Purchasing replacement windows is a big deal, and selecting your window dealer is a decision one should not make lightly. Whether you are a homeowner who wants to update your home to maximize its energy efficiency or improve your home’s appearance, there are several questions you should prepare to ask a dealer in order to make an informed choice.
1) How long have you been in business?
Asking how long a company has been in business provides a solid start in your questioning. In addition to gauging their experience level and expertise, ask them for their full company name and address. This will allow you to verify their information. Of course, more experience is generally better, but all businesses have to start somewhere. Reading the customer reviews will offer more insight into their professionalism and expertise.
Something else to consider asking with this question is how often they install windows and doors compared to other projects. Look for someone who either exclusively provides windows and doors or has a strong concentration in exterior renovations.
2) What kind of warranty do you offer?
Another crucial bit of information to glean is what warranties the dealership offers. You should reasonably expect the installation to be backed by at least one year of warranty. However, the length of time isn’t as important as the fact that they demonstrate intent and willingness to stand by their work.
Understand that product warranties typically don’t include labor and would be covered separately. At SoftLite, we take your investment and our reputation seriously, which is why we offer a limited lifetime warranty on all of our products. Though each of our products is built to last, our ongoing commitment to the people who buy them is evident in our comprehensive warranties that can even be transferred if you move or sell your house. Our lifetime warranty guarantees that our windows will not rot, rust, warp, pit, corrode, or blister, and all moving parts and seal will be free from defects in materials or workmanship. For additional peace of mind, we offer an optional glass breakage rider.
3) Do you have the proper insurance and license?
Most states require window installers to be licensed and insured. So, if you live in one of those states, be sure to ask to see the dealer’s license and insurance information. This will help cover you in the event that something goes wrong during installation.
4) Can you provide customer references?
Perhaps the best way to determine if a dealer is worthy of your business is to find out from their actual customers how their experience went. Any reputable company should have a readily available roster of happy customers who are willing to gush about their positive dealings with them. Check the BBB, the organization’s social media sites, and online review boards for honest feedback. For the best results, try to find a mix of recent and older reviews, giving you a range of both how the company is doing now and if their installations have stood the test of time.
5) What are your lead times?
For any project, it’s vital to understand the lead times to expect with your dealer, especially if you’re on a time crunch. Understand that replacement windows and doors are usually not readily stocked but are typically made to order, so they fit your specified measurements and requests. Now more than ever, it’s worth noting that the supply chain has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, so setting a realistic timeline in the first place will be crucial.
6) What benefits do I get from replacement windows?
Even if you already have an idea of what you’re looking for in terms of windows or doors, asking the dealer about their recommendations is a great way to evaluate their expertise and honesty. Ideally, they’ll give a range of choices and help you compare materials as well as discuss other benefits like home value, noise reduction, and durability. Based on what you’re looking for, the age of your house, and other factors, the dealer should be able to talk about the potential savings you will accrue from energy-efficiency improvements. Furthermore, a trained professional may have some ideas you may not have thought about and identify solutions you haven’t considered.
7) What is included in my estimate?
It’s crucial when you are getting your estimate that you take special care to understand what is included and ask about any unexpected costs. For example, is there an added fee to remove the old window materials? Or, if a permit is required, will you be expected to pay for that? Establishing a clearly defined payment schedule is also paramount as you don’t want to be charged unexpected late fees. The key is asking for and expecting full transparency and maintaining open and clear communication.
8) What is the installation process?
Lastly, it’s a good idea to ask questions about the overall installation process. In addition to a clear understanding of how long it will take, ask about the different stages: before, during, and after installation. Will there be a site assessment beforehand? Will you need to make any special preparations to allow the installers to do their jobs efficiently? What steps will the dealer take to ensure minimal disruption to the household? What will the clean-up process entail? These questions are often necessary to set expectations and will help alleviate your concerns before the renovation begins.
Now that you are armed with the proper questions and have a good idea of how to approach your next replacement window project get started by finding a SoftLite dealer near you.