a third party to resolve or confirm them.
- Angie’s List. This up-and-coming, proven internet organization was established on much the same premise as the BBB. However, in this case, members log onto the website to offer recommendations on local service providers. Vested members look for other member reviews as either a good or bad “word of mouth” recommendation, and to vouch for a service provider’s credibility and expertise.
Why all the bother?
It’s simply not true that all HVAC contractors are the same. Expertise, background, business practices – these are just some of the qualities that can set one contractor apart from the next. Ultimately, when you invite an HVAC contractor into your home to perform work, you put your household’s safety into their hands, along with the investment you made in the equipment and your home’s comfort, too. Take the time to properly vet your contractor, and you’ll be glad you made the effort to select the best of the best in your area.
There’s a lot at stake when it comes to hiring an HVAC contractor. Now that you’re aware of the trifecta of HVAC credentials, put your knowledge to good use the next time you need repairs, maintenance or service. At Jacob Heating & Air Conditioning, we’re happy to talk about our credentials and expertise, such as our Angie’s List Service Awards for 2010 and 2011. Ultimately, what we do on the back end to ensure quality workmanship translates to great work, each and every time, for our satisfied customers.