School may be back in session, but it’s still summer in central Texas — which means if your AC isn’t working, you’re in serious trouble. You need to find a technician fast. But how do you make sure you’re choosing someone who will fix your issue the first time and for a fair price?
Good Word of Mouth
Start by asking around. Get on social media and ask your local friend group — it’s almost certain that someone has needed help recently, and most people are all too happy to share their positive and negative experiences with you.
You can also google “AC repair” followed by your city name or “AC repair near me”. Then read the google reviews to make sure past clients were satisfied with the work performed. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure there are no current complaints against the company.
Licensing and Insurance
Make sure any company you’re dealing with is fully licensed and insured. Like most states, Texas requires a license for HVAC technicians. This assures you the person about to take apart a very important (not to mention very expensive) piece of equipment has been thoroughly evaluated and possesses the necessary knowledge and skills.
Insurance is also important, as even the most experienced technician can have something go wrong. Accidents happen — make sure that if they happen in your backyard (quite literally), the company will be responsible for and financially capable of fixing the error and cleaning up any resulting mess or damages.
When you call or email the company, how are you treated? Are your messages returned promptly and courteously? Summer is a busy time of year for most HVAC companies, so there may be a wait to get a technician out to your home, but your inquiry should still receive a quick and enthusiastic response.
For any subsequent contacts, make sure you feel comfortable dealing with the office staff — when you contact them, there should be no confusion over who you are, when your technician is scheduled to visit, the status of your repair, etc.
If the company drops the ball on the administrative side of things, find another company, even if the technical work is great. Plenty of companies are good at both, and the ones that aren’t will just leave you with a headache.
Whenever possible, get bids on your repair from 2-3 different companies. Beware a company with significantly lower costs than competitors — if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Unfortunately, some companies do cut corners. While it may be tempting to go with the lowest price, go with your gut instead.
Make sure you get all bids in writing so you can easily compare not only the cost but also the specifics of the work. If one company is recommending replacement of a single component and another wants you to replace your whole unit, you’ll want to understand the difference (and ask a whole lot of follow-up questions before making a decision).
Before signing a contract, make sure it includes the specifics of the work to be done and associated costs, the dates on which the work will be performed and completed, when payment is due, if a deposit is required, and any other relevant information.
Finally, make sure you ask about any warranties, guarantees, and refunds offered by the company. Get all of these policies in writing too.
The Bottom Line
Hiring a new technician for an important repair can be scary. Take some of the stress out of it by doing your research and knowing what to look for!