You’re planning a home-improvement job, need some help with storm clean up or simply want your HVAC system serviced before the first big heat wave. It’s easy to find a contractor to take the job. But how do you know it’s a contractor you can trust?
“were working in the neighborhood” and noticed some problems with your home, like driveway cracks or missing roof shingles. Even if there are problems, don’t allow yourself to be pressured into making immediate repairs. Watch out for an offer of a “special” that’s good for one day only.
Ask friends and neighbors for their recommendations and ask any contractor for the names and contact information of satisfied customers in your neighborhood. If they won’t give you a referral, watch out.
Some scam artists may offer to inspect your HVAC system or clean your chimney at a price that sounds much too good to be true. Once they’ve started, they might claim, for example, that your chimney is in immediate need of structural repairs and show you bricks and mortar removed from it as “proof.” If this happens, contact your local energy utility or a contractor you trust to inspect your system.
that go door-to-door to find customers. Here’s a flashing warning sign: their vehicle lists no company name or phone number, or it has out-of-state license plates. Make sure the contractor can provide a business card and a street address where the company does business. (It may be the contractor’s home address, and that’s ok, as some small-business owners work out of their homes.)
such as membership in a professional organization like NATE, North American Technician Excellence. This is the only national testing and certification program accepted by the entire HVAC industry. Don’t settle for a hasty price quote to cover a complicated repair. Legitimate contractors won’t scribble on a scrap of paper: they’ll provide you with a detailed written quote after thoroughly examining the problem. One exception is a small, basic repair which may have a standard fee.
While legitimate contractors may expect a down payment before beginning a job, scam artists will often insist that you pay in full before they start any project.