Hey Mr. Contractor, I have some questions
- Does your company have insurance?
You want the company you do business with to carry both comprehensive general liability insurance, which protects you from damage caused to your home or property, and workers’ compensation insurance, which protects you if a worker is injured on your property. Some contractors will say they carry insurance but unless they have these two types specifically, you could be at risk if anything unexpected happens. Ask for proof.
- What is the company’s workmanship warranty?
There are two different types of warranties. The manufacturer’s warranty covers the siding material against defects in manufacturing. In addition, the contractor should guarantee his workmanship for a year or more. Get a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty.
- Does the company employ its own installers or rely on subcontractors?
Using subcontractors isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a company to do, you just want to know how the company handles it and find out how the workers are supervised. If your installer has worked with his subcontractors for years, for example, and trusts them completely, that’s a good thing. As the homeowner, you need to know who will be doing the work on your home and how those people will be managed by the company you’re hiring.
- How long as your company been in business?
There can be a big difference between a company that’s been in business just a short time and someone who’s been doing siding installation for many years. New companies can be great, but you want to know what you’re getting before you commit so you can make the best decision for your home.
- Do you have referrals or references?
Ask for a list of several names – five is a good number – and phone numbers of former customers. Don’t feel like you have to do exhaustive interviews with all of them, but a few calls to past customers will give you a good idea of the contractor’s reputation. Don’t be shy about asking for this, and if the contractor balks, that tells you something about them.
- Does your estimate cover all costs?
You want to be sure the estimate includes labor, materials, waste removal, permits and any other contractor incidentals. As in any remodeling job, unexpected problems can crop up while the work is being done but you want to try to get as complete an estimate as possible.
- Can extra insulation be added when the siding is replaced?
If additional siding is something you’re interested in, having it done while siding is being replaced is a good time to do it. The contractor should be able to take you through the different options for insulation and give you a complete estimate of the cost involved in adding this to your siding project.
- How long will the project take?
Like any other construction or remodeling project, weather can be a major factor. What you’re looking for is a commitment to start your project and stay with it until it’s complete – not including weather delays. Avoid anyone who will start your project and leave it partially done while they go do other projects. (This is another reason checking references is important). Make sure your contractor will commit to working on your project continuously until it’s finished.