3. IntroductionNo matter where you live, conserving energy costs is more important than ever.Replacement windows can make a major impact on how efficient your home is, whetheryou are trying to stay warm in the winter or cool in the summer. By installingreplacement windows, you should notice an increase of comfort in your home in allseasons with less strain on your wallet.The energy efficiency experts agree: According to Energy.gov, “Windows can be one of your homes most attractive features. Windows provide views, day lighting, ventilation, and heat from the sun in the winter. Unfortunately, they can also account for 10% to 25% of your heating bill by letting heat out.” Efficient Windows Collaborative notes that window efficiency has improved dramatically. “In climates with a significant heating season, windows have represented a major source of unwanted heat loss, discomfort, and condensation problems. In recent decades, windows have undergone a technological revolution. It is now possible to have lower heat loss, less air leakage, and warmer window surfaces that improve comfort and minimize condensation.” Paul Fisette, Associate Dean, College of Natural Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst notes that, “Consumers are mesmerized by price at the pump: the cost of windows off-the-shelf. But cost really depends on durability and the energy dollars pumped through the windows each year. Energy efficient windows save money each and every month. They can lower your mortgaged investment by allowing you to install a smaller and less expensive heating and cooling system. Efficient windows make you feel more comfortable and last longer.”The benefit of replacing your old windows is clear. Now you just need to choose awindow installation contractor!Since most homeowners don’t really know much about window installation, theytypically have to hire a contractor to perform work for them. Hiring the right contractorcan be difficult. If you do not have a trusted professional that you have used for years itcan be tough to know where to look and who to trust. Some of the common worries are: Does this person know what they are doing? Will they do a good job? How much is this going to cost me How can I be sure that I am not getting ripped off?Luckily, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure that you are hiring the bestcompany for the job. The more homework you perform and the more research you dowill increase you likelihood of finding a contractor that you can trust. This also meansthat you will get quality work within your budget.
4. The following gives you all of the information you need to know before you hire awindow installation expert. This includes: Where to find potential window installation contractors. How to gauge their skill levels and professionalism. Questions to ask before you hire a contractor. How to make sure the work is done to your satisfaction.If you have a problem with your current windows, whether it is drafts, or broken glassrequiring immediate attention, your best chance for success is hiring a professionalwindow installation contractor. This guide will show you how to find the right one foryour needs.
5. Why You Need to Make an Informed Decision About a Window Installation ContractorYour windows are a shield that protects your home through all kinds of weather whileoffering a view to your surroundings. Having efficient windows is one of the mostimportant investments you can make in your home. Furthermore, choosing the rightwindow installation expert can mean the difference between a high quality windows thatlast for years and a shoddy job that needs to be fixed in a year or two.Of course price is a very important consideration when you are replacing old windows,but a low price tag isn’t only thing you should think about. Proper window installationrequires knowledge and skill, so you should definitely take this into account.The problem is that determining which of your potential window installation choices hasthe most amount of knowledge and skill can be tricky. In order to have the best chanceof getting high quality work done within your budget, you need to take the time to makean informed decision regarding which window installation contractor you choose. For example, you need to hire a window installation contractor who understands how to use the proper materials.An window installation job could cost you several thousand dollars. Having to fix it againin a few years because your contractor did a bad job could end up costing you evenmore. So the most cost efficient way to replace your windows is to hire a skilled windowinstallation contractor to perform a single quality repair. In order to accomplish this youneed to take the time to carefully analyze and research a contractor before you sign acontract with them. The wrong choice could end up costing you a lot more money in thelong run.
6. How to Find a Good Window Installation ExpertIn order to be sure that your investment in a window installation contractor and newwindows is a good one, you should take the time to carefully pick out the rightcontractor. Since most of what you will be paying for will be the labor and skill employedby the contractor, you need to find out a few clues regarding their skill before you hireanyone. There are several good ways to do this.Ask Around: The first place that you should go to find a decent and skilled windowinstallation expert is your friends, family, neighbors or anyone else whose opinion youtrust. Ask these people if they have used a specific contractor and if they were happy with the job they performed. Ask where and how they found the person or company and if they experienced any problems with the job. Also, see what type of budget they were on and compare how it relates to your budget. Ask them if the contractor stayed within their budget. Also ask them how the contractor and their crew treated your home and garden. They may have done a great job on window installation, but you probably don’t want to hire a crew that will trample your roses.Seek Out Other Professionals to Ask: A referral or recommendation from a trustedsource is the best place to start looking for a window installation contractor. However, ifyou don’t know anyone who has recently hired one, then there are a few other placesyou can ask. A local home builders association is a good place. These can be found using a simple internet search. The local home improvement store may be able to recommend a good contractor. There are also a number of good contractor services available on the internet. These allow you to compare prices and references before you choose. You can also use a local online referral system. A good example of one of these is Angie’s List. These allow you to read customer reviews on a contractor before you even speak with them.Check the Yellow Pages: The last place you should look for a window installationcontractor is in the Yellow Pages. While good advertising means the company has
7. money to spend, it in no way lets you know if you will be getting quality service. If youhave to choose a window installer from the Yellow Pages, be sure to spend some extratime on your references and interview process.Create a list of several potential contractors. You will want to interview and receiveestimates from several contractors so that you can compare rates and qualifications.This will help you choose the best contractor.
8. Questions to Ask Your Window Installation ContractorIn order to be sure that the contractor you are considering is the right person for the job,here are some questions that you may want to ask them. The answers contractors giveto these questions will let you know the following: 1. If they are knowledgeable about windows. 2. If they are on the same page as you as far as what needs to be done. 3. If they are clear about your budget. 4. If there are any red flags that would make them a risky hire.1. Can you provide me with at least 3 references?Any decent professional should be willing to provide you with references from happycustomers. Be wary of any contractor who has a problem with providing references. Youwill also need to make sure that the references the contractor provides to you are fromrecent jobs. In other words, don’t accept references from 8 years ago. Also, referencesshould have phone numbers for you to call.If you have any doubts about your proposed window installation contractor you shouldgive the references a call to double check. However, you should know that not all qualitycontractors will give you a long list, as many customers who were satisfied with the workmay not wish to give out their names and telephone numbers to strangers.2. How long have you been in business?In general it is best to go with a window installation contractor that has been in businessfor more than 5 years. Contractors who perform shoddy work usually develop a badreputation and will go out of business before then. If they have been in business formore than 5 years, then odds are they have some happy customers. The exception tothis is a new business owner. Everyone has to begin somewhere and if you like the newcontractor, you may be willing to give them a shot. If they have any references to offerthen you should call them first before hiring a newer contractor.3. Are you insured?This is a very important question. Always verify that your window installation contractoris insured with at least $1 million dollars of liability coverage. You will also want to makesure that the contractor carries worker compensation insurance. Ask to see the proof ofinsurance certificates and ask for the agent who provided the certificates.4. Are you bonded?
9. You will want to go with a contractor that is bonded. This will help ensure that thecontractor will do a good job and provides protection for you in case of poor work.5. Will you be obtaining permits?The answer to this question should be yes. Be wary of a contractor that doesn’t obtainthe permits required for you.6. Do you have a local office?Contractors with local offices nearby will be more likely to respond to your problemsquickly. You should also ask if the company has a website, and if so, you should checkit out. A good website means that the company takes the time and spends the moneyon advertising and appearance. A website can also provide you with more informationabout the company.7. What is your availability for the next few months?This is a good question to ask, especially if your windows need immediate repair. Itcertainly won’t do you any good to hire a contractor who is booked solid for the next 6months.8. Do you offer a warranty?You should insist on getting a warranty on the work and the materials for your newwindows. A minimum time period for this warranty is 1 year, but try to get a warrantythat lasts anywhere from 2 to 3 years. A warranty should cover failure all windowaspects, any leaks or drafts that occur, and any other problems that relate to defectscaused by labor. Also ask about the manufacturer’s warranty.9. Can I read and have a copy of the proposed contract before I sign it?The answer to this question should always be yes. Never sign any contract that youhave not fully read through. When looking over the contract you will want to be sure thateverything about the work that is to be performed is included: What needs to be done How it is going to get done When the work is scheduled to begin A proposed timeline for completion The budget should be clearly laid out as well, including such considerations as: How much are materials and labor going to cost? How much are you agreeing to pay in deposit before work begins? In general you should only pay a deposit of 10% of the total cost of the project or $1000, whichever is less. You usually
10. should not pay more than that, but you should expect to put a deposit down before work begins. A contract should also have a plan in case of installation delays. If bad weather, personal problems or something else comes up that will prevent the contractor from finishing the project on time, what do they have planned to fix the situation?10. Will there be a crew supervisor?In many cases more than one crew will be performing the job and the owner/contractormay not always be on your job site. So you need to know if there will be a specificforeman or person in charge that you can go to directly with problems or complaints.11. How do you handle complaints?If there is a problem, you want to know how the contractor will go about fixing it. Do theyrequire that you write a complaint down before it can be addressed? What is their trackrecord for fixing problems or complaints by customers?12. How many people are on your crew? Will you be using any sub-contractors?You will want to know who will be spending time around your home. Also if thecontractor plans on using a sub-contractor you will want to know their names and theirlicense numbers. Any sub-contractor that works on your home should also be insured.You do not want to be liable for any injury that may occur on your property.13. Are you a member of any window installation associations?This is not a requirement, but if a contractor is a member of a local or nationalassociation it shows that they care about staying up to date in their profession. It mayalso mean that they are staying informed and educated on window technologies, whichcould mean better work.14. Does your company have any pending legal action against it?You need to know this because if a company has a legal problem it could cause them toshut down. This could leave you with a half finished job.15. Will you be removing and hauling away the debris from the job? Will this costextra?You will want your window installation contractor to remove all trash and debris fromyour house. Just be sure you know ahead of time if you will be charged for this service.
11. Choosing a Window Installation ContractorOnce you have interviewed and checked the references of a few potential windowinstallation contractor candidates, the next step is carefully choose which contractor youwant to hire. You have interviewed each candidate and are pretty sure about theirqualifications, so now it is time to read through your estimate. A good contractor shouldprovide you with a free estimate.Reviewing the EstimateThere are several things that you want to look for when reviewing a potentialcontractor’s estimate. Here are some of the most important things: 1. The type of materials, quotes for the job, and their stated price. An estimate should have a clear breakdown of all of the required materials and list their prices. You will want to know if the contractor is using higher grade and therefore more expensive window installation materials or if they are using lesser grade materials to provide you with a lower quote. You have already done a little research on the different grades of materials on the market, but make sure you and the contactor are on the same page about what grade of materials are to be used. This goes for windows, window frames, and sealants. 2. Look for window measurements. A window installer should measure the entire area they are working on before they claim the amount of materials that will be required for the project. If they have not measured, then you can’t be sure that the number is correct. You don’t want to end up paying for materials you don’t need. You also don’t want the project halted halfway before it is finished because your contractor has run out of materials. 3. Make sure the proper permits are included in the estimate as well. Without permits, the work could be in violation of city or town ordinances, which could mean fines or worse. A good contractor will have a working knowledge of what permits are required and will have included their cost in the estimate. 4. Look for the labor costs. A quality window installation contractor will have to pay his laborers for their skills, but look closely at the labor costs to make sure they are not too high (or too low). 5. Check to see how is the payment broken down. You do not want to pay for the job up front. You should expect to pay a deposit and the deposit should be clearly labeled in the estimate. You can also pay for 1/3 of the project up front to
12. cover materials and the rest is paid once the job site is clean and you are satisfied with the work. Never pay in full unless you are satisfied with the project. 6. Are all of your expectations for the job listed in the estimate? This includes the amount of time the job is projected to take, how the contractor will handle any problems and details about the clean-up procedures. Remember you need to have all of your expectations written down. Double check the estimate to be sure that everything you require is written down. This should also include instructions for the protection of the other parts of your home such as your garden plants. Make sure it is clear who is responsible for damaged plants or other features of your home. 7. When you review each estimate from each of your potential contractors, write down some personal notes. If you place each contractor’s estimate notes in a column and line them up next to one another you will be able to compare the different aspects of the estimates apples to apples. This can help you to make the most informed decision possible.Observe the ContractorThere are a couple of extra things that you should note before you choose a contractor.These things may not necessarily mean the contractor is good or bad, but they can helpadd to your informed decision. Here are some things you will want to observe aboutyour potential contractor: 1. Take a look at their general appearance. This is their profession, so you should expect to see some professionalism in their appearance and behavior. When they come to your home for an interview they should be clean and neat in appearance, and courteous and knowledgeable in their responses. 2. What things do they bring to the interview? A professional will bring all of the necessary items required to take notes, take measurements and to answer your
13. questions. They should have their documents regarding their licenses and insurance information. 3. Take a look at their equipment and crew if possible. Anyone with some equipment can claim to be a professional window installation contractor. Quality window installers have proper equipment and decent tools. The crew should also appear to be active and organized. They shouldn’t look like a group of teenagers hanging about. 4. Go with your gut feeling. If there is something that you don’t feel quite right about, like their attitude towards addressing problems or their references, then pick someone else. Your window installation contractor is a big investment and someone who will be spending a good deal of time around and in your home, so you must feel comfortable with whom you choose.Making the DealOnce you have done all of your homework, checked all of the contractor’s references,reviewed the estimates and compared your notes, you are ready to seal the deal.Choose the contract that you feel will do the best job within your budget. You may wishto tell the other contractors that you have not chosen that you are going with someoneelse out of courtesy. Once you have chosen contractor and approved their estimate,you can sign the contract. Never hire a contractor without both of you signing a detailedcontract. This contract represents a legal document in case of trouble. Carefully readthrough the contract to make sure everything is included. Preparing for a Window InstallationBy the time you have performed all of your research, conducted your interviews, andmade your choice of a contractor, you should be ready for the window installationproject to commence. As your newly appointed contractor is getting to work, here are afew things that you can do to help make the process go smoothly. Inform your neighbors that you will be having work done. You don’t want to surprise them with extra traffic and noise. You may need to ask them to move their vehicles to allow trucks to get in. If this is the case you will want to give them plenty of notice. All of your family members should also know if there will be changes in where they can park and when they can be in the house.
14. Take any steps you feel are necessary to keep your home and garden safe. You may have to add some protection to plants and flowers to prevent them from becoming damaged. This can go for your pets as well. You may want to take certain steps to make sure that the workers won’t accidently let cats or dogs out while they are working. In some cases you can ask the contractor to put down plywood to protect your grass and driveway from their truck wheels. You can also discuss with your contractor rules about workers walking through gardens. Window installation can be loud, and potentially hot or cold, depending on when you are having your windows replaced. If the noise bothers you, know when they plan to start work and when they plan to stop working each day so you can avoid the house during these times. Be sure to give the workers their space. This is especially true when they are tearing out old window frames. Any construction can be dangerous, so steering clear is always a good idea.
15. Paying Your Window Installation ContractorThe estimated cost of the entire project should be decided and included in the contractbefore any work begins. As mentioned above, most contractors will require a deposit ofno more than 10% of the total price of the project or $1000. It is wise to pay yourcontractor with a check so that you can keep a record of all transactions. If you arepaying cash be sure to get a detailed receipt from your contactor. Any additional work orrepairs that the contractor will perform should require authorization from you first. Besure that you are happy with the work before you release the final payment.You may wish to have another window installer inspect the work for a small fee to makesure it is well done, and done well.If you have a problem or concern with the work performed on your windows, then youshould withhold the final payment until the matter has been resolved. Also, never payfor the finished job unless all of the debris and materials from the work site have beenremoved. If problems with your window installation project cannot be resolved you mayhave to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or another local association.
16. Checklist for Hiring a Window Installation Contractor Get referrals from trusted people before you hire a window installer. Perform a little research on different types and prices of window related materials so that you will have some idea of what the contractor will be talking about. This will also give you a better idea of price listings. Choose multiple potential contractors. Check the contractor’s references and legal paperwork. Ask the contractor questions. Request an estimate. Carefully review the estimate and make sure it includes details such as budget costs, materials expenses, labor expenses, clean-up fees, the job’s projected time period, warranty information, rules for liability of your personal property, how the contract will address your concerns, and everything else that is important. Take notes from interviews and all estimates from your potential contractors and compare them. Decide on the window installation contractor that you feel will do the best job. Create a detail contract outlining everything that is to be done and have both you and your contractor sign it. Avoid oral arrangements with any type of contractor. Get everything in writing. The contract should detail the payment for services as well. Pay your contractor a deposit and possibly a portion of the work with a check or cash with a receipt. Document all payments. Make preparations for the work. Take steps to protect your home and alert your neighbors that work will be done, and for how long. Stay alert during the work but do not hover. Address complaints or problems to the foreman or the contractor right away. Always be courteous about problems, give the contractor a chance to make them right.
17. Inspect the windows before issuing a final payment. Do not release a final payment until you are happy with the work and the clean-up. Report any problems with the work, such as leaks or drafts, right away. Enjoy your new windows! ConclusionThank you again for downloading this free report. We hope that you found it useful andthat it has given you the confidence you need to find the right window installationcompany for you.If you would like help finding a top-quality window installation contractor, please contactus today!