Although they go unnoticed for the most part, gutters serve an integral role in protecting your home. They serve as a sort of highway for the rainwater and leaves that run down your roof. Without them, your siding is at risk of rot, the surrounding soil can become flooded and damage the foundation, and the landscaping you’ve spent so much time on can be ruined.
At Modernize, we frequently speak to homeowners about their home improvement projects. In our recent interviews, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. Modernize now offers homeowners a free, digital Contractor Checklist as a simple, step-by-step guide to assist with your gutter maintenance.
How to Find a Reliable Gutter Contractor
Whether you’re looking to have your gutter repaired or installed, they’re an important feature that needs to be taken care of and cleaned out. You will need to find a contractor you can trust— a local professional who can get the job done quickly and right the first time:
- Ask trusted sources (friends, family, and neighbors) for a referral.
- Contact your local Better Business Bureau.
- Connect with trusted siding contractors in your area with Modernize.
Vet Your Gutter Contractors
It’s important to find a reliable gutter contractor so that your repair or replacement can be done as quickly as possible. To determine the best professional fit for your gutter project:
- Request quotes from three to four contractors in your area.
- Visit the website of each contractor.
- Is it updated and professional looking?
- Explore the customer reviews for each contractor.
- Are they mostly positive? While you can’t please everyone, consider the negative reviews and responses.
- Ask each contractor on the phone the following questions:
- How long have you been in business?
- How much experience do you have with gutter repair or installation?
- What is your project estimate?
- Can you provide a list of references?
- Can you provide proof of insurance for personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage?
Meet With Your Top Gutter Contractors
After obtaining three or four written estimates and vetting each of your potential contractors, meet in-person with your top contractors to review project-specific details and expectations. We have created a free worksheet to help homeowners compare contractors. Be sure to discuss the following with each contractor:
- Ask for proof of insurance, which should provide their insurance company name, policy number, and policy limits.
- Discuss who will manage warranty details and responsibility.
- Make sure to get a fixed price before signing a contract.
You’ll also want to research what kind of gutters and materials will best suit your home. This will depend on how many trees you have in your yard, how much rain your community gets, the type of roof, and the climate of where you live. It doesn’t hurt to have the basic knowledge of gutters to help you know what questions to ask the contractor.
Be Aware of Warning Signs
While most contractors are hardworking business owners who look to leave a project with a happy customer, unfortunately, there is a small percentage of contractors who are not honest professionals. The best way to avoid scams is to choose a local, trusted gutter contractor. You can confirm this by checking their physical business address and validating their licensing.
Here are some warning signs to keep in mind:
- Avoid contractors who request the entire project cost, or large cash deposit, up front.
- Avoid anyone who pressures you to sign a contract immediately. You should be able to take your time to choose the right contractor for you.
- Be wary of any outliers in your quotes. All gutter installation or repair estimates should be relatively similar, unless a quote is proposing a different material or significantly different project.
Prepare for Your Final Gutter Contractor Meeting
At the final meeting, there are a few steps to go over before the siding contractor begins your project.
- Reconfirm your initial quote.
- Agree upon a payment plan.
- Obtain a paper trail of the following:
- Your contract
- Project plans
- Order changes
- Bills and invoices
- Proof of insurance and/or permitting, and
- Contractor correspondence
You can also refer to the Modernize Contractor Checklist, which will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your siding project is in good hands. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Homeowner Portal or by downloading it here.