Replacing your home’s windows can be an exciting project to undertake. If you’re finally ready to replace your windows, you’ve likely been dealing with problems with them for years. Areas that you can’t see through because they never seem to come clean. Stuck windows you can’t get open and make your home too hot in summer or work your AC too hard. And higher energy bills that aren’t worth dealing with anymore. These are all excellent reasons to replace your home’s windows with newer, better, and more energy-efficient models. But just because you’re ready to replace them doesn’t mean you’re ready to find the right window contractor, especially if you have exterior design questions. In fact, unless you’ve ever done it before, finding a window contractor can be a difficult task. Naturally, it’s best to speak with family, friends, or co-workers for referrals. But what do you do if you don’t know anyone who’s had window replacements? You ask questions. Ask contractors for referrals and check them out beforehand. Following is a list of questions to ask every prospective window contractor before making your final decision.

How long has your company been in business?

You don’t necessarily have to find a window contractor who’s been in business for 50 years. Of course, by the same token, you don’t want to hire someone who just opened their business two weeks ago. Ask every prospective window contractor how many years they’ve been in business, and be sure to include questions about how many clients they’ve serviced. For contractors of any type, it’s good to hire folks who’ve been in business for at least 5 years, since most small business fail before this cutoff. Be sure to get complete names and addresses of the business, as well as full names and telephone numbers for all owners.

Do you provide referrals with photographs of your work?

Referrals from satisfied customers are one of the most important questions you need to ask a window contractor. Of course, it’s also important to see the work that was performed. That’s why you should always ask for photos in order to see the work for yourself. Ask all window contractors you interview for a list of at least 10 referrals with phone numbers. If you don’t relish the thought of calling every single person on the list, choose a few at random to call and interview about their experiences with each contractor. You may want to start at the bottom of the list and work your way up, as oftentimes people will put their best customers at the top of the list.

Do you carry insurance?

All contractors, including window contractors, should carry both worker’s compensation insurance (if they have workers) as well as comprehensive liability insurance. Follow up by verifying insurance information by asking to see their certificates of insurance. It’s very beneficial to you as a property owner to hire only window contractors who possess necessary worker’s compensation insurance, as their insurance will protect you in the event of property accidents.

What are your credentials?

Do your research beforehand to learn what types of licenses your state requires contractors to have. Don’t rely too much on this information, however, as being a licensed contractor usually means window contractors are more knowledgeable in their business. Anyone can get a business license, but many window manufacturers require contractors to be licensed and credentialed in selling and installing their windows.

Asking the right questions can make the difference between finding an okay window contractor and finding a great one. Most homeowners only replace their windows once or twice in their lives. The problem with that is, if you know what you’re doing when it comes to finding the right window contractor, you probably don’t need another one ’cause you’ve already replaced your windows. And if you’re ready to hire one, you’ve likely never done it before. Arm yourself with the right list of questions, and you’ll be ready for anything. In fact, you should even consider including some exterior design questions you have, even if it’s just to make sure prospective contractors know their business. Don’t be afraid to ask every single question on your list, as well as every question that comes up as you conduct your interviews. It’s your house and your money. You have to be secure in the knowledge that your window contractor knows his business.

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