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Choosing The Right Contractor

Whether you're considering replacing your air conditioning system or remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, you first need the right contractor.  With all of the clutter and options, how do you make heads or tails out of choosing the right contractor for your home improvement project?

With the cooperation of the Attorney General and the local Better Business Bureau, we gathered ten time-tested tips for identifying the best contractor for your project.

  1. Before making your choice, check with the Better Business Bureau and affiliated state and community agencies for a company history of complaints and more importantly, resolutions to those complaints to make sure the company stands behind its work.
  2. Ask for references:  Current customers are an excellent source of information and are often willing to share their experience.
  3. Check local licenses:  Ask to see their license, bonding, workers compensation and general liability insurance coverage.
  4. Get a detailed written proposal:  Beware of companies that do not back up their offer in a detailed written proposal. A detailed written proposal is one sign of a quality contractor.
  5. Heat loss-heat gain calculation:  Expect a thorough calculation performed with an on-site evaluation. A good contractor should measure your home, check insulation factors and evaluate your overall comfort needs.
  6. Equipment/labor warranties and guarantees: Warranties and guarantees vary according to manufacturer and dealer.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and demand that they are included in the written estimate.
  7. Follow contract law:  Demand that your contractor follows contract law. A new comfort system is a big decision and with big decisions comes responsibility. According to Georgia law, all home improvement contracts include a 3-day right to cancel.
  8. Ask your contractor about the maintenance requirements of your new system:  Does the contractor offer maintenance services? A maintenance agreement is one of the best ways to ensure your system's long-term performance, reliability and safety.
  9. Know and understand the contract:  Beware of ambiguous contracts and again, ask lots of questions.  It is very important to understand all aspects of the agreement with your contractor before any work begins.
  10. Get more than one estimate or reference:  If you are uncomfortable making your decision for any reason, get several estimates and check references.  More information is better, however compare more than just price when evaluating estimates. Look for the best value!

The Consequences of Choosing the Wrong Contractor:

By selecting a quality heating, cooling, plumbing or electrical contractor you will avoid many of the common home improvement hazards including:

  • Frequent system breakdowns
  • Improper installation
  • Unsafe and/or inefficient operation
  • Shortened equipment life
  • Poor service
  • High energy bills
  • Voiding of factory warranties
  • Theft, property damage or worse
  • Building Code Infractions and penalties

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