They are often called “garage mechanics” or “Johnny one-trucks.” In layman’s terms, these are the men (yes, usually men), who moonlight from their regular jobs in the mechanical services trades or who set up their own businesses with little or no overhead – to keep costs down.
They are the perfect people to call if you want a job done cheaply. True, many are qualified and do good work. But many more are simply looking for work and will do almost anything to underbid or “lowball” their competition. And why not? They can afford lower prices because they don’t have the fixed costs like larger, more established HVAC contractors in New Jersey. Unfortunately, some of these fixed costs include training and licensing, which are a necessity for any contractor.
Here are some things to look for when bidding out a service/replacement job or a new installation. The bidder you hire will answer yes to most of these questions (except the obvious). The lowball bidder likely will not.
- Can the contractors give you references from former customers and show details of work they have done?
- Can the contractors verify if they are licensed to do their work or have any certifications, i.e. refrigerant handling?
- Do the contractors include the cost of pulling permits and paying for inspections for their work?
- Are the contractors members of any professional organizations and can they show credentials?
- Do the contractors belong to any local Chambers or other civic organizations?
- Are the contractors rated favorably by the local Better Business Bureau?
- Do the contractors offer an option of products and services to choose from, rather than just one choice they say “is best for you?”
- Do the contractors take measurements and do mathematical equations to determine what size equipment you need (called load calculations or heat loss/heat gain measurements to determine the proper sized furnace or air conditioner, for example).
- Do the contractors constantly criticize their competition and use this tactic more than explaining what they can do for you?
- Do the contractors listen and ask questions?
- Do the contractors use pressure tactics like offering add-on equipment for a “special price” or say, “I will need to know you answer as I have other customers who need my services right away.”
- Do the contractors offer a variety of warranty plans to back up their work?
- Do the contractors require a large deposit or all of the money up front?
- Do the contractors have a neat appearance, i.e. well-groomed and clean clothes?
- Are the contractors’ vehicles clean and free from obvious rust or body damage?
There are likely several other considerations but the point is, the contractors should be professional and businesslike. They should “act like they’ve done this before.” The low bidders may appear to put on a good face, but dig below the surface and ask a lot of questions. The low bidders may quickly lose their happy disposition.
A low bid can sometimes work but the odds are not in your favor. The main things are – you want piece of mind and fewer callbacks because of service or installation problems. Call Heritage Air & Heat today for quality HVAC service in the Central New Jersey area!