Hiring a Door Installer: Contractor Checklist
Upgrading or replacing your home’s doors is an exciting opportunity to boost your curb appeal and give your interior some extra pop. As with any home improvement project, you should hire a door contractor that is reliable, trustworthy, and proven to help you avoid any unnecessary costs or delays.
Beyond aesthetics, your exterior doors protect your home from the elements and unwelcome visitors. Choosing the right person or company for the job will help ensure your home is protected and that your new door(s) will keep your family protected for years to come.
How to Find a Reliable Door Contractor
Finding a door installer can be a hassle, but remember that you are not the only one who’s gone through the process. There are plenty of sources available to help you find a local professional.
- Ask family, friends, coworkers, or neighbors who have recently completed a door renovation project.
- Contact your local Better Business Bureau.
- Connect with trusted door contractors in your area with Modernize.
Talking with people you already know, or using trusted resources like the Better Business Bureau or Modernize allows you to easily filter out contractors not cut out for the job, so you can focus your decision on the best your area has to offer.
Vet Your Contractor
Once you’ve found at least three or four quality candidates, you need to determine who will be the best for your project needs.
- Visit their website to confirm it’s updated and professional looking.
- Explore online customer reviews and consider any negative reviews and responses.
- Speak directly with the door installer to ask the following:
- How long have you been in business?
- Can you provide proof of current insurance for personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverages?
- What is your project timeline and estimate?
- Can you provide a list of references?
At this point, you’ll also want to consider any special requests/needs you have for your renovation project. These might include confirming your potential door contractor has experience with the type or style of door you are installing or — if you live in a historical home — if they have performed work on older homes.
Meet with the Top Contractors
Once you have narrowed down your top prospects, you’ll want to meet the final candidate(s) in-person to review project-specific details and expectations. To make this process easier, we have created a free worksheet to help homeowners compare contractors. Be sure to take notes as you discuss the following:
- Who manages warranty details?
- Will they dispose of the old door(s) and frames (if being replaced), and is this included in the quote or is an additional service?
- Is the quote an estimate or a fixed price? Make sure to get a fixed price before signing any contracts.
- Ask for the proof of insurance that you discussed in your phone conversation.
Be Aware of Warning Signs
Unfortunately, not every contractor has your best interest in mind. Choosing a local, trusted door contractor can help you from being scammed. In addition to following the steps above, here are some potential warning signs to avoid:
- They request the entire project cost, or a substantial cash amount, upfront.
- They don’t provide or sign a written contract or attempt to pressure you into signing one immediately.
- They won’t commit to project or milestone dates.
- Be wary of outliers in any quote.
Prepare for Final Meeting
Before a door installer starts your project, hold one last meeting to go over some final steps.
- Reconfirm your initial quote.
- Agree upon a payment plan (if applicable) and payment type.
- Discuss how any surprise costs will be handled.
- Obtain a paper trail of the following:
- Your contract
- Project plans
- Order changes
- Bills and invoices
- Proof of insurance and/or permitting
- Contractor contact information
With these steps completed, you can be confident that your door renovation project will go as planned without the headaches of hiring an inexperienced or unreliable door contractor. To further help, we have created a digital version of this contractor checklist to help you vet a trusted professional for your door project.