Tom Shafer

Finding the right contractor for you

December 02, 2014

If you've decided it's time to replace the windows in your home, then you need to find a contractor to do the work. So how do you go about making the decision? You can, of course, choose the contractor with the biggest ad in the Yellow Pages or that advertises the most on radio or television. But that might not get you the best supplier. Here are a few ideas to help you make a smart choice you're comfortable with:

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How soon do you want to begin this project?

  • Ask friends, relatives, and neighbors if they or anyone they know has had similar work done in their home. If so, were they satisfied with it? Would they have the contractor do more work for them? One of the benefits of word-of-mouth is that you may able to go see the work in person or at least have some photos of the finished product sent to you. You may also want to ask how long it took to have the work done to get a good baseline for how much time you should budget.
  • Visiting home shows are also a good way to find a contractor. Home improvement contractors attend and display at these shows to get leads. Leads are names of prospective customers that they can possibly sell their service to. At the shows, you can see what products they sell, what type of remodeling is their specialty, and, most importantly in many cases, if you like the personnel. Having a good rapport with the person you hire may help you feel more comfortable asking for references, asking questions, and ensuring you'll have a positive experience with this person in your home.
  • Finally, you can turn to everyone's favorite tool for finding things: the Internet. Look for sites with phrases like "find a contractor," or "window and door replacement," or even "how do I find a contractor." Many of these sites solicit leads by requesting your information (name, address, type of job, etc.) and send these leads to contractors that are associated with this service. You can be assured that the contractors that use this service have had good recommendations over time, or they would not be used.

Be sure to ask questions, look at previous jobs, and evaluate you choices carefully before making a decision. With care you can avoid the nightmarish stories we all have heard about home improvement.

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.

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