5 Things to Look For Before hiring an HVAC Technician
Summer is about to arrive in Phoenix, and the hums of air conditioners will be ever-present for a good four months to come. These cooling machines are vital to our existence in the urban desert, much thanks to HVAC technicians. Of course, there is more to the job than air conditioning repair (HVAC = Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning). If you’re hiring an HVAC technician, or are interested in becoming one yourself, here are five things to look for in a qualified candidate.
High School degree
This is the first step in the process for most careers, and it’s no different for HVAC techs. High school students who would like a hands-on career in something like the HVAC industry should focus on math and science based courses as well as shop and any others that introduce real-world projects. Beyond that, one can either continue vocational schooling towards certification, or work in an apprenticeship. The latter is less formal training, but it gives a clear look into a day in the life of that career. Also, students can earn an income while they study.
HVAC repair can be a dangerous process – as is working with anything electrically powered. License requirements vary by state (you can check here for a state by state guide). Arizona specifically requires licensing by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. Beyond achieving the minimum required for a state, highly employable HVAC techs will have additional certifications. NATE certification (North American Technician Excellence) is the industry standard and proves that certified techs are not only trained, but they’re tested in real-world knowledge. According to the bureau of labor statistics, “Certifications can be helpful because they show that the technician has specific competencies. Some employers actively seek out industry-certified HVACR technicians.”
Breadth of experience
A solid HVAC technician doesn’t have to be the most senior person you can find. Simply be sure that they have some real world experience in the kind of repairs you are needing. Most will have had exposure to senior technicians in school or via apprenticeship.
A technician can always boast about the kind of work they personally do, but it speaks volumes when that praise is coming from a former customer or mentor. The internet is obviously another way to get a wealth of information, but the sources are not always the most sound. Word of mouth is a valuable way to ensure you are hiring the right people for the job. If you don’t have anyone that you’re able to ask directly, ask the technician for three professional references that you can call.
They make a good impression
This part is more of a gut check than anything, but that is not something to be dismissed! When you are looking for a technician, how do they come across on the phone? Are they polite and thorough? Short and rude? If you are having a first meeting in person, how are they dressed? A suit and tie is certainly not required, but general cleanliness and tidiness speak for themselves. Additionally, the best HVAC companies will not ask for a deposit up front. Some may, but be sure to read through any documentation to be signed prior to doing so. If you’re on a tighter budget, look for companies that offer a payment plan. Most will be willing to work with you depending on the complexity of the project.