No matter how good a promotion sounds, there is no substitute for doing your research about the company and contractor that does doors and windows. If an offer seems too good to be true, there will probably be a catch that victimizes you in some way. If a potential contractor is rushing you into something, chances are that something may be amiss.
The importance of doing your research cannot be stressed enough. “If a contractor has nothing to hide and stands behind their work, they will honor the deal being offered even if you need a few days to think things over,” said Steve Barron, co-owner and operator of Plano, Texas-based Designer Door and Window. “Replacing your home’s exterior and interior doors and windows is as simple as finding a good honest door and window installation contractor.”
A simple door or window installation can completely change the look of your home, and will add value, security and comfort. In addition, the proper installation can save you money in the long run by providing energy efficiency.
The most challenging aspect of this experience is to do your research in choosing a reputable contractor who will do the job correctly, on schedule, and on budget.
According to Mr. Barron, you should ensure that the contractor is not a “fly by night” organization by locating a permanent business location and phone number. Then, verify that the contractor is licensed and insured. You should also confirm that they have General Liability Insurance to cover any damage that may occur. In addition, Workers Compensation Insurance will cover the contractor or any employee who might be injured while working on your home.
When you search for a local door and window contractor, the internet is an outstanding resource to find these services in your area. This is particularly true if they have a website where you can look at projects they have completed and read customer tributes. Be sure to visit the Designer Doors and Windows, where you’ll be able to examine their commitment to success projects, as well as read comments from their many satisfied customers. You may also elect to ask friends and other homeowners for a referral. The best gauge of a contractor’s work is their reputation among their clients.
Be sure that your budget is realistic when you decide to install doors or windows in your home. This will enable you to determine which style, quality, and type of doors or windows you can afford. Try to stick to the budget you have arrived at.
Next, contact several contractors and describe the details of what you want your end product to be and to look like. Visit their showroom so you can see, touch and operate the windows and doors so you know exactly what you will be buying. Then, request an appointment for the contractors to come to your house to measure for an accurate estimate.
You should ask each contractor how long their company has been in business, request permission to visit one of their current work sites, identify who the contact person for your project will be as well as its Certificate of Insurance.
Be sure to request and then contact references with questions that include “Would you use this contractor again?”, “Were there any complications and, if so, did the contractor deal with them to your satisfaction?” and
“Did the job come in on budget and on schedule?”
Check with the local Better Business Bureau. Enter the company’s name on the website to see if they are BBB-Accredited, and whether they have any complaints against them.
You are encouraged to obtain a written estimate from all door and window installation contractors that include a detailed plan of the work to be completed. This should include costs of specific materials, labor, the company’s guarantee of the work being done, a firm price, and how payments are to be made. Mr. Barron warns that you should beware of estimates that seem too good to be true because, as he will tell you, “they usually are too good to be true.”
You’ll also want to make sure that the estimate provided includes all costs to eliminate any potential hidden charges…NO SURPRISES! Some examples include refuse disposal, lead testing if your house was built prior to 1978, or specific licenses and permits. Avoid any contractor who wants to charge you for an estimate.
Follow this advice, Mr. Barron insists, and “you’ll find the door and window installation contractor that best suits your needs. They’ll be correctly installed without any problems.”