However, for most homeowners, the question isn’t when they need replacement windows, but how to find the right window contractor for the job.
Everyone has had at least one horror story about getting “duped” by a contractor and losing money. As a result, most want to avoid this at all costs.
If this sounds like you, then it’s time to take control of the situation and ask the questions found here before hiring a window contractor.
1. What’s the Full Name and Physical Address of the Company?
This may sound silly. After all, any contractor is going to provide this upfront, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Many companies may provide potential customers with a post office box, this isn’t acceptable. Request the full, physical address (actual location of the business). Try to find a contractor who has an office nearby.
This proves they run a legitimate business and can help provide better service and faster response time.
2. Is the Business Licensed?
While not all states require window contractors to be licensed, you need to find out if yours is. Also, keep in mind that a business license isn’t the same thing as a contractor’s license.
Business licenses are merely for tax purposes and say nothing about the contractor’s abilities or skills when it comes to replacing windows.
Be sure the contractor you are considering hiring is fully licensed. Ensure they have the credentials, skills, and ability to provide the services you need.
3. Does the Company Carry the Proper/Required Insurance?
Contractors need to carry comprehensive liability insurance, as well as workers’ compensation insurance. This protects you (the homeowner) if an accident occurs.
You can verify insurance coverage by requesting to see the contractor’s insurance certificates. Be sure that you see certificates for the right types of insurance, as some contractors may try to show you auto, life or health insurance coverage.
This is not the same and in no way protects you in the event of an accident or contractor caused damage to your home.
4. How Long Has the Contractor Been in the Replacement Window Business?
Something that’ pretty obvious is that the longer a contractor has been in the window replacement business, the better.
While new businesses may have a bright future, it’s also important to remember the failure rate of these companies is high. 66 percent fail within the first 10 years.
As a result, you want to go with a business that has passed this hump and that will be there down the road if any issues arise.
5. Can the Company Provide References or Referrals from Previous Jobs?
It’s a good idea to request pictures of past work the window contractor has done. Local window installers may even be able to direct you to actual customer’s homes where they have done work.
It’s a good idea to request a list of at least 10 names and phone numbers of past customers over the last year. While you don’t have to check all 10, you can check with a few to get a good idea of the type of service provided by the company.
6. Does the Contractor or Company Offer a Warranty?
The warranties offered by window contractors vary. However, the general warranty you will find is for one year.
The fact is, longer warranties are more valuable than shorter ones. What’s important is the ability and intent of the contractor to honor their warranty policy.
You can also find out if a contractor is true to their word by utilizing the customer referrals mentioned above.
The warranty offered should cover workmanship, and the manufacturer of the windows you had installed should offer warranties as well.
Quality contractors are going to offer to fix any issues, even if the workmanship warranty has expired. This is because any reliable, local contractor will want to always stand behind their work.
7. How Does the Company Handle Customer Complaints? What’s their Track Record of Successful Resolutions?
You need to find out how a window contractor handles issues if they come up. Be sure to request a referral from a job that included some type of complaint.
Also, be sure to ask the contractor if they lost a job-related court case, or if their license was ever suspended.
It may be wise to speak with industry-specific authorities, such as licensing departments, and the BBB to check for complaints. Remember, the complaint isn’t the issue, it’s whether the contractor took steps to resolve the problem.
8. What Steps Does the Contractor Take to Protect Your Home and Belongings?
When you are having new windows installed in your home, there’s going to be people in and out of your house. There is a high likelihood of dirt and debris getting everywhere.
A quality contractor will have a process in place that helps to protect your home and belongings.
They should cover anything nearby that may be possibly affected if it isn’t movable, and wear covers on shoes to prevent damage to flooring.
If the contractor doesn’t have a plan action to protect your home and belongings, this could be a red flag.
Hire the Right Window Contractor by Asking the Right Questions
When you ask the right questions, you can feel confident you are hiring the right window contractor for the job.
Don’t rush in when making this decision. Take your time and be sure the window replacement contractor you hire meets your needs and specifications.
If you need help or advice or would like a free estimate, feel free to reach out to our professional staff.