How to Find A Good Window Treatment Professional Near Me?
Residential windows are responsible for 30% loss in the home’s heating energy, and can be made more energy-efficient with window treatments. Typically, window treatments are one of the few upgrades under $1,000 to improve the appeal and value of your home instantly. However, it takes professionally installed window treatments to capture these benefits effectively. When discussing with window treatment contractors near you, ensure they provide adequate answers to these questions to hire the best:
It is not enough to claim to be a professional window treatment contractor. This claim has to be backed by an authentic and verifiable license. A license is the basic evidence that a contractor near you is proficient to complete your job appropriately. However, states differ in their licensure requirements for window treatment professionals. Arizona classifies window treatments under the “Glazing (R-65)” and requires a professional glazing license. In California, licensing for windows covering professionals requires work experience and either business or law examination.
In some other states, your window treatment contractor will be required to hold a general contractor license or a home improvement contractor license. As such it is recommended you contact your state licensing board or the consumer protection agency to determine the licensing requirements for window treatment professionals in your area. Note, for states like New York and Pennsylvania, municipal authorities determine the license requirements for contractors.
Similarly your window treatments may hold certifications from professional bodies including the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ, the Window Coverings Association of America (WCAA) and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). These organizations usually have a member directory online, hence, check such directory on their websites to verify your window treatment contractor’s membership claim.
Insurance and bonding are two essential instruments that provide compensatory coverage for you, your property, the project, and the professionals. You must ask your window treatments professional if they are adequately insured and bonded.
Window treatment contractors, like other home improvement contractors near you, are susceptible to work-related accidents. Such accidents may include damage or injuries to your property, the workers, or a third party. Hence, financial coverage against damage to property and injury to persons is what insurance policies seek to provide. Generally, liability insurance and workers compensation insurance are the minimum insurance requirements.
Specifically, liability insurance provides coverage for you in the event that your professional causes damages to your property, injury to persons, or any other job-related liability. On the other hand, workers compensation insurance takes the financial liability off you if your professional suffers physical injury on your job - and property, by covering the cost of medical treatment and paying compensation for income lost as a result.
An uncompleted window treatments job leaves your home looking uneven and exposes your window installations to the risk of damage. A valid surety bonding is an agreement that your professional has with a surety company, compelling them to cover the cost of completing your job in the event of a service default.
You must not overlook these requirements so that you may avoid incurring additional financial liabilities that may arise in the course of the project.
Inquire from your contractors if they specialize in all forms of or some specific window treatments. It is most important to determine that the contractor near you has the prerequisite skill to complete the kind of window treatment you desire. Window treatments work can be classified by two factors: external or internal window treatments and hard or soft window treatments.
- Exterior Window Treatments: Exterior window treatments involve installing window attachments outside the home's windows. They work most effectively to reduce solar heat gain and also offer improved privacy. They are deployed and retracted as the weather dictates to achieve the best energy savings. Common exterior window treatments include awnings, shutters, and shades.
- Interior Window Treatments: These typically deal with installing window treatments on the inside of a building. It involves more elements of style and design than exterior work. Professionals who are specialized in this type of window treatment are known as interior designers. Examples of interior window treatments may include blinds, roman shades, curtains, and draperies.
Window treatments specialization can also be classified by type of material used, and the two major classifications are:
- Hard window treatments: Basically, hard window treatments are those coverings and attachments made of hard materials such as wood, vinyl, and aluminum. They are typically more expensive and technical to install and may come in manual and automated forms
- Soft window treatments: These window treatments are made of soft materials, particularly fabrics. Common examples include curtains, drapes, and valances.
You must ascertain who exactly will be working on your project. Ensure that only the persons you vetted handle your projects. Sometimes, your contractor may need extra hands due to your project’s scale. Determine that all workers on site are adequately licensed and covered by relevant insurance plans. Note, your window treatments professionals’ workers compensation may cover their employees, but it does not cover independent third parties. Do not expose yourself to further financial liabilities beyond project execution costs by allowing unqualified and uninsured hands on your project.
You have to ask prospective window treatment professionals what warranties they are offering you on their services and the treatment products. A warranty is typically issued by manufacturers and service professionals to back the quality of their products and services. It is also a promise to rectify defects arising from poor service or product qualities. Written warranties are the most reliable. They serve as tangible evidence and also provide a clear statement of terms and conditions. Experienced professionals near you would not hesitate to provide you with a written warranty for their workmanship.
Generally, the coverage period of treatment materials’ warranties ranges between one to five years, and covers repair and replacement costs of internal mechanisms, brackets, components, and core attachments/coverings. It is usually smart to use the manufacturer’s in-house installation professionals, as installation will be done to the letter. Also, your manufacturers will be willing to award you full warranty services and claims if you invoke them.
Generally, permits are issued by local authorities to ensure that projects and contracts comply with local regulations and ordinances. Although window treatments do not essentially alter the physical structure of your home and, as such, may not require a permit. However, it is recommended you make inquiries at the local building regulatory authority office near you to avoid any possible violations of the city code.
Let prospective window treatments professionals point you to past projects and clients. You will be able to assess the quality of their service and professionalism comprehensively. If you ask for at least three references as recommended by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you will also be able to evaluate their experience and how well it aligns with your needs.
Top window treatments professionals will typically have a portfolio website where you can see past projects and customer testimonies. Alternatively, you may seek out unbiased reviews of your contractor from clients near you on the internet on websites such as the Better Business Bureau, Google Business Reviews, and Yelp.
It is essential that your window treatments professional carry a valid business certificate. A business license is an authorization issued by government agencies to recognized and legalized businesses, allowing them to offer their services for payment. You run the risk of being defrauded by imposters if you deal with businesses without a verifiable license.
Typically, a licensed business will have registered with the relevant authorities, obtained necessary qualifications and licenses, and completed the necessary tax filing requirements. Contact your state’s Office of The Secretary of State to verify the registration status of prospective window treatment professionals.
Occasionally, we find that even professionally executed window treatment works develop faults and problems which will usually need to be fixed. Here are some of the issues that may warrant that you call back your professional for corrective actions:
- Difficulty in lifting and lowering blinds
- Stuck shutter cords
- A complete fall-off of covering/attachment
Prices across states are undoubtedly different. However, estimates of the current industry pricing range are given as follows:
In addition to the differences in prices because of location, some of the other factors that affect the cost of windows treatments include:
- Type of treatments: Although certain attachment fabrics are quite expensive, hard treatments typically cost more than soft treatments. Interior and exterior treatments, however, vary in prices and are determined by the materials used.
- Type of materials: This is valid across the several varieties of fabrics and hard materials used in window treatments
- Scope and size of work to be done
- Accessibility of your home
- Cost of installation (labor costs)
Generally, in addition to a high school diploma, window treatment professionals require an apprenticeship program or a technical school certificate. Some aspects of the job involve the use of manual and powered tools such as hammers, saws, and drills. Given that installing window treatments also involves taking correct measurements, excellent mathematical and measurement skills are required. A relevant and verifiable certificate of apprenticeship or a technical school certificate is the minimum necessary.
However, interior designers offering window treatment services typically require a college or university degree or equivalent, and some specialized certification. Professional associations such as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and the Window Covering Association of America (WCAA) also provide training and education programs for members as an avenue for professional development.
If you care about quality window treatment products and services, you need to hire a window treatment professional. Hiring a handyman near you may come with reduced labor cost, but it certainly also comes with risks that are not commensurate with the “discount”. Some of these risks include:
- Improperly installed hard window treatments, in the event of a fall-off, are capable of causing bodily injury to members of the household, specifically, kids. Moreso, a handyman does not typically carry a valid insurance policy that would have provided for such consequential damage.
- Where your window treatments are multi-layered, a faulty overlay treatment may damage your other attachments and leave you paying out of your pocket to have both treatments fixed.
- You will typically not be able to make warranty and insurance policy claims if policy providers find that the treatment was not installed by a trained and licensed professional.
Therefore, it is strongly recommended to hire only qualified and licensed professionals to avoid all the inherent dangers and issues that may arise as a result of hiring a non-professional.
Some window treatments may require additional expenses for enhancement and proper maintenance. Some improvement expenses may involve automation and motorization to allow remote control and installing sheers and crank systems for curtains. Specific window treatments such as shutters and blinds easily collect dust clouds and require routine cleaning to keep them stylish and operational. Cleaning may be done with a rag, vinegar, and water. Cleaning also offers the chance to detect faults or damage quickly.
Window treatments are typically home improvement projects and hence, are not usually covered by homeowner insurance policies. However, suppose existing window treatments are damaged by wind or destroyed by fire or by any other incident covered by your policy. In that case, your homeowner policy may provide for the cost of repair or replacement. Note that insurance providers will typically make findings to ascertain that the defect or destruction was directly caused by a covered peril and not due to negligence and carelessness on your part - such as hiring a non-professional for the initial installation.
You may discuss with your policy providers before embarking on such a project to ascertain the coverage level,, if there is any.
Today, more and more businesses in the US, including window treatment professionals near you, are willing to accept digital payments via bank transfer, debit/credit cards, eChecks, and eWallets. Yet, you will still have to ask your window treatments professional if they do and which one exactly they accept. Digital payments are known to be cheap, fast, safe, and secure. Also, they remove your professionals’ risk of losing the money, which is generally associated with dealing in physical cash. You can also always easily access proof of payment, as they are stored digitally.
As a further point to underscore the benefits of digital payments, they help to comply with the FTC’s recommendation not to pay cash to professionals, especially where huge fees are involved.