Is Your Heating and Cooling Contractor Honest?

I recently saw a news story that came out on NBC’s Today Show about dishonest air conditioning repair companies.  I’ve posted it on our company Facebook page if you have not seen it.  This story really bothered me and my employees.  What upset us was not the story, or that air conditioning repair companies were caught up in this.  It was not that this story exposed any of these companies of their dishonest business practices.  We are happy that these companies were exposed.  What really got to me was that100% off the companies tried to take advantage of the customer.  6 out of 6; there was not even one honest air conditioning repair company.
 
I know the news media can blow things out of proportion sometimes maybe even occasionally twist the news in their favor. But this sting was assisted by ACCA or Air Conditioning Contractors of America.  This is a nonprofit trade organization set up to help air conditioning contractors. ACCA develops and publishes national standards used by professional contractors to ensure quality HVAC installation, repair and maintenance.  The story was brought to my attention directly from ACCA.  I have not seen any information from this trade organization to make me believe that this story was twisted in anyway.  Here is a link to the ACCAsite.
 
I’ve always known that honest repair companies were hard to find.  But if you would have asked me before this show aired, how many air conditioning repair people would be honest.  I would have said, 2 would be dishonest and the other 4 would be completely up front. I was shocked when all 6 let our industry down.
 
Personally I have been around the Appliance Repair and Air conditioning repair industry for 36 years.  I’ve heard the stories, worked with some of these dishonest people and seen some of the work with my own eyes.  I just never would have expected it to be this bad.
 
So, how do you find an honest repair company?  Any repair company that comes in your house;Appliance Repair, Air Conditioning and Heating Repair, Electrical Repair,Plumbing, Alarm Services, Handy Man, Construction Contractor and even your House Keeper.
 
Don’t just ask if their licensed and insured, make them show you.  If the repair company can’t show you this, or just won’t,  this might be your first clue to walk away.  This might not be proof that the company is a poor servicer or planed to take advantage,but if the company coming into your house won’t be completely transparent and honest now, why risk it?
 
Are they licensed? Again don’t just ask.  Go look it up yourself if the Repair Company won’t show you.  Look up the license in Texas here.  Make sure it’s not expired or revoked.  Licenses, insurance and bonds need to be renewed every year.  Get referrals from friends and neighbors. The best predictor of a contractor’s future behavior is to find out how well they performed for someone you trust.  Verify that the company belongs to a reputable non-profit trade organization, such as ACCA, or United Servicers Association. This can demonstrate a commitment to ongoing education in a rapidly-changing industry. Ask the contractor to describe their employee training program. If they’re not able to answer this question, they probably don’t have one, and that’s a red flag.Verify that the contractor provides a regular maintenance or service agreement program. 
 
Licensed,insured, bonded.  What does that mean?  It means you, as the end customer is protected against dishonesty, poor workmanship,  injury at your home.  It means you as the customer have protection from our litigious society.  If an employee is injured while at your house and is not covered under workman’s compensation or the company is not insured.  Guess who pays?  You do.  Your insurance will get involved, but once they find out you hired an unlicensed uninsured person it could void your coverage.  The injured person now comes after you.  What about convicted criminals and child molesters?  Think about all the people who have walked into your house over the years.  Who are they really? 
 
The service companies you hire, do they perform criminal background checks on their employees?  Are they safe to be in your house? SoBellas home services checks all employees who enter a customer’s house every 2 years.  If they don’t pass, they are let go or never hired in the first place.  We have had several potential employees over the years that have not passed our criminal background screening.  Unfortunately these individuals did not get out of the business. They simply work for someone else who did not care enough about their customers to check, or some went to work for themselves, now unlicensed.  Who knows what really caused these potential employees not to pass the criminal background check.  It might have been a mistake, maybe it was something silly from many years ago.  I don’t know,they all looked clean cut to me.  They all passed my interview process.  One of them even came highly referred and was currently working for a very large national service organization.  I am not willing to risk my customers safety why would you?
 
 
 
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