Need to Hire an HVAC Contractor to Service Your Commercial Building? What to Look For
Hiring a commercial HVAC contractor is critical to achieving the specified efficiency and performance level from your facility’s heating and cooling equipment. This is a job for a technician who is specialized in routine maintenance of high-tonnage, high-demand systems that can withstand commercial service. This is generally a separate discipline from light residential HVAC work.
Hiring a commercial HVAC contractor means you’ll receive experience specific to the unique requirements of your commercial heating and cooling system, as well as a company that’s invested in specialized equipment for large units. In addition, commercial heating and cooling firms employ teams of technicians who usually possess recognized industry certification for working with large capacity equipment.
Here’s what to look for when hiring a commercial HVAC contractor:
Most states provide online verification of an HVAC contractor’s license. In Delaware, the state Division of Professional Registration administers the HVAC contractor licensing process, so the status of any contractor’s license can be verified by visiting the agency’s website. Oftentimes, HVAC contracting involves plumbing work to pipe natural gas to heating equipment, as well as other water-related functions.
Unless the HVAC contractor subcontracts this work to an outside plumbing contractor, certain employees of the contractor may also hold a master plumber’s license in addition to an HVAC license.
Most states also require licensed contractors to be bonded. The bond benefits the customer who works with the contractor. If the contractor fails to bring the project to completion or neglects to acquire permits, pay subcontractors, employees, suppliers or meet other financial requirements, the bond serves as an insurance policy to ensure the individual or company that hired the contractor isn’t liable for those financial obligations. It may also compensate the customer if the contractor’s work proves to be defective or sub-standard and requires replacement.
The Delaware Division of Revenue issues bonds to contractors and normally requires a 6 percent surety bond for all HVAC and other contracting work with a cost of $20,000 or more. Full bonding is considered a basic requirement of any reputable contracting business and should always be verified when hiring a commercial HVAC contractor.
A legitimate contractor carries at least two types of insurance. For most contractors, insurance represents a considerable expense and most are readily able to provide proof of required insurance upon request.
General liability insurance (GLI) covers any damage that might occur to your property or possessions during the course of the contracted work. It also provides insurance in the event of any injuries occurring at the job site. A reputable contractor will generally be able to show you a Certificate of General Liability Insurance (GLI). However, just having the certificate doesn’t prove coverage. When hiring a commercial HVAC contractor, you might also want to take down the name of the insurance agency shown on the certificate and call to verify that the policy is still in effect.
Workmen’s compensation insurance is a program administered on the state level that provides payment for medical expenses and injuries suffered by the contractor’s employees. In most states, workmen’s comp insurance policies are offered by private providers. Any legitimate, established local contractor large enough to perform commercial HVAC work will have all employees covered under workmen’s compensation insurance and can provide written proof.
Whichever contractor you decide to hire, remember to get everything in writing and retain those documents. This begins with the written estimate and includes the contract for the work, invoices, records of payment and any written communications with the contractor, like e-mails and letters.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information about hiring a commercial HVAC contractor and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!