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1. Study Up – Find out if they are a licensed contractor and if there is special insurance and permits required for them to do work on your home. Also take note of exactly what you are looking to accomplish by having them do the work on your home and note and problem areas in the home.

2. Get Referrals – The best way to find out if a contractor performs above par is to speak to people who have previously dealt with them on a project. Speak to your family, neighbors and co-workers and see if they have anyone they recommend.

3. Get References – Ask the contractor for his own references and ask questions like if the job was completed on time and within the budget originally quoted.

4. Ask About Federal and State Rebates – Ask the contractor if he knows of any federal, state or local rebates for brands and models of the type of equipment you are looking for. Any way you can lower the cost of the equipment is an added bonus.

5. Expect A Home Evaluation – The contractor should spend time inspecting your current system and assess your needs. They should size the system based on the size of your house, the insulation and how much glass is in the space. Any good contractor should be able to tell you in detail why they are choosing the piece of equipment they are selling to you.

6. Get Written And Itemized Estimates – When you compare your contractor’s proposals you want a line by line comparison to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. In other words you want to make sure that even though they give you the same price on the proposal that one isn’t including service and maintenance for the next 3 years and the other isn’t.

7. Get It In Writing – Have both you and your contractor sign a copy of the proposal before you let them get to work. It will protect you when it comes to the type of equipment being provided, pricing, schedule and warranty