9 Questions to Ask Your Window Installation Contractor

It’s nerve-wracking to make any major improvement to your home. It costs a lot of money, and a lot will probably go right—but a lot can go wrong as well. Choosing the right improvement, materials, and contractors are all difficult decisions that complicate the process, but thankfully, with the right set of questions at your disposal, you can do a better job of vetting your candidates and making sure the job gets done right.

Why Windows?

You have several options when it comes to home upgrades, but few are as valuable as replacing your windows—especially when it comes to an older-style home with single-pane fixtures. Overall, window replacement offers one of the highest ROIs of any home improvement—meaning your home value will increase to a degree proportional to how much you pay for the upgrade. Since most windows last for decades, this means you’ll easily reap the majority of your investment when it comes time to sell your home.
This is purely from a home value perspective, which doesn’t take into account new windows’ energy efficiency, and resulting ability to decrease your utility bills. Collectively, your new windows will practically pay for themselves.

Now that you’ve settled on windows, you need to know what types of questions to ask your installation contractor candidates. These come in two main categories—questions to ask about the windows themselves (and the installation process), and questions to ask about the contractor’s capabilities and work history.

Questions to Ask: Windows and Installation

First, figure out what type of installation you need.

1. What type of window is best?

There are dozens of types of windows out there, and only one is going to be the best fit for your home. Your main goal may be energy efficiency, or it may be something like ROI or total home value. You may have a practically unlimited budget or a somewhat restrictive one. There may be aesthetic options that are very important to you or additional “extras” that suit your lifestyle. A contractor will be able to evaluate these criteria and help you find the perfect window for your needs.

2. How long will the process take?

Depending on why you’re installing windows or what your personal needs are, the installation time may be a significant consideration. For example, most window installation contractors need time to order and stock your replacement windows, and then a few days to install them onsite. Preparing for these timeframescan help you with your budget and plan for the process to take place—especially if you’re in a hurry to sell your house.

3. Is the estimate subject to increases?

There are contractors out there who would take advantage of any opportunity to make more money. For example, they might remove your old windows, cite additional work necessary to complete the installation process, and go over the original estimate due to that extra work. Find out whether this is a possibility with your contractor before any work begins.

4. Is there a warranty involved?

Most reputable contractors will back their windows and their work for the long-term with a guarantee. For example, they might guarantee the function of your windows for 30 years, or even protect against accidental breakage for a few years after the initial installation. There may be alternative protection and insurance plans as well.

5. What happens if something goes wrong?

If the windows installed aren’t the ones you ordered, or if one is installed incorrectly, what process is there to solve the issue? Will you have to jump through customer service hoops to get an answer and someone to your house to fix the problem, or will there be a more immediate solution available?

Questions to Ask: Company History and Reputation

Next, evaluate your chosen company for performance and reliability.

6. Does this company carry insurance? 

Again, most contractors will have some kind of insurance, but this isn’t always guaranteed. You’ll want to work with a contractor who is fully insured for onsite work. Note that this isn’t the same as “blended insurance,” such as health or life insurance. You’re looking for a certificate that states this contractor has comprehensive liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.

7. Is this company a licensed contractor?

First, be aware that not all states require contractors to be licensed by law—this means unlicensed contractors may be able to legally perform your window installation work. Obviously, you want a candidate who has passed all the necessary examinations to become a licensed contractor, so be sure to ask before you make a final decision. Don’t just make a blind assumption.

8. How long has this company been in business?

A company’s history isn’t always a clear indication of its ability or work ethic—there are businesses that have been around for decades with poor customer service and worse installation service, and brand-new businesses that do a fine job. However, digging up a bit of company history can give you more information to make an educated final decision (and clue you into the company’s reputation).

9. Are there any references I can contact?

Company representatives will have a vested interest in making the company look good. Past customers will not. See if you can obtain any references (past clients) who can tell you what kind of a job the window installation contractor has done for them.

Next Steps

Armed with the right questions, you can start looking for potential contractors who can meet your needs. Not everyone needs the same type of windows and not everyone needs the same type of contractor, but you should always seek a candidate you can trust to get the job done right (and for a fair price). If you’re looking for a quote from a verified window installation contractorK & B Home Remodelers is the perfect place to start—request your free quote today.

About Mike Damora

Mike Damora is vice president of sales and marketing at K&B Home Remodelers, in Randolph, N.J. You can follow him on Twitter @madamoracatch him on Drift.