I’m always shocked by the number of furnace installation companies there are out there. A search for emergency furnace repair in Toronto, for example, yields over 40 results in Google Maps. But even relatively small towns seem to have dozens of such companies, with their big box trucks sporting every possible variation of “air” and “comfort.”
That’s not always good news for homeowners. The sheer volume of competitors in the market makes it difficult to separate the amateurs from the pros.
Worse, many homeowners will jump and hire a company on short notice, without doing much in the way of background checks. When your furnace dies in the dead of winter, you want it fixed fast. This can be a costly mistake.
Before you hire someone to fix your furnace, you’ll want to make sure they’re competent. Here are some tips for finding competent furnace installation companies in your area, fast.
1. Watch Out for Paid Google Advertising
Suppose you’re looking for emergency furnace repair in Toronto. You do a Google search and glance through the top three results. Those must be the best guys and girls on the market, right?
Wrong. Look to the left of the result. See that little box with that says, “Ad”? That means the company paid to have their result shown in the top spot. While it’s not a strike against them, it doesn’t necessarily reflect competence, either.
You’ll want to scroll down a bit more before you pick your winner.
2. Check the Company’s Address
A search for local furnace installation companies should generate a listing of results in the Google knowledge panel — the box that includes a map. Before you choose who to call, check out the company’s address on Google Street View. If you don’t see the company’s name on the building, call the building’s owner to confirm the company actually works there. Fraudulent companies often pretend to have a physical when they don’t.
3. Look at the Reviews
This is the number one most important thing to keep in mind, whether you’re looking for emergency furnace repair in Toronto, air conditioner installation in Houston, or HVAC-related services anywhere else in the world.
It’s often said that people rarely bother to leave reviews on anything unless they’re especially happy or disappointed with the results. That’s largely true — and it’s kind of a good thing. You want to hear both ends of the spectrum. This will help you get a better picture of what you can expect from the company.
Yelp is a trustworthy source of user reviews, along with HomeStars in Canada or HomeAdvisor in the United States. Be more sceptical when it comes to Google Reviews, as some unscrupulous companies are known to purchase fake reviews en-masse to optimize their search engine results.
If the company has no reviews at all? Run. Either the company is brand new, fraudulent, or has recently shed its former name for one reason or another. None of these things is good for you as a homeowner!