5 tips for meeting with a contractor

Contractor discussing options with homeowners

Meeting with a contractor is about more than just getting a quote. It’s about making sure they understand the vision for your project.

You want to understand what you’re getting, how the process will work, and ultimately, make sure you feel comfortable with the person you hire.

Here are topics to cover during your initial meeting:

Tell them what you want

Tell the contractor what you're trying to accomplish with your home improvement project and the style and color of windows you’re looking for. If you haven’t given much thought to choosing the right windows yet, it’s time to pump the brakes and figure that out. This way you’ll be more likely to get something you’ll be happy with in the long run.

We spoke with Kelly Thurman of Artisan Windows, an Andersen Certified Contractor, who put it perfectly: “I want to talk with you, not to you. I want you to be completely honest with me so I can give you the best advice possible.”

A great example of this is a homeowner who recently met with Kelly. The homeowner knew what she wanted, a very specific window color to match the unique color of her home, but she didn’t know how to get it. She told Kelly this and he immediately knew the exact type of window she needed.

Discuss start and end dates for your project

If you’ve done your research and chosen a certified contractor, you’re already off to a great start since an Andersen Certified Contractor has already proven to us that they’ve met our high standards. However, it’s still important to go over the timeline and make sure you know what to expect.

This is also why it’s important to know what you’re looking for with your project. If you have a strong vision for what you want, they’ll be able to specify the right products and give you a solid timeframe.

Ask for samples

The last thing you want is to be surprised when your windows don’t look the way you thought they would. Visiting a showroom to see the actual product, or seeing samples, is a great way to make sure you get exactly what you want.

This is what Kelly did for his homeowner who had a specific color requirement. Since the color was so important to the homeowner, Kelly wanted to make sure she saw it in real life. So, he had a sample sent to him that he could show her. This is the kind of thing your contractor should be willing to do for you.

Understand their plan for unexpected issues

While it’s always possible that the installers could find unexpected issues during the installation process, you can at least be prepared for them. Ask your contractor what they plan to do and how they will communicate with you if they find an unexpected issue.

David Balog from The Window People, another one of our Andersen certified contractors, has a great plan for when this happens. His installers will stop and take photos, send the photos back to David’s team, and then his team reaches out to the homeowner. “We show the homeowners the pictures and give them a range of what [the repair] will cost.” This is the kind of straight-forward response you should look for.

Get a written quote and warranty details

In addition to the cost estimate, you should get several items in writing. These include start and completion dates, a detailed description of the work, project costs, who will get the necessary permits, payment arrangements and warranty details.

A quick note on the warranty: You should ask what's covered, how long it's covered and how quickly they can address an issue. For example, David said his company has a 20-year warranty and is usually able to have someone out to fix an issue within a couple days. This again is the kind of answer you should look for from your contractor.
Woman smiling looking out window

That's it!

You should leave your meeting with a contractor feeling confident and at ease. This is the person you’re trusting to put together the team that will be in your home and bring your vision to life. Since you’ll likely only replace your windows or doors once, it’s imperative that you feel good about every step along the way.

Remember, this process should be exciting. You’re on the way to improving your home!

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