May 2008
Choosing a Contractor: Don't Take Your Chances

Often in the Gasette, we talk about using a qualified licensed contractor to work on, install or service gas appliances in your home. But you may be wondering, "What is a licensed contractor, and just what makes one 'qualified?'"

Whether a contractor is installing an expensive furnace or just performing an annual inspection on an appliance, you want the job done right. Here are a few things to consider when hiring a contractor that will help you determine if they are qualified for the job.

  1. References
    Have you checked the references of the contractor you are about to hire? If not, you could be taking a chance. Ask your friends and family to recommend a contractor to work on your home. If you don't elicit any ideas there, ask the contractor for references. A contractor who can't provide references is not a person to do business with.
  2. Training
    Does the company provide training to its employees on the appliance you are asking them to work on? Often, equipment manufacturers or technical schools offer seminars or classes to train contractors on installing, repairing, maintaining and servicing gas appliances.
  3. Insurance
    Any company that you do business with should have insurance - both liability, to protect your property against damage, and workers' compensation, to protect their employees if they become injured on your property.
  4. Licenses
    Many types of contractors, like HVAC contractors, must have a license to operate in Georgia, and possibly in the counties and cities where they work. Contact the Georgia Department of Labor to determine if the contractor you are looking to hire is required to have a license.
  5. Service
    If you are about to buy a new appliance, make sure that the contractor you choose to install it can service the product as well.
  6. Thorough
    Does the contractor take time to answer your questions? If they can't take time to answer a few questions, it's not likely they will take the time to do a thorough job.
  7. Knowledge
    A good contractor will perform necessary calculations on your home when installing certain new appliances, such as a furnace. Of course, your intuition will often tell you if a contractor is knowledgeable.