When your home needs new windows, you have a lot of important issues to consider. Though windows are a comparatively small part of your home, replacing all of them could be a very expensive job.
Aside from paying for quality materials, you’re also dealing with a fairly hands-on and labor-intensive project. Depending on the size and type of window installed, this appointment can cost you anywhere from $500 to $2000 per window.
When you’re funneling that much cash into a project, you need some sort of guarantee that it’ll be done right. This means choosing a qualified contractor for the job.
You certainly shouldn’t hire the first contractor you come across in your search. It’s better to get at least three bids from contractors who seem reputable. That way you can compare and contrast three good options and select the best company for the job.
Interviewing your contractor is one of the most vital steps in this bidding process. There are a lot of contractor scams out there. People will pose as certified contractors, charge you an arm and a leg for the job, and then skip out on services or do poor work.
When you try tracking them down to complain, they’ve disappeared. By interviewing your contractors before making a hire, you can avoid this embarrassing and distressing charade.
During this process, you’ll want to conduct careful interviews that cover all your bases. Each of the three contractors you interview should be able to answer queries to your satisfaction. Here are some of the questions you might ask.
What’s your typical timeline?
This is a slightly complicated question for most contractors to answer, because it depends entirely on the job being performed. Windows that are larger and use specific materials may take longer to install.
Wood windows, for example, often take more time because they aren’t painted until after they’re installed. They require time for sanding, applying primer, and painting the windows. The material of your home’s siding can delay a project as well. Stucco and brick is more difficult to work with, for example, than James Hardie Siding or vinyl.
Typically, it takes about four weeks for windows to be measured for a custom fit and then ordered. Once the new windows arrive, it should take less than a week for installation.
A skilled contractor can do as many as 15 windows per day, so the turnaround should be fairly quick. Thus, from beginning to end, the project shouldn’t take more than six to eight weeks.
If your contractor is too busy for you, you’ll know it when he or she suggests a lengthy time frame. You don’t want a contractor that can’t devote adequate attention to your home. Also, you don’t want a contractor who will underestimate the time required for the work.
If they say it’ll take less time than average to complete, they need a good reason. Otherwise, expect shoddy work.
Is your price estimate guaranteed?
Almost every window contractor will give you a price estimate on a window replacement job, but not all will guarantee that price. A price estimate guarantee ensures the contractor won’t charge you more than $100 more than the initially quoted price.
This is a vital issue to check. Because window jobs require manual labor, it’s hard to predict how many hours it will actually take to complete the job. You don’t want to be penalized if a contract worker is being lazy and tries to charge you for napping on the job or something like that. Your price estimate guarantee locks the final price in place so you aren’t cheated.
In addition to checking for this guarantee, cross-reference the price to make sure it’s a good deal. Perform the due diligence by researching typical window prices for the size and style of window you’d like installed.
If you find a cheaper option somewhere else, you might be able to negotiate a reduction in price. If it’s a lot more expensive than other windows in the area, make sure there’s a very good reason for it.
Can I see your portfolio of prior projects?
The answer here should be an emphatic “Absolutely!” If contractors refuse or are reluctant to show you examples of work they’ve done in the past, you should be concerned. Good contractors take pride in their past projects because they know they’re high quality.
However, just because a contractor shows you previous projects, it doesn’t follow that the company does a good job. Use your best judgment here by carefully examining the previous projects for a polished finish, signs of mistakes, or several other red flags.
If you don’t like something you see, from the style of windows used to the installation process, now is the time to bow out.
Do you have references?
Another great way to gauge how much you’ll like contractors is to talk to people who have worked with them before. Ask for references who can tell you all about their experience.
Many contractors will offer to show you testimonials or walk you through their gallery, but you should insist on speaking to someone who has worked with them in the past. You never know if the testimonials or gallery photos might be fake.
If a contractor refuses to give you a reference, take that as a red flag. When you talk to a reference, ask a variety of questions about their experience with the project. Discuss the contractor’s typical process and make sure the company is clean and safe while it’s team is on the job.
If there are any other concerns, this can be a good opportunity to clear them up. Personal recommendations go a long way toward making you feel comfortable with a project.
What brands do you work with and are you a brand-certified contractor?
You might love the contractor, but hate the brands it works with. Make sure both are to your liking. If the firm you chose doesn’t typically carry the brand of windows you like, ask its people if they can order it and have it installed anyway.
In addition, make sure the contractor is certified to install certain brands. Many top-leading brands require that their contractors pass a certification course before they’re allowed to install their windows.
This guarantees the satisfaction of the customer in the installation process because it leads to a higher quality of work. In that way, they ensure their top-quality materials are handled with care and their customers are happy with the finished product.
Contact Siding and Windows Group
When you’re seeking a contractor to interview, choose one that already has a great reputation. Siding and Windows Group provides top-quality window installation services and would be happy to answer any of your questions and concerns.
We take pride in our workmanship and keep your satisfaction in mind. Contact us today for a free consultation!