Here's Five Easy Steps To Follow
The best way to avoid a problem with your new doors and windows is to check out whichever company you select. Owner, Clark Adams, gives you a checklist on selecting the right company for you.
Step 1: Pick a window and door specialist.
Since general contractors are responsible for an entire project (kitchens, floors, plumbing and appliances), they lack in-depth knowledge regarding window and door installations. Without the luxury of devoting their time to becoming knowledgeable on a variety of window and door manufacturer's products, many contractors subcontract window replacement jobs. Look for a reliable window and door specialist with over 10 years of experience and a showroom displaying many manufacturer products. They should also be able to provide the addresses of at least a dozen local satisfied customers (within the last 6 months). Don't allow a contractor to learn the challenges of window and door installations on your home.
Step 2: Don't assume anything about pricing.
Many people believe that home centers offer the best pricing. Not so. Window and door manufacturers offer many choices which can improve product performance, but tend to confuse pricing. Ask your estimator to explain your choices of materials and include any extra charge items, then you're comparing apples with apples.
Step 3: Verify a Contractor's License and Insurances.
Be sure to check for a valid State Contractor's license, proper certifications, and insurance. Go to the Contractor State License Board's website (www.cslb.ca.gov). This website allows consumers to verify license information quickly. In addition to having a license in good standing, any contractor that works on your home is required by law to have a "Home Improvement Certification". Don't forget to check out the "Worker's Compensation Information" section. If there is no insurance policy listed, the contractor uses subcontractors for all his work. (If he hires employees and has no listed Workers Compensation Insurance, the property owner could be liable for any work related injuries.) A contractor that I responsible will always make sure the homeowner is protected with the appropriate licenses and insurances.
Step 4: Choose a company that uses employee installers-not subcontractors.
The quality of the installation is a reflection of a company's reputation. Employee installers care about the reputation of their company and take the time to do it right. Unfortunately, many subcontractors receive little supervision and a low fixed fee piece ratefor their efforts. This provides little incentive to do follow up work should a service issue arise after the windows are installed. In addition, responsible contractors have to be careful whom they place in your home. Using employees who report directly to the company assists in quality control and reduces the risk of having "persons unknown" (i.e. subcontractors and their employees) circulating throughout your home. Be equally diligent in assessing the large home center contractors. Typically, they are not employees and they don't specialize in windows and doors, they perform as subcontractors.
Step 5: Ask for and call customer referrals.
A previous customer is the best source to determine the pros and cons of:
1. If the project accomplished it's objectives.
2. If the contractor delivered what was promised. If testimonials or other obvious sources of customer satisfaction are unavailable, request the phone numbers of several recent customers. When calling, ask specific questions regarding the cleanliness and professionalism of the installation crew.
3. If precautions were taken to protect your carpet, flooring, furnishings and the like.
4. Inquire as to the overall experience from the initial estimator, to the scheduling personnel, to the final walk through. A good indicator of customer satisfaction is posted job signs.
5. These indicate that the client was pleased enough let their neighbors know of their experience.
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