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How To Evaluate A Home Improvement Contractor: Part 3 Installation


This week, in the 3rd installment on how to evaluate a home improvement contractor, we will take a look at a critical piece of the puzzle, the Installation. I have always said, just because you have the right tools to do a job doesn’t mean you are qualified to do it. Before you hire a contractor to do your next home improvement project, here are a few things to consider when it comes to installation.


1. Sub-contractor vs Company Employees

  • We have all heard this story before…I hired a big box retailer to help me with a home improvement project. The company seemed legit and the product appeared to fit my needs but when the guys showed up to install it, I was less than impressed! If you have ever hired a company to help you with a home improvement project, chances are you come in contact with a subcontractor. Simply defined as a company or person who is hired to carry out work on behalf of the main contractor, subcontractors do not work directly for the company you hired to do your project.
  • As a subcontractor, these installers may or may have workers compensation or liability insurance. These installers are not required to carry any workers compensation or liability insurance because chances are they are not Residential Builders in the State of Michigan. Only licensed Residential Builders in the State of Michigan are required to carry workers compensation and liability insurance on their installers. If you hire a company who subcontracts their installation, these subcontractors are covered by your Homeowners Insurance policy. So if one of these knuckleheads accidentally falls off a ladder, your insurance company may be stuck paying his medical bills!
  • Do yourself a favor and find a home improvement contractor who hires their own installers. Not only will these men be covered in-case of an accident but they will also care more about the work they do. Often times, installers who work for a company are paid hourly instead of a lump sum for a job. These installers are encouraged to do what is right to make a job look good regardless of how long it takes to do it. If a job that should take 2 hours turn into a 5 hour job, an hourly installer won’t feel cheated because he is being compensated for his time.

2. Greenhorn vs Veteran

  • There is something to be said about experience. Do you remember when you first learned how to ride a bike? I certainly do and it involved quite a few bumps and bruises. Sure eventually I became a pro at riding a 2 wheel bike but it didn’t happen over night. The same is true when it comes to home improvement installation. Every home improvement project is unique and even if you are installing the same windows into 2 houses in the same subdivision, it doesn’t mean they will be anything alike. It takes a professional installer years and years to become a master at what they do.
  • When getting quotes on your home improvement project, spend a fair amount of time discussing the installation end of the project. Discuss with your sales rep how long the installers have worked for the company, what is the company’s continuing education program and do they require their installers to be licensed Residential Builders. Though these questions may seem invasive, you are well within your rights to ask them and choosing not too may only lead to problems down the road.
  • In the end, you need to become comfortable with the skill level on the installers you will eventually allow to work on your home. Some companies may even allow you to go out to an ongoing home improvement project to meet their installers in person.

3. Understaffed vs Overstaffed 

  • More is better right? Well, when it comes to a home improvement project this may not always be the case. The other day, I saw my neighbor getting a new roof on his house. Their must have been 5-8 guys on top of the roof with at least another 10 guys on the ground. I am not a professional roofer and maybe 15-18 guys was appropriate for this size roof. However, if it was too many guys as I suspected, that is a lot of extra people who may end up inadvertently messing up the project.
  • When you are getting quotes on your project, ask the sales representative how many guys will be on the crew that will install your project. If the salesman doesn’t known, ask him to find out and get back with you. This simple question will allow your common sense to evaluate whether the installation crew will be over or understaffed. Having the right amount of people to do a home improvement project is critical when it comes to project completion. An understaffed crew may end up taking 3 times as long to complete a project leaving more time for human error.
  • Ask the company you are considering hiring if you can go to a job site to see an install. This small step when pay off in the long run as you will be able to see how many guys are working on a particular project.

We hope you have enjoyed this weeks blog article discussing how to evaluate a home improvement company. Next week we will take a look at evaluation point # 4, the Guarantee.

This article has been written by the publishing staff at Pure Energy Window Company. We are Family Owned and Operated replacement window company servicing all of Southeastern Michigan and Lansing. If you are considering replacing the windows in your home, give Pure Energy a call today. Call (844) 449-9990 or click on the link below to get started!

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