Helpful Tips for Engaging Contractors

CPS Energy would like to offer its customers these tips when engaging a contractor for the installation of equipment and/or facilities.

  1. Check for complaints against the contractor with consumer agencies such as the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org). Check for favorable comments as well.
  2. Perform web research on the contractor and read all reviews. You can also find local contractors, along with ratings and reviews, from online consumer sources.
  3. Ask the contractor to provide you with a certificate of insurance indicating sufficient coverages to protect your interests (i.e. workers compensation, general liability, builder’s risk). Ask to be insured on their Commercial General Liability (CGL) policy.
  4. Ask the contractor for a list of current and previous customers who have given the contractor permission for you to contact them for reference. Be sure to contact them and take the time to discuss their experience by asking questions such as:
    • What was the original construction budget?
    • What was the final construction budget?
    • How would you describe the quality of the work?
    • Was the job site kept clean and organized?
    • Was the project completed on time?
    • Were any liens filed on your property?
    • Would you work with this contractor again?
  5. Ask the contractor for photos or drawings of the last five completed jobs that are similar to yours. When possible, ask to visit a completed project.
  6. Always check that the contractor is properly licensed to do the work that you require. Ask the contractor to provide proof of licensing for the work being done and verify the licensing (i.e. city, state) by contacting the licensing agency.
  7. Get estimates from at least three contractors and make sure you are receiving a competitive price on the work and that all of the proposed contractors understand the scope of the work in the same way.
  8. You should require a written contract and:
    • Review the contract thoroughly and make sure you understand it and that it has all necessary terms such as the items specified in the original bid, plus the final price, payment terms, sales tax, permit fees, the specific work to be performed, materials to be used, warranties, start and end date, change-order processes, final review, sign-off procedures and debris removal.
    • Make certain that the contract includes specific details regarding the quality of work and materials to be used such as the thickness or depth of insulation to be installed, the number of insulation bags to be installed, the SEER rating and model number of the A/C unit to be installed, etc.
    • Consider having an attorney review the contract before it is signed.
    • Review the rebate guidelines and be sure that the work will qualify for the desired rebate, if one is being applied for.
  9. Agree on a completion date and make sure that you and your contractor stick to it.
  10. Avoid paying a large deposit or too much up-front before the project starts and always pay with a credit card or check, never by cash. Before making the final payment, conduct a visual inspection of the entire project and make a punch list of any repairs or uncompleted work. Only provide final payment when the job has been satisfactorily completed per the terms of your contract!
  11. While many contractors require a down payment, be sure all payments are made consistent with what you agreed to in the contract. Pay incrementally and only as each significant phase of work is completed.
  12. Request signed lien releases from all major subcontractors and suppliers before making final payments. A lien release guarantees that the contractor has fully paid his materials suppliers.
  13. Be wary of a contractor who uses high-pressure or unusual sales techniques such as offering a special price if you immediately sign a contract, or refuses to apply for building permits and asks you to get them instead.
  14. Make the contractor all deficiencies before payments are made. Be firm and straightforward when discussing issues with contractors. If problems persist, consider contacting the licensing agency.
Be firm and straightforward when working with contractors. If problems persist, consider contacting licensing agency or the Better Business Bureau.

Licensed Contractors

CPS Energy has worked with the City of San Antonio to ensure that all licensed and permitted contractors are qualified to participate in our rebate program. With the exception of air flow and solar installation, CPS no longer has a list of preferred contractors.

CPS Energy does not authorize any contractor or company to use our name or logo for any marketing or solicitation of our customers. If a contractor or company contacts you claiming to be with or working for CPS, please contact our legal department.

Selecting a contractor

Better Business Bureau is your one stop to find trustworthy contractors. You can watch this quick two-minute video where we will help you get bids from companies for your upcoming energy saving improvement projects.

Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau has been serving homeowners and businesses in the San Antonio area since 1921. Once your assessment is complete, the Better Business Bureau will help you find reliable businesses and contractors that you can trust to make the most of your home energy upgrade. If you are considering a contractor that is not affiliated with the Better Business Bureau, contact the City of San Antonio to make sure they are licensed and bonded. If you’re a contractor or business interested in participating in the CPS Energy Savers program, contact the Better Business Bureau/Better Buildings for more information.

If you have an email address, follow these four easy steps below to start your bidding process.

Step 1: Go to the Better Business Bureau website at www.sanantonio.bbb.org and select the Request a Quote feature.

Step 2: Describe the type of work you are requesting. Provide all contact information and location.

Step 3: Choose your business category such as insulation or duct repair. Select at least three BBB accredited businesses that will contact you based on your project needs.

Step 4: Verify your request and submit. It’s just that easy…

If you don’t have an email address or need help requesting a quote call at 210-828-8752 and we will help put you in contact with Better Business Bureau Accredited contractors in your area.

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