Here are our 10 essential phone interview questions for window contractors. This is meant to help you when selecting contractors or installers, especially those that come on with a rather “hard-sell” approach, which is why we recommend calling potential contractors first to pare down your selection before you’re sitting face to face with them.
10 Questions For Window Contractors
1. How Long Have You Been In Business?
This usually gets the conversation started and let’s them do the talking. Contractors who are confident about their work and business will gladly share information about their business, experience, approach etc. Those who aren’t, usually keep it short – however let’s not make a judgement on this first question. Just get a feel for who this company is. You want to find out how many people work at the company, how many installers they have, whether they focus on windows or if they are really more of a door or sunroom company.
2. Do You Have All Of The Required Business Licenses And Insurance?
Make sure that the potential contractor is properly licensed and that he is bonded and insured. Most replacement window contractors should carry liability insurance, vehicle insurance and worker’s comp as well. Another of the questions for window contractors should be what specific coverage is included if something should go wrong during your project. Jot down their business license and check out the contractor with the Better Business Bureau to see if any prior complaints have been lodged against them. If you do find complaints, however, it doesn’t mean you definitely shouldn’t use them – it just means you may have to ask more questions before you decide (remember that some people lodge complaints about everything).
3. How Many Window Projects Do You Handle Per Month?
How many installs do they typically do per month? You obviously want a company that handles a good amount of projects but you don’t want a factory that is so busy they won’t handle your problems if they do occur.
4. Can You Handle The Specifics Of My Project?
Describe in detail what you need done and highlight any specifics of your particular project. Then come right out and ask any potential contractor if they’re equipped to handle your project. If you have any specific requirements, issues or guidelines, this is the time to lay them on the line so they know what you expect before the project gets started.
5. Who Will Be Doing The Work?
It’s important to know who will be performing the actual work if you hire any potential contractor – will they be doing it themselves, will specific installers be handling it or are they subcontracting out the work? (The last option is usually for larger home remodeling projects.)
6. What Window Brands Do You Use?
Companies either sell only their own windows (like an Andersen or a Pella), sell a number of brands (like a window distributor who sells 5 or 6 different manufacturers) or will install whatever you brands you decide on (such as an independent contractor with no ties to any brand). Jot down the window manufacturers so that you can ask the other contractors what they think of them. You will be amazed at the strong opinions that contractors have for certain windows – usually strongest when they dislike a certain manufacturer.
7. Can You Provide References That I Can Call?
Ask for 3 references, 1 of them from at least 4 years ago. If you like the contractor, here’s a guide to checking contractor references . If they’re local, you can also drive by the houses to see how the finished project looks. Always get a reference from awhile back to make sure the work has held up.
8. How Do You Handle Timeframes And Schedules?
Find out how soon the project can start after the contract has been signed and how long the entire project should take from start to finish. Ask if the contractors will stay on the job full time until the job is done and also discuss if there are any incentives for you to decide quickly.
9. How Do You Estimate The Project Cost?
It’s important to find out what the contractor needs in order to provide you with a detailed price estimate and what the estimate includes or excludes. You want an estimate that is broken down into its different components; demo, prep, windows, installation, etc. Mae sure they will break this down.
9. How Do You Deal With Payments?
Find out how much money is required when the contract is signed and how they structure payments. Ask if the contractor offers any type of financing terms or if not, if they will work with you based on any terms you may have from another lender.
10. Do You Offer A Warranty On Installation?
You should know what they offer as far as a warranty and what exactly it covers. It is also important to find out how problems, discrepancies or concerns are handled and what the arbitration process is if things don’t go smoothly.
With a project as big as replacing your windows, it is best to look into a few different contractors before deciding who to use. As you ask each contractor the same questions, you will start to get a better feel for which contractor you think is right for the job. Of course, the cost of the job will probably be a big factor in your final decision, but it shouldn’t be the only reason you hire one company or installer over another.