Every once in a while, you may have a need for a contractor that
specializes in home energy products. For example you may need to
install new energy efficient windows or perhaps add some insulation.
You may need a new furnace installed or even just an HAVC (heating
ventilation and air conditioning) tune up.
Whatever the case, opening your phone book will reveal to you that
there are literally hundreds of choices. Which one do you choose? The
ones with the flashiest or most prevalent commercials on the TV or
radio? The first one in the phone book? The one with the biggest ad?
The best possible advertisement for contractors, especially home
energy ones, is word of mouth. Ask your friends and neighbors if
they've had any experiences with home energy contractors. Barring
this, you can try to narrow your search by proximity to your home or
by specialty. For example, if you have a need for a furnace tune up
only, select contractors that specialize in furnaces and HVAC work
rather than those who perhaps do it all.
Keep in mind that ad size or company size has no bearing at all on the
service you can expect to receive. In fact, just the opposite may be
true. A small operation or business of just one contractor may be
completely dedicated to keeping you happy while a bigger shop with
numerous employees may take less time to satisfy you - since they have
multitudes of other customers!
Try to compile a list of at least 3 or more contractor names (I
recommend at least 5). Call each one and ask if they do the work you
are looking for, and if they do free in home estimates. Most will say
they do. Schedule a time for them to come out and look at the
potential job. Ask for the estimate in writing, and have each
contractor explain what they intend to do, or how they intend to fix
Be prepared for some of them to be pushy - and be prepared for some of
the contractors that come out to your home for the estimate to not be
contractors at all! Some companies (especially the larger ones) tend
to send salesmen with some knowledge of home energy repairs that may
know how to talk the talk - but wouldn't know where to start when it
came down to the repair. These guys specialize in one thing - closing
the sale! Be wary.
From the list you have compiled do a quick internet search for the
companies, and especially reviews. Check forums, the Better Business
Bureau, and fraud alert websites. You can also call the company and
ask for references. Most reputable ones have a customer base that will
vouch for their work.
If you don't feel comfortable dealing with a company based on reviews,
simply eliminate them from contention. You can choose whether you want
to solicit more estimates or not at this point.
Now that you have several estimates that you are comfortable with in
front of you, you can choose the winner. It may not necessarily be the
lowest bidder. Select the contractor or company you think understands
the most about your house, your needs, and the repair. In other words,
the one that will do the best job.
Call him/her up and arrange to have the repair done.
Sometimes you may feel pressure to make a decision quickly. This is
especially true if someone is leaning over you or asking you for a
decision immediately. The important thing is to take your time and
make the right decision for your needs. You must be absolutely
comfortable with the decision - after all its your home. If someone is
putting you in a pressure situation, ask for information in writing
and ask for some time to make a decision.
Selecting the right home energy contractor is a big decision - but it
doesn't have to be difficult! Follow these tips and you'll find
yourself more at ease.
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