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7 Top Questions to Ask Your Contractor

The time has come to replace your old windows and doors, you’ve done your research, selected your folding door system and you’re ready to hire a contractor/installer or an architect to do the job.  At Panoramic Doors, we can’t stress enough to our clients the importance of spending substantial time researching the right contractor for your particular project.  We produce and manufacture state-of-the-art folding door systems and service all of the North America; whilst we don’t perform the installation itself, buying factory direct means big savings for a top quality product, custom made, and made to order.

The majority of our clients already have a third party contractor or installer in place to perform the install before purchasing our system, so it’s our duty to educate our clients as best we can on how to take particular care when choosing the right person for your project.  We’ve all heard of these ‘cowboy contractor’ horror stories who take your well earned cash, slam those doors or windows in and happen to disappear off the face of the planet, never to be seen or contacted again.  So we’ve come up with a list of questions to ask your chosen contractor to ensure you’re making a good decision based on facts; educate yourself and save yourself a major headache later on in the project.  Taking the time to educate yourself, and selecting the right contractor will be one of the most important decisions you will make throughout the entire design process; building trust, giving yourself peace of mind and confidence that you have the right guy will for sure alleviate some of the stress of an already chaotic situation; let’s face it, any remodel or renovation is no cake walk, you’re likely to hit a couple of bumps on the road. Here are some questions to ask your contractor before making the big decision.

DO YOU USE A SCHEDULE WHEN RUNNING MY PROJECT?

Never assume a contractor will have a regular Monday through Friday schedule and that you will be their ultimate priority; contractors work with many clients simultaneously and don’t work regular hours, so it’s really important to ask and make sure that your project will be mapped out on a professional, well thought out schedule with deadlines to adhere to.  It’s always a good idea to discuss with your contractor what days and times they plan to be on site.

HOW DO I KNOW MY HOUSE WILL STAY SECURE THROUGHOUT THE INSTALLATION PROCESS?

We all live busy lives so it’s important to feel comfortable about how secure your home is throughout the hectic time.  If the work is being performed within your home and you happen to have an alarm system, it’s often a good idea to call your home security company to give temporary entry code to your contractor.  It’s likely you’ll  be busy at work whilst the majority of the labor is being done, so discuss with your contractor the prospect of having a spare key to the property and set out strict guidelines as to who has access to your property; get something in writing for peace of mind.

WHO WILL BE REQUIRED TO GATHER PERMIT REQUIREMENTS?

Your contractor should be the one pulling all required permits for your particular project, this is not to say they will do so in a timely manner.  Projects that are held up with permit issues are costly, time consuming and more importantly frustrating! So make sure to have this discussion with your chosen installer or contractor; be certain this is something you don’t need to worry about.

HOW CAN I BE SURE MY OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE WILL BE PROTECTED THROUGHOUT THE DESIGN PROCESS?

Be sure to discuss how your outdoor space will be protected throughout the install process: things can get messy real quick so be sure to make your expectations and boundaries clear.  Tell your contractor about areas that are off limits or that only certain team members can have access to.  This is your private living space after all, so don’t feel bad for being cautious.

HOW CAN I FEEL COMFORTABLE THAT I CAN REACH MY CONTRACTOR SHOULD I HAVE QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS?

Establishing a clear line of communication and making it a priority from the get go is so important when you’re working with a third party contractor.  Discuss how frequently you can be expected to touch base with them to go over things like budget, timelines and materials.  I’m a strong believer of getting this and all the aforementioned in writing or a as simple signed agreement, that way, should anything go astray, you have some level of comeback; this can be an expensive process so go into it confident that you’ve chosen the right person.

HOW CAN I MAKE SURE THERE’S NO DISTURBANCE TO MY NEIGHBORS?

If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, then simply informing them of your plans and determining boundaries should be sufficient enough.  However, if you’re unfortunate enough to have troublesome neighbors or the kind who might be likely to complain or cause problems, it’s probably worth mentioning this to your contractor.  It’s not to say you’ll have a hassle free experience, but better to be safe than sorry.  We want to do damage control with these types of issues before they occur.

HOW CAN I BE SURE I’M HIRING SOMEONE RELIABLE AND PROFESSIONAL?

This I would say is the most important aspect of choosing your contractor, taking time to research their credentials and skill levels.  Don’t rely on websites like Yelp.com solely to search for highly rated contractors or installers in your area; this is a site more suitable for finding a great restaurant or nail salon.  Use more relevant, reliable and fact based sites such as Angieslist.com, Houzz.com or the Better Business Bureau to search for installers who come armed with great 5-star rated reviews.  Human opinion is much more persuasive than any other form of advertizing.  Take the time to meet with a few different contractors and in essence, interview them.  Ask as many questions as possible and don’t just go with your gut instinct, educate yourself using these great and reputable web resources.

We hope you’ve found some of this advice useful and put it into practice when hiring your next contractor, after all these projects usually involve substantial investments, so making sure the job is done right the first time round should be at the top of the list of your priorities.

If you have any useful suggestions, we would love for you to share them with us!

Thanks for reading, from everyone here at Panoramic Doors.