If you are you searching for a quality gutter company, here are some things to keep in mind. Rain gutters are one of those things that for some reason, usually gets put on the back burner. I know that some people think they are not necessary or just too expensive. The truth is, the average gutter installation cost around 1200.00 to 1500.00. To me. thats cheap insurance for something that will give you about 30 years of protection against foundation damage and wood rot.
All gutter companies are pretty much the same. Right?
Absolutely wrong! Other than having the same gutter material and downspouts. Some gutter companies don't install the gutter under the drip edge flashing. Some only install a gutter hangers every 4 feet instead of the recommended 2 feet. Some even install the gutter with 3/4 inch sheet rock screws instead of 1 1/2 inch gutter screws. Some still use nails. I could go on but you get the point.
Before you sign anything, do some homework and check them out. Do they have a website? Do they have references you can call and jobs you can look at? Do they have any BBB complaints?
There is no gutter contractor license like an electrician or a plumber has. Anyone can go put a 10,000.00 gutter machine on their credit card and be in the gutter business the very next day. It takes a long time to learn all the tricks of the trade and its very difficult unless you have a good trainer.
Keep in mind that good gutter companies are usually booked up several weeks ahead. If you feel like that's too long to wait, I'm sure you could find a not so good contractor to come out and get started the very same day.
Before you start scheduling meetings with gutter installers, take the time to educate yourself about the types of gutters and their installation process. Gutters are made of a variety of materials, including aluminum, steel, copper and vinyl. Research the different types to find out the pros and cons of each. Acquiring some basic knowledge before you schedule a meeting will lead to a more productive discussion and help you to weed out the "not so qualified installers".
THE COMPANY: Try to find an installer that's been around for awhile. Most companies don't make it past their third year. Check with the local chamber of commerce, the BBB and company references.
WARRANTIES : Ask for a copy of the product warranty and also he labor warranty.
COMPANY EMPLOYEES: Employees should be neatly dressed and considerate of your property. Reputable companies also do background checks on their workers.
SALES TECHNIQUES: Sales approaches differ widely from the high pressure salesman to the guy that drops off the estimate at the door. With the information you now have, you will have plenty of questions to ask your installer.
Prices will vary from high to low. Yes you certianly can pay too much for the job, but also keep in mind that the lowest price is probably not the best value.
Higher bids usually do refelect the skill level and reputation of the installer and the really low bids usually efelect the installer's lack of experience to properly bid the job or that he the shortcuts to take in order to under bid professional installers.
Avoid gutter companies who will only accept cash, gives you a P.O. Box number instead of a physical address or requests the full payment upfront. Other red flags include door-to-door soliciting, requests for a large down payment to purchase materials and promises of a discount if you find the contractor other customers. Be smart and go with your gut. If you do not feel comfortable talking to the contractor, do not hire him.
THE CONTRACT: Never hire a contractor without a detailed contract outlining exactly what you agreed on. It should include all of the information about the project and a payment schedule. Avoid the word “estimate” since that leaves room for a significant price increase. Get a quote instead. This will help the project run smoothly and will provide protection for you, should there be a problem.
DOWN PAYMENTS: While it is true that a fifty percent deposit is reasonable, it's not so the contractor can use it to go by his supplies as some say. All reliable contractors have lines of credit and don't pay for materials untill the job is finished. The deposit simply shows your willingness to do business and also protects the installer.
Do not ever make the final payment until the job is complete and you are satisfied.
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