Rushing through the selection of a contractor for your upcoming air conditioning installation or other home renovation project? Skipping-out on the ‘research’ portion could cost you. While there are many trustworthy contractors out there, sadly there are also quite a few trying to take your money and run.
Watch Out for these Red Flags to Avoid Construction Nightmares:
High Initial Down Payment
With materials to source and workers to hire, a down payment towards your new air conditioning installation can be expected. Pennsylvania HIC (Home Improvement Contractor) licensing regulations require contractors collect 50% down payment for custom orders before a job starts – but not 100% down. Any request for more than 50% payment up-front should set-off alarm bells.
The need to be paid in cash only is a sure sign of shady inclinations. The ability to use check or credit card payment gives you infinitely more options should disputes arise. Without such supporting documentation, it’s your word versus the contractor on what was paid.
Lack of References
If you can’t reach contractor references (or worse, the contractor won’t give you any), something is off. Even if a contractors claims to be just starting out, pass for someone with more experience. After all, your home is your biggest investment. If you’re just beginning your contractor search, try working backwards: Try asking close friends or family who they recommend. Word-of-mouth referrals are generally best. Online reviews are also a good resource – albeit not always 100% reliable.
No License & Insurance
Even in an emergency, ask to see license and insurance documents before work begins, which are required-by-law in most areas. Preferably license and insurance information should be posted on proposals, business cards, and vehicles. All contractors must be licensed and insured to work on your home – otherwise you could end up liable in the event of accident or damages to neighboring property.
If the contractor is telling you that it is not necessary to apply for permits, beware! In fact most city’s, townships and boroughs require permits and part of the process is to check the contractor’s insurance.
Lack of ‘Back-Up’
Any professional contractor you hire to work on your home or HVAC system should have a physical address (not work out of a truck), giving you the ability to track them down if things go wrong. They should likewise back-up their skills with professional affiliations and certifications, such as NATE or EPA, alongside warranties on work and equipment – which should be years – not months – so that you get what you pay for.
Detailed, written contracts ensure you get what you pay for – and everyone is on the same page. Make sure contracts include cost estimates, specific materials used (to thwart bargain substitutions), and completion timetables.
Good contractors do outsource specialty work – like tricky electrical. However a multitude of subcontractors parading through your home should set-off warning bells. Who are you letting into your home? Are they likewise licensed, drug and background checked?
Looking for an HVAC contractor who has your best interests at heart? Count on the friendly service of your local H & H Heating & Air technician. When it comes to trusted service, we check all the boxes. Contact us for a trustworthy quote and complimentary referral list today.