Many window contractors don’t use their own employees as installers, instead subcontracting the work. Even if the contractor is insured, it doesn’t mean the subcontractors are.
“Make sure the contractor you’re doing business with is fully and properly licensed and experienced, and has the proper insurance,” says Richard Beil of West Coast Windows. In particular, he says, check that their workers’ compensation insurance is enforced and their contractor’s license is valid and not suspended.
Another priority, especially important in this economy, is longevity. Mr. Beil recommends you show preference for companies that’ve been in business for some time, with long-serving employees and a good track record for reliability. “It's pretty evident that a company that’s been in business for a long time is more likely to remain in business, because they’re established both financially and in their market place,” he says.
Mr. Beil also advises care when evaluating competing products. Options that may come standard with one product cost extra with another, so comparing apples to apples can prove challenging to the uninitiated shopper. “Basically, make sure you're getting the product you think you're getting,” he says.
Before buying windows for your home, consider asking the contractor these questions:
• Do you have any unresolved or unanswered complaints at your local Better Business Bureau or the California State License Board?
• Are you properly licensed with the California State License Board?
• Do you offer lifetime/transferable warranties?
• Are your installers bonded and certified?
• Do you have liability insurance?
• Are you classified as a window glazing contractor or just a general contractor?
• Do you have references in my neighborhood?
• How many years have you been in business?
• Do you service what you sell?
• Do you have factory-trained installers?
• Do you buy factory direct?
• Are you a Circle of Excellence Andersen Dealer?