Window replacement cost, determining a contractor's value

November 18, 2011

Building contractors operate using a variety of business models. Some charge a percentage on the total material and labor costs. Others mark up each line item. Some add individual charges to the labor and materials subtotals. It's important to understand how the contractor you employ determines those numbers, and how they compare to the market in your area.

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Fair fees are your friend

It's equally important that you are charged something in addition to the cost of replacement windows and labor involved during installation. The reason that you want to see a fair fee added to the fixed costs is that it proves the contractor is running a sustainable business. This means they are probably experienced and will stay in business long enough to honor any product warranties or service guarantees.

It also means that the contractor is figuring in the cost of important business expenses, like insurance and licensing fees. While you should be able to get a good sense of a contractor's markup after an interview, each candidate for the job might present these fees a little differently.

4 cornerstones of a window installation contract

Once you have decided to hire a contractor based on references, price and experience, the next step is to review the written contract. Besides the total cost of the job, make sure the contract clearly states the following information:

  1. Permits: The contractor should arrange for all permits. This cost should be a line item on the contract.

  2. Change orders: Avoid them when you can, because they will cost extra time and money. But while you are planning for the job, it is a good idea to discuss and put in writing how changes will be handled and billed.

  3. Insurance: Make sure that the contractor carries liability insurance and worker's compensation, otherwise you could be financially responsible, if there is an injury while working on your home.

  4. Disposal of old windows and siding: If you want your old windows and any siding or casing disposed of after the job, make sure that is addressed in the contract.

Seeing through the details regarding window replacement cost is as important as the clarity of new window panes. Avoid the pain of unforeseen delays and poor installation. Hire a professional contractor.

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