One of the most important steps in your window replacement project is the phone calls to your potential contractor.
Talking to them on the phone is your opportunity to vet your potential installation expert and decide whether or not they are going on your shortlist.
Of course, you will only be able to make the final decision after a face-to-face meeting with your potential contractor, but if you can get the first phone call right, you could save a lot of time and money.
During the calls, you have the opportunity to ask critical questions and ensure that you’ve covered the foundational basis of appointing a contractor to best suit your specific and unique needs.
Below we’ve compiled a simple guide to vetting potential contractors for your window replacement project.
How Long Has The Company Been in Business?
It goes without saying that, the longer a company has been in business, the better. There simply is no substitute for experience. Companies that have been operational for less than 3 years should carefully be scrutinized. This does not mean that they should be totally avoided, however, as a new company could still have experienced employees with amazing technical knowledge and local expertise. Also, keep in mind that a newer contractor should be a lot more competitive and offer lower rates and warranties so that you still have some room for negotiation.
Are They Licenced and Insured?
Not all states require window installers to be licensed, so be sure to check with your state. All legitimate window installation contractors will carry comprehensive liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and property damage coverage.
Without this, you run a massive risk of liability if any accidents were to happen during the installation. You can easily verify this by asking about the relevant certifications and licensing, which they should be able to produce copies of before you accept their quote.
How Much Installation Experience Do They Have?
Installing new replacement windows can change the energy efficiency of your home and lower your overall heating and cooling costs. However, much relies on the installation itself. With poor installations, your windows may not function optimally. When discussing your options with a window installer, keep in mind that a trustworthy, professional window installer will have keen insight regarding all the types of window installations that are popular in your local region. They should also be able to give you a ball-park estimate but, more importantly, insist on an individual assessment of your property before they commit to any installations.
Equally, once on site, your contractor should be able to look at all the opportunities your home presents to qualify for local, regional, federal tax incentives, as well as other ways to possibly save. That’s why finding an experienced contractor is so essential.
Can They Provide References?
Don’t be shy to ask for references or referrals. Get contact information and follow up – not only get a feel for the type of work they did, but also what type of experience you will be letting yourself in for by allowing this contractor onto your property. If you are able to view any of their previous work, even better.
How to Deal With An Estimate
Once you receive an estimate from the contractor you are considering, check that they have entered a full breakdown of all expenses as well as a clear explanation of how the costs were calculated. If you’re not sure of anything, ask for clarification. Also, be sure to agree that any unexpected changes or expenses to the project will have to be presented and agreed upon in writing.
What About Warranties?
Most window installation contractors should offer manufacturer’s warranties included in the overall cost calculation. This will serve to protect you against any manufacturer’s defects. Equally, most contractors will offer workmanship warranties that last for up to a year – enough for any problem with installation or materials to show up. Under these 2 warranties, any problems with your installation or windows should be corrected by your chosen contractor. Keep in mind that a workmanship warranty is simply a means for contractors to back up their own work and stand behind the quality of their own workmanship. Even if problems arise after your workmanship warranty is expired, most reliable contractors will still be willing to assist. However, be sure to clarify what is, and what is not, covered in your warranty.