When it comes time to replace your windows, how can you be confident you’re choosing the right contractor for the job? Hiring a window installer is similar to hiring other professionals in the building industry – you should do your research beforehand to ensure a good outcome.
The experts at Simonton Windows have created the following checklist to help you hire the best window installer for your project.
- Seek out written estimates from at least three different installers. If there are price variations, ask for an explanation and don’t simply select the lowest bidder. Have the installers itemize their estimates.
- Verify professional licenses, insurance policies and bonding.
- Do a background check through Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau or other agencies in your area on any contractor you’re seriously considering for the project.
- Determine if the project bid being offered by an installer is an estimate or a fixed price. If it’s an estimate, determine a specific amount by which the price could increase on the job and set a cap.
- Visit current jobsites of installers you’re interviewing to see their safety practices and how they treat the homes and property, and to gain a feeling for their work skills.
- Consult with your homeowner’s insurance company to see if there is anything else you should keep in mind when having work done on your home.
- Don’t be pressured or rushed into signing anything because of an installer’s limited availability or special promotions. When it comes to picking the right installer, it’s important to take your time.
- Make sure you completely understand all the terms and conditions of a contract before signing.
- Discuss interior and exterior access to your home with the potential installers. Ask about their cleanup and bad weather policies and what other situations may influence their performance. Make sure the installers and their subcontractors are bonded.
- If your project is estimated at more than $6,000, investigate the option of having the installer post a performance bond for the entire cost of the project.
When you've narrowed down your list of possible installers to the most promising candidates, make sure to ask all of them the following questions:
- How long have you been in business?
- How long have you been installing replacement windows?
- Have you ever been sued?
- Are you licensed and registered with our state?
- How many window installation projects have you done in the past 12 months?
- Will my project require a permit? If so, will you obtain it?
- What building codes must be followed?
- What safety precautions will you take?
- May I have a list of references for at least four previous clients?
- What projects are you currently working on, and can I visit the jobsites?
- Will you be using subcontractors? If so, can you supply all insurance and licenses for them?
- Do you carry personal liability, worker’s compensation and property damage insurance coverage?
- Are you bonded?
- What is your requested payment schedule for a window installation project?
- How do you prefer payment? (Note: Do not pay cash.)
- Which manufacturer’s windows have you installed in the past?
- How long do you think my window replacement will take from start to finish?
- Is disposal of my current windows covered in the price of the project?
- What kind of written warranties or guarantees do you offer on your services?
- Which window brands do you recommend and why?
- Where do you purchase the windows for your projects?
These items will help you get started in your search for a trustworthy window installer for your window replacement project. For additional suggestions, check with your local Better Business Bureau, home builder’s association and other local professional organizations.