How To Find A Qualified Commercial HVAC Company
How To Find A Qualified Commercial HVAC Company
Sometimes, just combining those words with commercial HVAC is almost oxymoronic.
Top that with the cost of commercial heating and cooling services, and suddenly you have a bigger problem.
Many facility managers talk with their counterparts in other regions or companies, and ask for recommendations for excellent national HVAC service companies. And that’s completely normal, and we truly recommend that approach.
However, sometimes commercial HVAC service providers are buried with work orders from their current customers. So, taking on a new customer can cause a challenge in their operations. Especially if they are a smaller company without systems and procedures established. Or even have an HVAC data analyst employed at the company.
Furthermore, as a facilities manager, you aren’t just working with one trade expert. You have other service providers you need to manage. So, adding a commercial HVAC company that is unreliable will not only cause frustration with you and your team, but could also affect the facilities revenue.
With that said, we want to give you and other facility managers an opportunity to sift through commercial HVAC companies to find the most reliable, trusted and fairly priced business partner.
And, we keep using business partner because that is what they are.
Is Your Commercial HVAC Service Provider Licensed, Insured and permitted?
These top 3 suggestions should really be requirements. So many Facilities Managers get stuck on “what’s your hourly rate?” that they neglect the importance of licensed, insured and permitted.
Does your HVAC company have insurance coverage?
Sounds like a silly question, but you would be amazed how many unethical HVAC companies don’t even take the time to get general liability insurance. To take it a step further, it would be nice that these HVAC business partners also have some sort of umbrella policy too. Why do these commercial heating and cooling companies need insurance? If an HVAC technician causes damage to your facility’s property, gets injured on the job, or even worse – injures an employee, you’re covered.
Does your HVAC company hire certified and screened employees?
Now, some states may not require a license or certification to hire an HVAC technician. Bizarre, right?!?! Well, do your do diligence. Ask for proof. Many states require it, but doesn’t hurt to ask. Below are some recommended certifications and licenses that is nice to see a commercial HVAC company require their technicians to obtain.
- EPA 608 Certification – This government certification allows for HVAC technicians to know how to handle residential and commercial refrigeration.
- MSCA (Mechanical Service Contractors of America) STAR Certification – This is basically the equivalency of a college degree for the HVAC trade. Also requires that all participants complete 3 years of on-the-job training or internship.
- Screened and Background checks – This is critical, especially if your facility is in government, childcare, or any other industry that houses sensitive data. Some of the most reliable and professional commercial HVAC companies already make this a requirement for employment.
- Does your HVAC have proper permits and understand building codes? – Every city has its own codes and legal requirements when it comes to working on HVAC equipment. This is even more important when your facility or warehouse needs installation. Now, a qualified and reliable commercial HVAC company should also manage and organize all paperwork, pull all necessary permits, hire engineers (if needed), etc. Why? That guarantees that the HVAC company is following proper city codes, and helps your facility pass inspections.
What Sort Of Innovations and Technology Is Your Commercial HVAC Company Using?
Plus, there is a belief that commercial companies will adapt to new residential technologies about 5-10 years out. That means, if it’s been in the residential market space for 5+ years, expect businesses to adopt the new technology.
This has been seen with Blackberry and iPhones. More recently, companies like Ecobee have made a shift in the industry.
Time Equals Money, And HVAC Technology Will Save BOTH
When you’re researching a commercial HVAC company, you want to get an idea of what they do to leverage technology to make them more efficient. Here are some tips to consider:
- Do They Use A Facilities Management Software – There are plenty of SaaS CMMS platforms out there, such as ServiceChannel, Corrigo, OfficeTrax, FacilitySource, and more. As a facilities manager, you need these tools to manage your work orders and save on paperwork. If your commercial HVAC company is NOT versed on these platforms, you may want to find another company.
- GPS and Fleet Management Systems – You’ve probably heard the horror stories of HVAC technicians not showing up to a location or being dishonest of their ETA. Sometimes, this can be managed with phones, GPS, and geo sites.
- Mobile Devices – The days of using a flip phone is dying. HVAC service technicians should be provided with smartphones or tablets to improve their work. This allows them to access work orders, parts information, and simple work history.
Is Your Commercial HVAC Company Riding the Energy Savings Trend?
This is not to say that energy consciousness is a “trend” or “wave”, rather the market is shifting in this direction. And, your commercial heating and cooling business partner needs to align themselves with these values. Plus, you may manage a facility that is 30,000 square feet, and your boss is probably on you to find ways to reduce costs in your locations. An expert HVAC company should be able to provide a variety of solutions to meet your business’s goals. Whether that is replacing older HVAC equipment, retrofitting current systems, or suggesting a better preventative maintenance program – they should have a plan for your facilities.
- Outside The Box Solutions For Your Facility – A reputable commercial HVAC company provides solutions, options, and recommendations for your equipment, assets, and configuration. Make sure to partner with a commercial heating and cooling provider that can help you plan for replacements of units within your budget. Sometimes, these plans can go over the span of 3-5 years, but it’s completely worth the discussion. They should help you with capital expenditures, recommend WHEN to buy equipment, and how to best install them.
Do You Trust Your Commercial Heating and Cooling Vendor?
This is a silly question, but it is imperative that you trust your National HVAC service vendor.
However, this is also a 2-way street. When you trust your HVAC provider, you also need to take their recommendations on service, repair, maintenance, and more.
Ethical HVAC companies have high standards of service and hold their technicians accountable, yet empowers them to make the best decision possible.
CMI Mechanical Customer Success Story
CMI Mechanical HVAC and Refrigeration currently have a customer that is a top 10 department store in the country. Their business model is unique because they have been around for 50+ years, so many of their large facilities are housing old equipment, such as boilers.
First of all, with the way technology has evolved, rooftop units are the norm for newer type buildings. But replacing older equipment with newer assets is cost prohibitive for nearly any company. These projects need to be budgeted.
However, this client that CMI Mechanical earned their business, is not in a position to take on a replacement program. Therefore, our team of technicians needs to understand how to service, repair and maintain boilers.
Not only that, but when a problem arises, our Director of National Accounts needs to occasionally diagnose a problem over the phone. Why? Since boilers are quite old, parts are not typically stocked as easily. This requires the CMI Mechanical team to become creative with an immediate solution. In the process, parts are ordered and eventually installed.
Why is this important?
As a facilities manager, you want to partner with a commercial heating and cooling company that is responsive. They need to understand the various pieces of equipment, whether it’s chillers, cooling towers, boilers, rooftop units and more.
In addition, they need to provide immediate solutions to your business, in order to mitigate downtime.
Since CMI Mechanical has been in the HVAC and mechanical business for 40+ years, and we also have a former facilities manager spearheading the way. We can solve nearly any problem. And make sure you are being well taken care of throughout the process.