HVAC Licensing Requirements
It’s easily apparent to see just how many options homeowners have when it comes to choosing an HVAC company or contractor. A brief scan of the Yellow Pages, a quick search on Google, or even a short browse of social media will provide a myriad of options available to choose from to provide for your home’s heating and air conditioning needs. That’s all well and good, but what’s really behind all of those snazzy ads and catchy buzzwords?
This first statement is very disconcerting to most people and I underline it for emphasis…Our market is an unregulated market. This means that there is little or no licensing required in order for someone to provide many of the specialty trade services within our homes. Among these trades are plumbers, electricians, HVAC installers and technicians. With rare exception, there are very few requirements or protections in place to ensure quality of work and safe workmanship practices on nearly every type of repair or replacement project within our service area. Sadly, any “One Truck Chuck” with a set of magnetic signs on his truck and a tool bag can call himself a plumber, electrician, HVAC contractor…or all of the above.
Benefits of an Unregulated Market
As scary as this may sound, there are actually some benefits of an unregulated market to the consumer.
- First and foremost is price. You see, these unskilled workers and unqualified tradesmen actually drive down the price of goods and services being sold. Lower wages, lower overhead, lower quality of work, and the absence of permitting and associated inspections all contribute to a lower cost of goods and services to the end user. Time and again, we find ourselves forced to try to compete in this space in order to maintain market share despite having invested so much more into providing qualified workers for your home. The cost of hiring skilled professionals, ongoing training, and support systems are often overlooked in favor of a lower price when selecting a service provider.
- Another benefit of an unregulated market to the consumer is time. We’ve been spoiled in this area and take for granted just how quickly we can get things done. Because a single technician or installer can perform all of the trades, jobs get done quicker. Imagine having a furnace and a/c system installed into your home and having to employ three different trades (and potentially three different permits and inspectors) to get the job done:
- A Plumber to run the gas line
- An Electrician to provide the wiring
- An HVAC Tech to handle the ductwork, venting, and start-up of the system.
This situation is actually a reality among much of the rest of the country. Personally, I’d much prefer it to be this way here as well. A smaller core of qualified and licensed contractors is a win-win in my mind.
On the flip side of things, there is much to dislike about our unregulated market. One of the things that sticks in my craw the most is how freely those in our trades use the term “licensed”. Let