Whether you’re looking to install a new air conditioner or just need to have your existing air conditioner repaired, there’s no one better to call than an air conditioning contractor. Air conditioning contractors are highly knowledgeable in the servicing of ACs and will ensure that your AC is working as intended.
The question is: how do you choose the right one? There are a number of steps involved, and we’re going to discuss them all in detail now. Without further ado, here’s how to pick the right air conditioning contractors in Baltimore, MD.
Use a Search Engine
You should begin your search by using search engines like Google or Bing. Go to one of these sites and type in something to the effect of “air conditioning contractor in Baltimore” or “air conditioning company in Baltimore”.
After typing this in and clicking search, you should be greeted with a list of different air conditioning contractors in your area. Next to each of these contractors should be a consensus star rating, along with a link to relevant customer reviews.
Assess these star ratings and customer reviews so as to form an opinion on each contractor. When doing so, try to focus on contractors with star ratings of 4 or more.
If you feel comfortable with what a specific contractor has to offer, write that contractor’s name down on a piece of paper. The goal should be to create a shortlist of candidates that you can compare and eventually choose from.
Ask Your Friends
In addition to using a search engine to facilitate choosing an air conditioning contractor in your area, you should also ask around to your friends and acquaintances. There just might be someone in your life who has used an air conditioning contractor in the past. If that person was impressed with their contractor’s services, they would almost certainly provide you with a recommendation.
The great thing about personal recommendations is that they come from people you trust. As such, they tend to feel a little more credible than a recommendation that comes from an anonymous source on a review board on the internet.
So, be sure to ask your parents, your siblings, your friends, your work colleagues, and anyone else with whom you have contact. That one recommendation could be the contractor you end up going with.
Upon receiving each recommendation, write it down next to the names of the candidates you gleaned from your search engine search. You’ll need this list of candidates for the following steps.
Get a Feel for Experience
Once you have your list of viable candidates, you need to start assessing them further. This will enable you to compare them against one another and see which one comes out on top.
The first comparison you should make is experience. In most cases, more experienced contractors provide a better level of service than less experienced contractors. This is because they’ve had time to perfect their skills as well as their business processes.
New contractors might very well be able to install or repair your AC. However, because their AC installation and repair experience are limited, they’re more prone to making mistakes. So, while they have the potential to do the job right for you, they have just as much potential to do it wrong.
Experienced AC contractors, on the other hand, know air conditioners like the backs of their respective hands. As such, the odds of them making mistakes are particularly low.
In addition, experienced companies are usually better equipped to facilitate different business processes, such as payment processing, customer service, and the like. New companies are usually working these things out on the fly, and so can’t provide as seamless an experience for the customer.
All things considered, we recommend choosing a contractor with a minimum of 2 years of experience in the field. A contractor that has maintained a positive reputation over this length of time is bound to provide a high level of service.
Look Up Licensure
In order for an AC contractor to work legally in the state of Maryland, they must have an HVAC license from the state. This license not only indicates that the individual has the knowledge needed to provide AC services but that they have the skill needed as well.
If a contractor is working without a license, they are working illegally and should be avoided entirely. Hiring an unlicensed contractor leaves you vulnerable to sub-par work, and could also result in you being scammed.
Now, how can you determine whether or not a contractor is, indeed, licensed? It’s as simple as using the Maryland license lookup tool. Just type in the contractor’s name and see if a license comes up; if it does, you’ll know that contractor is good to go.
Note, though, that this only works for individuals. It doesn’t work for company names. So, if it’s a company you’re researching, find out the owner’s name and enter it into the tool.
If you’re having trouble using the tool, or if you’re getting questionable results, you can email the Maryland Department of Labor at email@example.com. They’ll answer any questions about licensing that you might have.
See Proof of Insurance
Not only should your AC contractor have a license but insurance as well. Insurance is vital, as it will protect you monetarily in the event that an incident occurs on your property while the services are being rendered.
For instance, if the AC contractor accidentally does damage to your property, their insurance policy will protect you from having to pay for the damages. Or, if one of the AC contractor’s employees gets injured on your property, their insurance will protect you from legal liability.
If your contractor doesn’t have insurance, they would be more likely to saddle you with such expenses. This would force you to do one of two things: 1. pay the expenses yourself, or 2. fight a battle in court. Neither of these is desirable.
As such, before hiring an AC contractor, it’s important that you see proof of both general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. The former will protect you from damage that the AC contractor does to your property. The latter will protect you from injuries that your AC contractor’s employees suffer on your property.
Next, you’re going to want to assess each of your candidates’ services. After all, not all AC contractors provide all AC services.
For instance, whereas some contractors might provide both commercial and residential air conditioning services, others might only provide residential air conditioning services only.
You don’t want to hire a contractor that’s never dealt with your specific type of project. Mistakes would be almost certain.
Now, how can you determine a contractor’s services? All you have to do is look at the contractor’s website. The website should have a ‘Services’ tab that you can click, revealing every service that the contractor has to offer.
If the contractor doesn’t have a services tab on their website, or if they don’t have a website at all, you’ll just have to make a call and ask about available services yourself.
Ask About Air Conditioning Types
Just as not every AC contractor provides every AC service, not every AC contractor works with all types of air conditioners. For example, one contractor might work with central air conditioners only. Another might work with central air conditioners, ductless mini-split systems, heat pumps, and more.
As such, before hiring anyone, it’s important that you determine whether they can service your specific type of AC. Again, you don’t want to hire someone who’s never worked on your type of project before.
Ideally, the contractors on your list will have this information available on their websites. It might be on the ‘Services’ page, or it might be on a specific sub-page. Browse through each website and see what you can find.
If you can’t find this info on the contractor’s website, you’ll need to make a call and ask. Never hire a contractor without knowing whether they can successfully complete your project. Make sure to verify past experience with your type of project, ideally through pictures.
Inquire About Suppliers
Simply put, not all air conditioners are created equal. In fact, there can be quite a bit of variation from one air conditioner to the next. As such, if you’re looking for a contractor to install an AC unit for you, you need to make sure that it gets its AC units from reputable suppliers.
There are more than a few reputable AC suppliers out there. Some of the top air conditioner manufacturers on the market today include Rheem, Trane, Amana, Lennox, and Carrier, to name just a few.
You don’t necessarily need an air conditioner from one of these brands. But you do need to make sure that you’re getting a high-quality product. So, ask each air conditioning contractor about the types of AC units they install and make sure those units have good reputations online.
You might be able to find supplier information on each contractor’s website. This could be listed anywhere, from the home page to the ‘Services’ page to the ‘About’ page and elsewhere. Do your due diligence and make sure you’re getting a quality product; remember, this AC unit should last you for the next 15 years or so.
Ask About Warranties
When you pay for AC services, you expect that those services will be rendered properly. However, even the best contractors make mistakes from time to time. The most important thing is that those contractors do right by you in the event that mistakes arise.
This is where warranties are important. In offering warranties, contractors essentially promise to fix their mistakes without charging any additional money.
Simply put, you need to make sure that your chosen AC contractor offers a labor warranty. If you don’t, and a warranty does not exist, you could end up having to pay substantial amounts of additional money in order to fix problems that shouldn’t be your responsibility.
Call up the contractors on your list and specifically ask about warranties. Be sure to get the details down in writing before signing any contracts.
The last of our air conditioning contractor tips is to get estimates. This is vital, as it ensures that you’re getting a good deal, and prevents you from being surprised with a huge bill somewhere down the line.
Getting an estimate is generally quite easy. Simply call up the contractor and discuss the scope of the service you require. You might have to mention things such as whether you have ductwork installed or what the square footage of your home is.
Once you do that, the contractor should provide you with an itemized estimate of your costs. If a contractor refuses or is hesitant to give you an estimate, you shouldn’t utilize their services.
When comparing estimates against one another, be a little wary of ones that are exceedingly lower than the others. If an estimate is much, much lower, it’s probably because the contractor is lacking in some way. For instance, the contractor could be lacking experience, or might even do shoddy work.
Regardless, be sure to get an estimate down in writing. A written estimate will protect you from being overcharged.
Looking for a Reputable Air Conditioning Contractor in Baltimore?
If you’re searching for a reputable air conditioning contractor in Baltimore, you needn’t look any further than Rowbel Services. We’re the premier air conditioning contractor firm in the Baltimore area and have helped to install and repair countless ACs throughout.
Need air conditioning installation? Require air conditioning repair? Maybe you need help with air conditioning maintenance?
In any of these cases, we’re the people to see. Contact us now to request service!