What to Look for When Hiring a Plumbing or HVAC Contractor


While you can just pick the first name that comes up on Google, we caution you to do a little bit more digging. Whether you need routine maintenance, installation of fixtures or appliances, home remodeling or repairs, we highly recommend you work with a licensed plumber or HVAC technician.

What about a Handyman?  

Handymen are typically not licensed in plumbing or HVAC and do not carry a license for any particular trade – although there are specific licenses for Handymen. If you choose to hire a handyman, proof of license and commercial liability insurance is always a good idea.

Why? Hiring an unlicensed contractor could result in a major headache for you. If the work isn’t done correctly, even small leaks can result in major issues, and expensive repair costs. Not only might the work be done not up to code, but there may be dangerous consequences such as fire and/or leaking. The State of Arizona may even require that the work be removed, and they may issue fines to the homeowner.

When you hire an unlicensed provider, you take full responsibility for anything that goes wrong. You are liable for any injuries or damages to you, your home, or to the so-called “plumber,” who may not be licensed because they haven’t gone through proper training.

So, let’s go over a few steps on how to hire a licensed plumber or HVAC contractor.

  • A good first step is to find out if the company is licensed in the state where the work is to be performed – and for the type of work to be performed. Visit the Arizona Registrar of Contractors to verify that their license is current. 

    And you can be confident knowing who will perform the work in your home. Before a license is issued, the person that will hold the license must pass a background check and a licensing exam for their specific trade. Many companies require a background check for all of their employees as well.

  • Ensure there is a Surety Bond: The contractor should have a current Surety Bond to protect you where their contractor’s liability insurance company leaves off. It is in place to cover additional expenses such as fixing inferior work done by the contractor or paying for damages related to a contractor’s illegal practices. The Arizona Registrar Of Contractors will list any existing claims against the contractor within the past 2 years.

  • Commercial Liability Insurance is a must for every contractor in the event a problem occurs and your contractor is at fault. Liability insurance will help to cover any claims related to property damage or bodily injury. 

  • Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints filed against the contractor and, if and how the complaints were resolved.

  • References are also a good idea. Check references from past customers to get a feel for the type of work that the contractor is known for in your community.

  • Get recommendations from neighbors, co-workers, friends and family. 

Just remember that the end result should always be work that is reliable, safe, and up to code. Your licensed contractor is responsible for pulling permits for items like water heaters, furnaces, air conditioners, gas lines and more through the City of Flagstaff or Coconino County, depending on which jurisdiction you live in.

Take your time in hiring a licensed plumber and HVAC technician that does quality work – they oversee important parts of your home. It’s simply not worth the risk to cut corners.