Everyone wants to find the best siding contractors to for their re-siding project. Our 10-step guide to vinyl siding contractors takes you from the initial phone call through to signing a binding contract.
Pre-Screening Vinyl Siding Contractors
It is best to start with recommendations from friends, family or neighbors, if possible. Don’t just call the big guys that advertise on TV – talk to smaller companies as well to compare services and prices. Or find local companies online. Make up a list of questions to ask each one – find out their basic business info, who handles the actual job, what type of warranty they offer, basic price range, timelines, references, licensing and certifications. You don’t need detailed answers at this point, just enough so you can form a general impression. This will help you pare down your list to just a few that you want to meet with.
Meet With The Companies
Meet with at least three contractors or companies. Schedule appointments close together so you can better remember their answers and so that it’s easier to compare your overall impressions of each one, as well as their products.. Have your written list of questions ready to ask each one and jot down their answers so you can compare notes later. Make sure they can handle the style of your house and any detailed trim work. Additional expamples of questions include installation process, including demolition, underlayment prep, trash removal, and repair of possible damage.
Get Detailed Bids
ompare each contractor’s detailed bid in print before you make a decision. Have the contractor take a look at your home, discuss what you want and then let them come back with a detailed bid. Ask for an overall price, but tell them you also want the project broken down — Here’s what the bid should include:
• Description of entire vinyl siding project
• Demo, removal and prep cost and procedures
• Material costs and type of materials used
• Installation cost and scope of installation
• Payment structure and schedule
• Project timeline
• Who is performing work/overseeing project
• How changes to project and/or disputes are handled
• Warranty information
Evaluate Your Bids
It’s important to set a budget up front – and then stick to that budget. This will help you hold to your original plans without having to sacrifice something else to get the job done, and it will also put you in a more objective position when it’s time to negotiate. This may require some concessions on your part, such as choosing different materials or forgoing certain features, but if you’re firm on your budget from the start, the process will be less emotional and will go more smoothly.
Compare The Contractors
Take a look at each contractor’s bid and compare them. See what you’re getting from each one, what type of product is included, what sort of warranties are offered, and what the final price will be. Also make sure you’re comfortable with their terms. Then do some research on the companies to make sure they’re licensed, bonded and insured. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints about them and follow up on references.
Select The Best Contractor
You’ve spoken to the contractors, seen their detailed bids, done your research and made your comparisons. Now it’s time to find the best vinyl siding contractor to meet your specific needs. This decision should come down to more than simply cost. It may also be affected by timing, payment options, product choices, or just a gut feel about who you trust most or feel most comfortable with.
Negotiate To Get What You Want
Once you have selected a contractor, you may want to further negotiate the cost of the project or certain terms. It’s good to have a detailed breakdown of the job, so you have better leverage to get what you want. If you want a lower price, see if they can make some concessions or if you can modify certain features or services. If timing is most important to you, find out how to ensure that the job is completed on time. Contractors want your business, and hopefully potential referrals, so they are often willing to negotiate their bids to some extent.
Sign A Detailed Contract
Make sure the contract has detailed descriptions of the project, including pricing for each portion, what will be done, who will do the job, what the timeframe of the project is, who is responsible for what, and how payment will be scheduled. The contract should include information about the types of products used and warranty information on both materials and labor. There should be an indication of how changes to the original project scope are handled and if there is a dispute resolution process in place. Any other negotiated terms (i.e., a discount for pre-payment or incentives for the contractor to complete the project by a specific date) should also be put in writing.
Determine A Payment Schedule
Ideally, you should agree to payment terms in which you either pay a portion of the job at certain stages (i.e., after removal of old siding, once products are delivered, at completion of job), or you should wait until the entire job is done before making payment. You may be willing to negotiate payment terms to provide added incentives for the company to drop the price or speed up the job, but that’s up to you.
Let The Work Begin
If you’ve followed all of the above steps, you should feel confident that you have hired the best vinyl siding contractor for the job. All of your research, comparisons and negotiations have been done and everyone has signed on the dotted line. All that’s left to do is to sit back and imagine how great your home will look once your new vinyl siding is installed.