Working with a window contractor - What to Expect
As much as you might want to start firing away with questions as soon as you get a contractor on the phone, know that they will first need information from you. Be prepared to share some details about the project, such as the type of window you are looking to buy, the number of windows, your budget and timeline for the project.
Only after they know the scope of your project can they answer your first round of questions. Keep in mind that as you speak with a replacement window installer on the phone, they will be trying to set up a home appointment. Remember, this is your fact-finding mission and you don’t need to set an appointment to get answers to your questions.
The following is a list of questions to ask your replacement window installer during the first phone call. You may not need to ask every question on the list, but be sure to cover the first five or six listed below.
How long have you been in the window installation business?
Also: What is your specific experience with vinyl window installations in my area?
The last thing you want is for a fly-by-night contractor that fails to deliver on promises to install quality window replacements in a timely and professional manner. Ask for a list of references and follow up to be the contractor you’re talking to is on the up and up.
Is there a specific brand or type of window that you frequently recommend? Why?
Not all vinyl replacement windows are created equal. If you live in the Pikes Peak region, take this advice: look for window contractors who use Simonton windows. Known for their energy-efficiency and their affordability, these are also some of the most attractive windows you can buy.
What are your payment terms?
Do they want money up front to get started, or will the company bill you once the work is complete? Some home repair contractors will ask for money up front, which is fine some cases, but do your homework and make sure the company you hire to install replacement windows in your home has a reputation for honesty and timely completion of work.
Do you have a permanent installation crew or do you subcontract the work whenever you get a new job?
Experience counts. In older homes especially, an experienced window replacement crew knows what kind of challenges they can expect to come across and know how to take care of them quickly and professionally. On the other hand, an inexperienced crew may end up taking hours or days longer to install your windows if they aren’t certain what to do when they come across rotted boards or irregular window holes.
How do you handle service issues after the installation is complete?
You’ll want to be sure and do business with a window replacement installer who will still be in business after the sale.
How often are you on-site during the installation process?
Does your crew foreman have the knowledge and authority to troubleshoot any problems that may arise during on the job? Again, experience counts. You don’t want your window replacement job taking hours or days longer than necessary because the crew runs into a routine problem.
What is your standard procedure for finishing out a window’s interior after installation?
Is painting ever a part of your installation package? As with any work you have done on your home, be certain that you and the installation contractor understand exactly you are paying for before you sign the papers.
How far in advance are your services usually booked? How long would a ten-window installation project take you? If one window installation contractor gives you a time estimate that is considerable longer or shorter than other contractors, ask why. Many jobs can be completed in a singe day, which is good news for homeowners who don’t want work crews in and out of their home for multiple days.
Do you offer free estimates?
If a window replacement contractor can’t or won’t provide a free estimate, move on to one that can and will.
What kind of warranties do you offer on the installation of the window, which is above and beyond the window’s warranty?
Anytime you have work done on your home you want to make sure that you’re dealing with a company that has been around long enough to establish a reputation for service after the sale. A company that has an investment in the community, like Heart House Windows and Siding does in Colorado Springs and the Front Range, you are much more likely get a quality home repair job and excellent warranty service because they know word of mouth can make or break their business.
Can you provide me with customer referrals?
A reputable replacement window installer will be happy to share customer references and examples of their work.
When you’ve completed this interview with a handful of prospective contractors, take a few minutes to compare the answers and you will discover which replacement window installers to call back for an appointment.