Finding the Right Replacement Window Contractors
Finding qualified window replacement contractors isn't that much different from picking any other specialist, whether it be a doctor, lawyer, dentist, or a good car mechanic. Because their skill and knowledge is so specialized and removed from that of the average person, it's hard to evaluate their competence and value. Diplomas, plaques, and certificates provide impressive window dressing, but when the rubber hits the road, you want someone you can depend on to do a top-notch job.
Our first recommendation is to pre-screen the replacement window contractors with a phone interview. Using a simple question and answer process, you can cull the installers who don't meet your needs, thereby saving you lots time, money, and aggravation. The window companies that pass muster are then "eligible" to provide a replacement window estimate. First, let's get to the phone interview questions and issues.
Choosing Quality Replacement Window Contractors
First of all, don't worry about sounding distrustful or offending them. If they're reputable, they'll not only expect the questions, but also be eager to answer them. Most contractors don't just want your business, they want to be your choice because they want your repeat business and your referrals. The best replacement window companies are proud of their service, product and prices. Finding these companies is key because you are getting VALUE for the money you are spending on your home windows.
Pre-Flight Checklist: Everything You Wanted to Know about Window Replacement But Were Afraid to Ask
Here's a handy list of a dozen helpful questions to ask during the pre-screening phone call. You don't have to ask them all. The first five or six should tell you if they are in the ballpark and whether it makes sense to proceed. The remaining questions are designed to elicit specifics that you can use to compare what different window contractors offer and evaluate their in-home bids. Remember, this is your project and your interview. If they sincerely want your business, they have to answer your questions.
�� How long have you been in the construction business?
�� What is your specific experience with window installations?
�� Do you have your own crew, or do you use subcontractors?
�� Are you on site during the installation process?
�� Is there a specific window manufacturer or brand you use or recommend? Why?
�� How much time will it take, from ordering to installation? For example, how long would a 10-window (fill in your own number) installation project take you?
�� Do you charge for the home window estimate?
�� Do you have any recent projects where I can see how the windows look from the street?
�� Do you have any customer referrals?
�� In addition to the warranty on the windows, what type of warranty do you offer on your installation?
�� How are service issues handled after the installation is complete?
�� What are your payment terms?
Cautions When It Comes To Hiring a Window Contractor
Of course, when you call a window installer for information, they are likely to perceive it as the start of a firm sale and they will have their own questions with question number one probably you may find them just as eager to get information ’How much were you planning to spend?’ Do not be intimidated into committing! ’I'm at the preliminary stages and I'm going to review my options before I develop a budget’ is a possible response that won't stop the conversation dead in its tracks. While questions about your price range, the number of windows your planning to replace, the type of window, material preference, and completion date are legitimate once you've decided upon one or more contractors that you want to make an appointment with to get an estimate, they are premature at this point.
They are also probably going to aggressively try to schedule an in-home consultation as soon as possible. Don't be intimidated! At this point, you aren't obligated to set up an in-home visit. Only make an appointment if their answers to your questions are acceptable and you think they might be a good match for your home replacement window needs, preferably after you've had a chance to conduct a phone interview with competing contractors.
If the installer's answers aren't exactly what you you're looking for, simply thank them for their time and end the conversation. Of course, the installer now perceives you as a hot prospect and will want to close the deal. They will try hard to make you commit to an appointment for a home visit.
For many people, telling them no can be stressful and even intimidating. Just remember one simple thing: You are the boss! Be polite but firm and thank them for their assistance. If they persist, thank them again for their time and professionalism. Tell them that you are not ready to schedule an appointment now and that you will contact them at a later date when you are ready to move forward with the project.
Scheduling an Appointment
If the phone call goes well and you feel comfortable with the answers provided, schedule a home visit. However, at this point it's still an exploratory interview without obligation. You are still free to continue your search and the pre-screening process. There's no rule that says you can only have one installer come out for a home visit. In fact, getting multiple bids is recommended Once you've decided on a specific contractor, having a few estimates in hand should give you a sense of the window replacement price and allow you to NEGOTIATE a better deal.
Most contractors are looking for work and are willing to negotiate. When you've scheduled a visit, the installer will come out, assess your project, and write up an estimate. Then you'll enter the next stage of decision-making. Don't base your selection solely on the lowest bid. Finally, if you like the answers the installer provides and the bid, before you sign on the dotted line be sure to consult your local Better Business Bureau before you make a firm commitment to make sure there are no complaints or issues on file. Also, follow up on any referrals they provided look at some of their previous work. Then, before signing the contract, review it one more time to make sure a detailed plan is in place for how exactly the project will unfold. Planning, pricing and scheduling are as important as actual construction and failing to plan properly extends the process and increases the cost.
Be careful and discriminating in hiring a contractor. Before even thinking about estimates, look for contractors who are not only licensed and bonded, but have experience in the specific kinds of work you need done. You should always ask questions of your potential installer, contractor, or handyman. Get at least three estimates, asking contractors to include cost breakdowns and details of how the project will be carried out in their bids. Compare the bids not only for price but also for what exactly they include. Finally, check referrals and negotiate. If you take every precaution you can to ensure that you get the results you want from your project, you won't be disappointed.