How to choose an HVAC company for an install?

We're considering replacing a furnace and a/c system. From all that I've r
ead the caliber of the installation crew is of great importance. What I'm
struggling with is determining how to choose a company with good installers
. I've tried talking to neighbors but have concluded that unless that neig
hbor has some hvac expertise it's not clear how useful their input on the i
nstall is. So what does one do? Any insights on how to pick a company whi
ch would result in a quality install would be welcomed!
Adding to the confusion is that most companies appear to deal with a partic
ular brand that they push - I suspect they get volume discounts the more un
its they sell. And each salesperson, naturally, tells you why that particu
lar brand is better than the rest. Once upon a time there were distinct ti
ers of manufacturers but these days, with mergers and acquisitions, things
are a lot more confusing - at times it can be the same unit with a differen
t badge when the parent company is the same. It almost seems that if can f
ind a company I'm comfortable with I should just go with their recommended
brand as that's what their installers are probably the most familiar with.
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