Certification for Quality InstallationSome window manufacturers recommend installers that are specifically trained and certified to use their products. Using contractors that are familiar with the windows to be installed will have experience and expertise in that brand and will complete the installation successfully. In addition, using a contractor for purchase and installation prevents discrepancies if problems crop up later down the road. Buying windows from one contractor and using another for installation could lead to a back-and-forth blame game that will only frustrate you and leave the problem unresolved. Figure out how complaints are handled with your specific contractor and research previous customer experiences with the company. The American Window and Door Institute offer certification for contractors and you can also check credentials at InstallationMasters. Using a certified contractor assures you that the contractor knows what he or she is doing.
Double-Check and Do Your ResearchEven with certifications, you will never know the true quality of your contractor’s work unless you do your own digging. Consult with the local Better Business Bureau; city, county, and state licensing, and local construction trade associations. Make sure to get ahold of the full address of the contractor you are considering and find out how long they have been in business. In most cases, the longer, the better. However, don’t ostracize new contractors completely. There are plenty of quality contractors even with newer companies. Just make sure to research customer reviews on sites such as Angie’s List to ensure you are hiring someone who will provide you with a quality installation. Whether or not you choose to go with a contractor who has been in business for a long time, be sure to ask for proof of insurance.
The Importance of InsuranceHiring a contractor with insurance guarantees protection for you in the case that an accident happens during installation. Ask for proof of general liability insurance and worker’s compensation coverage. This type of insurance protects you in case of on-site injury, but understand that insured contractors are usually at a higher cost. Nevertheless, be weary of uninsured contractors. They may be cheaper to hire, but there is much greater risk involved. Contractors may not be insured because they are not full-time, they are self-employed, new to the business, or cannot afford the premiums. Ultimately, it is your decision to make. In either case, spend time researching each potential contractor and know exactly what to expect.
Understand the ProcessMaybe this is your first time going through the process of window installation. Maybe you’ve done this before, but have had less-than-stellar results and want to thwart that possibility the second time around. No matter the case, make sure to understand the process and to ask every contactor you have in mind many questions. An experienced installer should tell you how long the job is expected to take. Ask as many questions as you need to understand the process of installation. It’s always better to have the new window installed immediately after the old one is removed. The installer should take measurements of each window before ripping it out for replacement. Otherwise, you could end up with holes in your wall as you wait for the new windows to arrive. Hiring a contractor who measures the windows beforehand will ensure that you get your new windows right away.
Ask for a ProposalAn estimate is short and not always clear. You will get a price sticker, a general product description, but no options. Instead, ask your contractor for a proposal. A proposal is a tentative agreement that provides you with a good, better, and best option. You will see three choices for product, and you will have a detailed description of the price range with each option so you can decide for yourself what works for you and your budget. Try to obtain proposals from a few contractors. Scrutinize all of your options. Proposals will include details like the number of windows to be installed, the size and brand, the possibility of add-ons, and the process of insulation and sealing. Labor and material costs should be broken down in detail. After you read each proposal, you should have a clear idea of the process and its expected results.
Choosing Your ContractorAfter you’ve researched testimonials, reviews, proof of insurance and certification, and proposals, it’s time to choose your contractor. Don’t make a hasty decision and regret the consequences. Take your time and choose the contractor that is best for the job. Often times, the more information you can find about the company, the better. At the end of the day, it is you who lives in your home. Ensure that the job is done right by hiring a quality contractor.