Finding a quality siding contractor in Virginia is absolutely essential if you're looking to invest in new siding for your home. You probably know someone who's been burned by an unscrupulous contractor, and it does almost seem like finding a trustworthy and experienced remodeling contractor is a crap-shoot. However, there are some honest, affordable, and qualified people out there who can make your home look awesome. You just need to know what to look for and the questions to ask!
We're sick of seeing people get taken for a ride by people in our profession. They give us a bad name and make it harder for us to work well with good clients. This is why we've put together a list of essential questions to ask to help you be sure that the contractor you are considering is the right person for the job. The answers contractors give to these questions will let you know the following:
- If they are knowledgeable about siding and siding installation.
- If they are on the same page as you as far as what needs to be done.
- If they are clear about your budget.
- If there are any red flags that would make them a risky hire.
What to Ask Siding Contractors in Virginia
1. Can you provide me with at least 3 references?
Any decent professional ought to be willing to provide you with references from happy customers. Be wary of any contractor who has a problem with providing references. You will also need to make sure that the references the contractor provides to you are from recent jobs. In other words, don’t accept references from 8 years ago. References should have phone numbers for you to call.
If you have any doubts about the siding installation contractor your looking at, you should give the references a call to double check. However, you should know that not all quality contractors will give you a long list, as many customers who were satisfied with the work may not wish to give out their names and telephone numbers to strangers.
You should also look at online business reviews as part of this process. If you want a full picture of the company, online reviews can help, as you may find that people's experience with the company run the gamut of satisfaction. If there are too many bad or middling reviews you may want to proceed with caution with this particular contractor. Checking the BBB, Yelp, Angie's List, Houzz.com, and Google Plus should give you a good look at what customers think.
2. How long have you been in business?
In general it is best to go with a siding installation contractor that has been in business for more than 5 years. Most contractors who perform shoddy work develop a bad reputation and will go out of business before then. If they have been in business for over 5 years, then they probably have some happy customers. This doesn't mean that you should eschew a new business owner. Everyone has to begin somewhere and if you like the new contractor and everything else checks out, you may be willing to give them a shot. If they have any references to offer, you should definitely call them before hiring a newer contractor.
3. Does your company carry workers compensation and liability insurance?
This is a very important question. Always verify that your siding installation contractor is insured with at least $1 million dollars of liability coverage. You will also want to make sure that the contractor carries worker compensation insurance. Ask to see the proof of insurance certificates and ask for the agent who provided the certificates. You'll always want to verify this information by calling the agency. A copy of an insurance certificate does not let you know if the policy is still current. Even if the certificate has an expiration date, you cannot tell if the insurance has been canceled by either party. You'll also want to also ask if the contractor is licensed and call the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation to verify compliance with the law.
4. Are you bonded?
You will want to go with a contractor that is bonded. This will help ensure that the contractor will do a good job and provides protection for you in case of poor work. According to JW Surety Bonds,
“Contractor license bonds protect the public, as they guarantee contractors will perform according to their license, and can even guarantee the contractor’s work performance. The bond guarantee varies by the government agency requiring the bond, as each one has their own bond requirements, bond form language and explicit guarantees. If a contractor does not fulfill the guarantee, a claim can be filed on the bond, which they will be responsible to pay.”
5. Will you be obtaining permits?
The answer to this question should be yes. Be wary of a contractor that doesn’t obtain the permits required for you. It could mean that the contractor is not licensed or registered, as required by your state or locality. In fact, you'll want to include this requirement in the contract.
6. Do you have a local office?
Contractors with local offices nearby will be more likely to respond to your problems quickly. You should also ask if the company has a website, and if so, you should check it out. A good website means that the company takes the time and spends the money on advertising and appearance. It will also give you an idea about how transparent they are about their staff, products, services and procedures.
7. What is your availability for the next few months?
This is a good question to ask, especially if your siding need immediate repair. It certainly won’t do you any good to hire a contractor who is booked solid for the next 6 months, or is likely to get pulled off your project halfway through.
8. Do you offer a warranty?
You should insist on getting a warranty on the work and the materials for your new siding. A minimum time period for this warranty is 1 year, but try to get a warranty that lasts anywhere from 2 to 3 years. You're not likely to see a 5 year Guarantee often, but if you do, it certainly says a lot about how confident that company is in it services and the products they use in your home.
A warranty should cover failure all siding aspects, any leaks or drafts that occur, and any other problems that relate to defects caused by labor. Also ask about the manufacturer’s warranty.
9. Can I read and have a copy of the proposed contract before I sign it?
The answer to this question should always be yes. You should never sign any contract that you have not fully read through and understand. When looking over the contract you will want to be sure that everything about the work that is to be performed is included:
- What needs to be done
- How it is going to get done
- When the work is scheduled to begin
- A proposed timeline for completion
- The budget should be clearly laid out as well, including such considerations as: How much are materials and labor going to cost? How much are you agreeing to pay in deposit before work begins? In general you should only pay a deposit of 10% of the total cost of the project or $1000, whichever is less. You usually should not pay more than that, but you should expect to put a deposit down before work begins.
- A contract should also have a plan in case of installation delays. If bad weather, personal problems or something else comes up that will prevent the contractor from finishing the project on time, what do they have planned to fix the situation?
10. Will there be a crew supervisor?
In many cases more than one crew will be performing the installation, and the owner/contractor may not always be on your job site. You'll need to know if there will be a specific foreman or person in charge that you can go to directly with problems or complaints.
11. What is the contractor’s record for complaint resolution?
Since we're talking complaints, let it be known that you should automatically reject any contractor who says they never had a complaint. Even the very best of contractors find themselves in disputes for one reason or another. Just like any job interview, ask the contractor what the problem was and ask for an explanation as to how they rectified the complaint.
Be forewarned that many quality contractors, in business for a long period of time, and with thousands of completed projects, are exposed to disputes. The question is, not if they have had disputes, but what was done about the dispute after it occurred.
You'll also want to know if they have a standard procedure for complaints: If there is a problem, you want to know how the contractor will go about fixing it. Do they require that you write a complaint down before it can be addressed? What is their track record for fixing problems or complaints by customers?
12. How many people are on your crew? Will you be using any sub-contractors?
Safety should be a topic when it comes to the people who are working on your home. You will want to know who will be spending time in and around your home. Also if the contractor plans on using a sub-contractor you will want to know their names and their license numbers. Any sub-contractor that works on your home should also be insured. You do not want to be liable for any injury that may occur on your property.
13. Are you a member of any siding installation associations?
This is not a requirement, but if a contractor is a member of a local or national association it shows that they care about staying up to date in their profession. It may also mean that they are staying informed and educated on siding technologies, which could mean better work.
14. Does your company have any pending legal action against it?
You need to know this because if a company has a legal problem it could cause them to shut down. This could leave you with a half finished job.
15. Will you be removing and hauling away the debris from the job? Will this cost extra?
You will want your siding installation contractor to remove all trash and debris from your house. Just be sure you know ahead of time if you will be charged for this service.
Looking for the Perfect Siding Contractor in Virginia? See What We Have to Offer in a FREE Consultation!
We hope this list has armed you with the approach you'll want to take when hiring a siding installation company in Virginia. Siding is a major investment, and you need to be sure you're dealing with a someone you can trust.
Don't put your next custom home or remodeling project in the wrong hands. Choose a company that will stand behind their products and services 100% and for longer than 1-Year like Tidewater Custom Homes and Remodeling.
To learn more, contact us today for a FREE Initial NO-Obligation Consultation!