Whether installing new windows and doors in a single-family home or adding a new roof an entire condominium building, choosing the right contractor is the most important component in the process. Having the best products and materials available is of little value if they are improperly installed. The key to having a successful project is to evaluate a window contractor in the following areas.
- Are they fully licensed to perform the work? Check with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to make sure the license is current. Check online ratings with social media, as well as the BBB for possible complaints filed against the contractor.
- Do they have adequate insurance for your protection? Many contractors work with only minimum required coverage or have no coverage for the type of work performed. This is particularly true in the area of Workers Compensation coverage.
- Do they operate out of a commercial office with a working phone number answered by a live employee? Many contractors operate without a physical plant. Whether it is a mail drop, a home office, cell phone, or just “Chuck in a Truck”. When something goes wrong, do you want to be leaving a voice mail message and hoping someone returns your call?
- Is the company the right size for your job? A very small company may not have enough depth in their staffing to keep a project on schedule if the unexpected happens to key personnel. Yet a very large company may not give your project the individual attention needed for a smooth and timely completion.
- Was the installation process explained to you? Many people think they are simply buying new windows, when in reality, window and door installation is, in fact, a major construction project. Furthermore, when work is done inside your home, such as installing new windows and doors, it can can turn into an invasive and dirty process if you choose poorly. Workers may be in every room of your home at some point during your project. Usually, a LOT of dust is created because of all the grinding, sawing, and drilling required. If the dust control is left in the hands of unskilled or unsupervised workers, you could be in for a nightmarish clean-up afterwards.
- Will there be adequate project supervision? Unfortunately, it is all too common to have a contractor or salesperson sign you up and then your project is handed off to a sub-contractor who just wants to get the job done in a hurry without regard for quality. This is the primary cause of the construction “horror stories” many consumers have experienced. Additionally, this is where the insurance coverage is often lacking as the contractor may have had coverage, but his “subs” did not.
- Were you provided a complete detailed proposal? Does it include descriptions of work, products and types of materials to be used, the warranties available, payment requirements, and project procedures and timelines?
- What about the Price? We have all heard the comment about “you get what you pay for”. Understand that higher quality products and protection costs more than lower quality, and that higher skilled, more experienced workers command higher salaries. Therefore, the lowest bid is the one most likely to have the most problems. Professionalism, experience, and quality workmanship should be the driving factors in your selection process.