In recent interviews with Modernize, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. One of the most important steps of that process is your first phone call with a potential gutter contractor, during which you will vet them against the others you’re considering. While finding someone you feel comfortable talking to is significant, it’s not all an abstract exercise. There are some questions you should definitely ask during this phone call to be sure you’ve covered foundational bases before moving forward with a contractor for gutter repair or replacement.

Use the guide below and adjust it to your own circumstances to ensure you get everything you need from your gutter contractor vetting phone call.

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How to Prepare for the Call With A Gutter Contractor

Before the call, there are several first steps you can take to begin determining the best professional fit for your roofing project:

  • Start by verifying each roofing company’s contact information
    • Verifying a company’s details is a very easy way to weed out potential scams. If you can’t verify that information yourself, ask for the roofing company’s full legal business name and physical address on your first call.
  • Visit the website of each contractor.
    • Another great way to see if a contractor is reputable: scrutinize their website. Is it updated and professional looking?
  • Explore customer reviews for each contractor.
    • Modernize offers a list of verified customer reviews for each contractor candidate. Are they mostly positive? Don’t forget to consider negative reviews, and how the company responds.

How long has the gutter contractor been in business? How much experience do they have specifically with gutter installation and repair?

The contractor’s experience is tantamount to good work. Years of experience could mean local expertise and technical knowledge that will only benefit the quality of your gutter installation or repair. However, it should be noted that less experience isn’t necessarily bad or telling of a low-quality installation — but it does mean the rates and warranties should be lower, leaving you room to negotiate on pricing.

What is the gutter contractor’s project estimate — and what happens if it changes?

Once you have an estimate of the project’s tentative costs and duration in your hands, you need to understand the process behind creating it and therefore what would happen if anything in it changes. Be sure to get clarity on these details and don’t be shy to ask for an explanation if you feel you don’t fully understand something.

Agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing. Surprises, in other words, shouldn’t surprise you or your contractor, and they should definitely not surprise your investment.

How much experience does the contractor have with gutter installation incentives or rebates?

Of course, you want your gutters to be working properly to protect your home, but some communities also offer incentives and rebates for them. When hiring a contractor to replace, repair, or install the gutters in your home, find out if they are aware of what financial incentives there might be that you can take advantage of. A trustworthy and experienced contractor will not only have the technical know-how, but also be well versed in the topic as a whole. 

Can the gutter contractor provide a list of references?

While this gutter installation or repair could stay with you (or at least your home) for decades, it will also build, or continue to build, the contractor’s reputation into a prosperous business. Ask the contractor for testimonials from past clients and don’t feel shy to ask for contact information so you can call those references yourself and get a take on what their experience was like.

Connect with trusted an estimate of the project’s tentative costs in your area with Modernize. This is an important investment you’re making, and the more information you have about the company you’re giving your hard-earned money to, the better.

Can the company provide proof of insurance for personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage?

When home improvement projects result in accidents, you want to rest assured that your contractor is fully insured for personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage. Even with a clean slate of past accidents, it only takes one to harm your project’s outcome and, more importantly, your personal savings — especially since gutter projects require workers to be on ladders.

Warranties will also impact your quoted cost. Most installers offer manufacturer’s warranties that protect you from faulty equipment. Some might offer additional guarantees for the installation, as well, covering potential damage to your house. Be sure the quoted warranty is clear in what it covers—and in what it doesn’t.

The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your gutter project is in good hands. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Resource Center or by Modernize Contractor Checklist.