Finding a great heating and air conditioning contractor is a vital step to achieving peace of mind as a home owner.
The most important step is finding a heating and air conditioning contractor before you need one in an emergency.
Getting spring and fall maintenance is a great way to see how a company operates.
- The office should call when the technician is on the way.
- The technician should arrive on time or within the window of time promised.
- The technician should have a uniform with the company logo or information on the shirt.
- The van or truck should have the company information on it, including the contractor license number. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations requires the license number to be at least two inches and clearly visible on both sides of the vehicle.
- Their invoice and any proposals should also have their license # and contact information for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulations.
Make sure they have liability insurance for at least $1,000,000. The technician should spend most of their time checking the system, not trying to sell you add on products.
It typically takes around one hour to completely check one air conditioning system during the spring check and a little under an hour for a fall check (depending on equipment age and type).
Some companies offer free or heavily discounted system checks. They are counting on making money with either add on parts that you may not need, extremely high repair prices or selling you new equipment you may not need.
On average it costs most companies in the San Antonio labor market at least $65.00 an hour to keep one service truck on the road. This includes technician wages, employee benefits, gasoline, liability insurance, auto insurance, taxes ( there are a lot of them ), licensing fees, training expenses, equipment, tools, parts and supplies. Charging less that the cost of operation means that the money has to be made up through extra parts and add ons. Charging more than $65.00 leaves the company room to cover over head ( rent, taxes, liability insurance, office staff) and make a small profit without relying on extra charges and add ons. If a company has free service calls or is only charging $29.99, either they are going to make that money up somewhere or they won't be in business for very long.
One way companies limit their labor liability when they have lost cost or free service calls is to pay their technicians on a commission basis. When technicians are paid with commissions for selling parts or equipment, they are put in a position where being deceitful to customers to make more money to support their families.
When something goes wrong with your heating and air conditioning system you want a skilled technician who can assess your system and troubleshoot problems, not a salesman that gets paid based on how much money comes out of your pocket.
Ask friends and neighbors who they use and if they would recommend them. The internet is a good place to check reviews, but everything is not always as it appears.
The top paid spots on Google for the key word "heating and air conditioning repair San Antonio" usually costs that company around $32.00 every time a new customer clicks on that link to their web page. That money has to be made up some where, and it usually ends up coming from the consumer.
Angie's List is a great place to see information about a specific company. To be featured by them for a category can cost thousands of dollars per year and doesn't necessarily mean that company has better reviews or more reviews than any other company in a category. Once again, the contractor will have to make that money up from the end consumer if he wants to stay in business.
You can check Google places, Yelp or other sites to read customer reviews. When reading reviews make sure the review sounds like something genuine as there is a huge number of fake reviews submitted by the business owners.
The Better Business Bureau is also another resource to research an HVAC company. The barrier to entry to become an accredited Better Business bureau Member is not very high, but companies that are consistently untrustworthy won't be able to avoid having multiple complaints on their report.
One last resource in looking for a good heating and air conditioning company in San Antonio is by checking the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation web page. Here you can search to make sure an air conditioning company has a valid and current state license or you can search for any violations against a particular license holder.
In summary, find a good heating and air conditioning contractor before you need one and make sure to have your annual maintenance performed.
More interesting articles on heating and air conditioning here.