Choosing the Right Installation Company: Part 2
In part one of this two-part series, we talked about how experience, security, and insurance are important things to consider which choosing a company to install your garage door, entry/storm door, awning, or screen. Choosing the right company is just as big of a decision as picking which type of door and color you want on the outside of your home. In part two we will be looking at workmanship, warranties, and code compliance.
Workmanship is a measure of the quality of a company’s work. It relates to experience in a way. This is where a visit to a past job is helpful. As mentioned in the last post, call references! Ask them about the quality of the work and what they thought of the installers. Ask specific questions about whether the installers arrived in a timely manner, if they were courteous and focused, and if they cleaned up after themselves.
Look at the company’s trucks. Do the name and phone number appear on the vehicle? Company vehicles are one of the first outward signs of how the company is run and how your job will be treated. The trucks don’t have to be brand new, just well maintained, clean, and neat. This is often a reflection of the kind of treatment you will receive when the installers arrive at your home.
Ask about the average length of time employees have been with the company. This speaks volumes about the way the employees are treated. They generally don’t stay with a company that doesn’t treat their customers well. It takes more than a year or two to become a competent technician and installer, therefore, it is a good idea to ask about the training programs utilized for new employees and how veterans are kept up to date on their skills and industry changes. Companies with long term employees have an environment to allow for skills to be passed down from generation to generation.
The real test of how much faith a contractor has in his own ability is reflected in the warranty he offers. A reputable contractor will generally offer some form of a “Written Labor Warranty.” Not one that is handwritten in the comment section of the bid, but one that is printed on the contractor’s estimate or proposal form as well as their literature.
In addition, the paperwork should list the manufacturers of the products they install along with the manufacturer’s warranty. Reputable manufacturers will have a printed warranty to accompany the product. Demand a copy of it before you pay for the work and read it! Don’t wait until you have a problem before you read it. Lastly, make sure you understand what you get and what you don’t get. Your contractor should be able to explain it clearly and give references of customers who used their warranty and will share their experiences.
Code and Regulatory Compliance
Building codes and safety regulations have been legislated to protect the installers and the homeowners. Find out how knowledgeable your contractor is about local building codes, industry safety practices, and government regulations. The best way to do this is by asking people you know who know about these matters. You are not trying to be an expert, but just be aware of some of the major concepts. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask them about the content of their training programs, it should be documented.