When contacting window companies, just as with other types of skilled trades, there are certain signs to look for that indicate quality. A window replacement doesn’t exactly come cheap and consequently you need to collaborate with a provider that you know isn’t going to produce a poor standard of work or bail on you at the earliest opportunity. While the implications of a “cut-and-run” effort are blindingly obvious, it’s the consequences of a poorly done job that you really need to consider (which is the more likely scenario out of the two). If windows aren’t installed absolutely perfectly, the energy efficiency of your home can plummet, causing significant increases in heating and cooling bills, and your home will be more vulnerable to break-ins too. Don’t take a chance on an unproven firm; know exactly what to look for when contacting window companies and don’t accept anything less.
Not All Window Companies are Equal: Tips to Help You Find the Ones that Excel in Their Field
If you’ve been a homeowner for a number of years, you’ve likely had to call upon the services of numerous skilled tradesmen during that time, so some of the tips shown below may already be known to you, but for first-time homeowners, this advice could prove invaluable.
Look for Windows Companies that Demonstrate Real Knowledge
We would strongly advise you to do as much research as you can before you start contacting windows companies, as if you don’t have any real knowledge of the product that you are interested in or what’s involved in the installation process, anyone will likely be able to dupe you with some slick sales spiel. Spend some time on the internet researching different framing materials, different glazing options and the different types of window styles etc. Entering the conversation with some background knowledge can allow you to really test window companies and provide them with the opportunity to demonstrate their industry expertise. Ask lots of questions and see how they respond. If they are overly evasive, hang up and move on.
Thorough Planning For Your Window Replacement
As we’ve already hinted at, the installation of new windows is a delicate process and needs to be done to strict specifications, meaning thorough planning is absolutely vital if the project is to be a success. Window companies should always insist on an on-site inspection if they are serious about their work, and if they try and get you to commit to the project before they’ve done this, it’s not a good sign. During this inspection they will firstly assess the condition of your existing frames, just to check that you genuinely do require a window replacement (not much point in paying out if a minor repair will do, is there?!), before going on to discuss the various options available to you and making a recommendation based on the design of your home, local weather conditions and your budget, among other things.
Good Customer Service Skills from the First Moment
There’s one thing you need to remember when contacting window companies: You are the customer, and you are the one that’s paying. That automatically means you command the company’s respect and they should do their best to make you feel at ease and accommodate you to the best of their abilities. This means arranging appointments around your schedule, not theirs. They should also be committed, and shouldn’t be trying to juggle other projects on the same day as your installation; you want to know that you have their undivided attention. You can usually tell from the first couple of conversations whether a window company is going to be a good fit.
Large Upfront Payments are a Big No-No
Some smaller window companies may ask you to make a minimal down payment to “lock you in” and ensure that they have their own backs covered when they buy all required materials upfront using their own funds, but generally speaking you shouldn’t have to pay anything upfront when working with window companies. If you are asked to either make payment in full or pay a hefty chunk of the total fee before any work has been done, take our advice and walk away. This is definitely not the norm!
Insurance is a Must and Professional Memberships are Desirable
There’s probably hundreds of homeowners that have been burned by uninsured window companies in the areas we serve (Scarborough, Durham, Markham and Richmond Hill) and it’s something that you have to be very careful about. If a contractor doesn’t have general liability insurance, should they damage other parts of your property when installing your new windows, they may not cover the subsequent repair costs; you’ll be left to take care of that as well as the cost of your window replacement. You should also look out for window companies that are members of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and the Siding and Window Dealers Association of Canada, as this demonstrates that they are both involved in industry developments and committed to the work that they carry out, and it is also a good indication that they take their obligations to meet minimum quality standards seriously.
If you would like further guidance on how to spot window companies that are strong candidates for the work you need doing, or if you would like to set-up a free consultation with industry experts that meet all of the criteria above and more,