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A new dentist after you bite down wrong on that cookie. And you’ll need to find a new mechanic when the mini-van won’t go into reverse.

When I lived in Iowa, I didn’t think much about air conditioning. When I relocated to Phoenix one August and my AC started blowing warm air when it was 115 degrees outside, finding a reliable cooling specialist vaulted to the top of my “must find” list.

So what to look for when hiring a plumbing/cooling/heating specialist?

Look for an established company. Every service industry has “fly by night” companies. They’ll advertise low prices. Let’s be honest, all of us like the idea of paying less. But what happens when they repair your pipes and a month later it’s leaking again? They are no longer anywhere to be found.

Look for an established company that has facilities in the community. A place where you can walk in the front door and meet the owners.

Make sure they are licensed. Each state requires plumbing/HVAC companies and their sub-contractors to be licensed. To obtain this license they must prove competency and a level of expertise.

Make sure they are insured. States require licensed contractors to be insured. Why is this important? Let’s suppose you hire a plumbing company to re-pipe your house and in the process they accidentally break a main water line that is shared with the public, the insurance will take care of the damage.

Speaking of insurance, make sure they carry workman’s compensation and liability insurance. Workman’s compensation will cover their employees in the event they are injured on the job. Liability insurance protects the company in the event their mistake causes damage or loss to your home and/or property.

In our “sue happy” culture, this is another reason not to hire fly by night companies. Suppose you agree to the deal that Joe “Lowest Price Around” Plumber offers you and he hurts his back digging up a pipe in your backyard. He can sue you as the homeowner for damages because the injury happened on your property.Crazy? Yes. And it happens far more often than you think.

Make sure you check out their reputation in the community. This is where social media sites like Angie’s List are very helpful. They will provide feedback about the company’s reputation and satisfaction rating within the community. We expect every company to say they are the best. Yet nothing speaks more highly of any company than a long list of happy customers.

Make sure you feel comfortable with them. This criteria is a bit more subjective but it’s important. You need to feel at ease with the company that will be doing your construction or repairs.

Here are some things to observe: Are they friendly? Are they prompt in answering and returning your calls? Did they show up on time for their appointment to give you an estimate? And if they didn’t, did they call to say they were running late? Did they provide you with a detailed price list and estimate for the job at hand? Did treat you as though your business was valuable to them? Were they courteous?

Quality companies treat smaller jobs with the same respect they show to large projects. That’s why these companies are successful. If the company you call acts like they are doing you a favor to show up and gives you the feeling they don’t care if they get your business or not, then it’s time to call another company. Chances are that same “we don’t care” attitude will carry over into the job they do.

Last but absolutely not least, do not make price your only consideration. The old adage is really true. “You tend to get what you pay for.” Or as John Ruskin put it, “There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man’s lawful prey.”

Your friends at Sinclair are long established in the Lubbock community. They routinely receive Angie’s List top award for excellence. Most important, they care about you the customer. Call today and they’ll be happy to answer any of your plumbing, heating or cooling questions. 806-749-COOL (2665)

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