Commercial HVAC Contracts & What to Watch out for
Where to begin when selecting a long-term HVAC contractor
A starting point is locating an HVAC company with decades of experience and a long history of qualifications, most importantly red seal certification. They should also be Alberta Construction Safety Association and COR certified. Journeymen HVAC technicians can be trusted to take care of your valuable equipment and alleviate stress. Not all HVAC companies will offer contracts that cover anything from maintenance to replacement of equipment. In any event it’s best to assess your equipment service needs and move forward from there. If a commercial HVAC contract has caught your attention, here are a few things to watch out for.
Renting of equipment over owning outright
Unbelievably, some commercial HVAC businesses out there will only rent out overpriced heating and cooling equipment as part of the contract. Should the end user of the equipment want to buy it before the end of the contract, there can be massive penalties and premiums. This is a common practice in residential HVAC contracts also. The inflated equipment cost with little that will go wrong in the initial years of operation may leave a bad taste in your mouth. It’s always best to own your equipment outright, without a contract or clause that may cut into annual operating budgets. JDC Mechanical is your trusted provider for HVAC maintenance contracts that keep your best interest in mind.
Additional fees for repairs, parts and labour
Often, a service contract can be used to maintain a set cost for maintenance and repair throughout the contract duration. Without reading the contract in detail, there can be hidden costs for repairs, parts and labour that are separate from maintenance which may or may not be covered under the terms of the contract. Outlining additional costs as time and materials is vague and something to watch out for along with clauses that allow for price fluctuations for anything such as inflation or at the discretion of product suppliers.
The contract may also stipulate a charge to source a third-party contractor for the repairs. These are the contracts to stay away from. A reputable contractor would never charge fees under the contract to source a third party for repairs. Some commercial HVAC maintenance contracts will charge monthly fees for maintenance but it should be transparent with terms and conditions that are clear. Contact us if you are considering signing an HVAC contract and we may be able to present a better option or at the very least make you aware of all your options depending on your equipment configuration.
Coverage and timelines for service
It’s important to familiarize yourself with the exact terms of the contract. They may only outline maintenance that is not relevant to your particular type of commercial heating and cooling equipment. There is a chance that it may partially cover the manufacturers required maintenance for warranty purposes and continuous coverage as well. The use of general terms like inspect, lubricate, adjust can leave your precious equipment not correctly serviced leading to costly failures or downtime.
Timeline for service can also be another way the contract protects the HVAC provider from liability should they not be able to rapidly attend an emergency service call. It this case, they can also have the right to call in another contractor who may not come with similar qualifications or they may not arrive until your equipment is damaged beyond repair. We offer 24/7 emergency service for our valued clients, simply put our priority is to prevent emergency breakdown with top to bottom inspection and routine maintenance that won’t gouge your budget.
Length of the contract
Contract length will vary from company to company but one thing is for certain, the longer the contract, the more it will cost you. There can also be penalties in the fine print for early cancellation or threaten legal action if the contract is not fulfilled completely. Potential termination of a contract before maturity is one reason to stay away from them all together. We have assisted clients in the past who were trapped in a contract only to share with them that the contract was needless and they could have easily gone with annual or bi-annual maintenance for their equipment over a monthly plan that cost them thousands. Trust our twenty-five years of experience and honesty at the core of our company values to help you save money and add longevity to your HVAC equipment.