Choosing an A/C repair company is not much different than selecting any contractor that provides home services. However, it is much more important than selecting, say, an auto repair shop or any service where you don't have to invite strangers into your home.
It's a sobering fact that air conditioning repair and electrical services are the 2 most common trades taught in prison, so some due diligence is definitley in order. Plus, not all air conditioning contactor services are created equal.
1) Do they background and drug test ALL technicians before unleashing them on the public?
Fact is, most HVAC and air conditioning companies DO NOT engage the basic due diligence on newly hired technicians. When speaking with a potential A/C contractor, ask if they do a thorough background and criminal check on all new hires.
Some contractors are member of organizations that vet their potential employees through a verified screening process that can be checked by homeowners. Unfortunately, this practice is not common in the trades so you usually have to speak to the company you are considering and just see if the answer is believable.
2) Do they offer local references and online reviews?
Anytime you have to fix or replace your air conditioning and heating equipment, the expense can be considerable. So protect yourself by checking an air conditioning contractor's online reviews and see what other homeowners have to say about their service levels.
Are they on-time? Are they pleasant and friendly? Did they fix the problem correctly the first time? Is their pricing fair?
Anytime I check reviews for a company I'm considering spending money with, I expect to see a few negative reviews here and there as that at least confirms the reviews on any particular site are valid. 200 five star reviews (with no negatives) on any particular website is a bit of a red flag to me.
3) Are they licensed and insured?
You may have heard all the turmoil in Florida, and Orlando in particular, about unlicensed contractor activity. Many homeowners will unknowingly (or, perhaps, knowingly) hire an unlicensed firm to work in their home, but the risks are immense.
If an employee of the firm you hire is hurt in your home and the contractor has let their insurance lapse, you become 100% responsible for all medical expenses as well as all personal liability from lawsuits.
The takeaway? Ask for a copy of their Florida contractor's license along with a copy of the declaration page of their liability policy. You can go to http://www.myfloridalicense.com/ and quickly confirm if the contractor license is current and valid. Then, call the insurance company and confirm the insurance has not lapsed.
Don't hesitate for a moment in asking for these 2 items as legitimate companies will appreciate you taking the time performing some basic due diligence.
4) Ask about the warranty they offer on all repairs
Most A/C repair companies in Orlando offer a basic warranty of a few months on repairs. The ones who really want your business and are willing to earn it will offer a year on more on all parts and labor. You can get a feeling of their commitment to your satisfaction (as opposed to those who are in and out and don't really care about earning your trust and building an on-going relationship with you).
5) Do they have any verifiable service awards and a good BBB record?
The very first thing I check with any home services contractor is their BBB record. While checking their record is important to see if they have a lot of really irritated customers, it is NOT a guaranteed indication of how great their service actually is. Usually, the only customers who will file a complaint with the BBB are those that feel totally defiled.
If you use a contractor and don't like the staff or the service is slow and unreliable, most of us will not go so far as to engage the BBB unless there is an unresolved problem.
If they do have a poor BBB record and lot's of complaints, keep looking.
So if you're in need of AC repair and need a reliable, trustworthy air conditioning repair service company in Orlando, give us a call at 407-499-8942 and see for yourself how we measure up. I'm very certain you will not only be very pleased, but will refer us out to your family and friends.
Michael Haines is a veteran A/C contractor and founder of the largest and oldest e-commerce site in the heating and air conditioning industry. His HVAC websites have served 10's of thousands of customers.