In any relationship, communication is the key, to getting the most out of it.This also holds true when hiring a gutter contractor who will be working with you.We often get customers who call and ask us if they have to be home for the estimate.They feel that gutter installation is obvious and they should not have to take the time out of their day to meet with us for a gutter estimate.We feel that this is simply untrue and, in the long run, unwise.Miscommunication on the first step of the process is critical. It can result in disappointment, unexpected costs and wasted time.This is the first step in your journey, it is best to start it out in the right way.
I love this example of miscommunication from comedian Carl Hurley:
A woman drives up to the cabin of a local artist who has become renowned for his portraits. She tells the man she would like to have her portrait painted and that money is no object. She would pay him $10,000. Her only request was that he paints her portrait in the nude. The painter said he wasn’t sure and that he would have to ask his wife if it was okay, and told the woman to come back tomorrow. When the woman returned the next day he told her he had spoken to his wife and she had said it was alright for him to paint her portrait. His only condition was that he would have to leave his socks on so he had somewhere to wipe his brushes! See how a little miscommunication can get you the totally wrong result.
Effectively communicate on your gutter estimate by following these tips:
- Personally meet the gutter solutionist
- Get clear instructions on how the job will be done
- Cover all expected costs
- Ask for a list of materials to be used
- Cover the terms of any applicable warranty information
- Find out about insurance coverage
First things first, you should absolutely take the time to meet with a gutter solutionist you are considering working with. When interviewing them, ask important questions like, how long have they been in business, what you can expect from their products, what the warranty covers and how they address warranty issues. Have they won any awards or special achievements?
There are many important considerations for a gutter installation such as downspout placement.You want to be sure you are not dumping water onto a driveway or close to a basement window.You want to consider how the gutters are going to affect the look of your house. Do you want them to blend in, or do you want them to contrast with your house color?Would Half Round gutters suit the style of your home?How much do copper gutters cost?How long will my gutters last me? Do I need 5” gutters or 6” gutters?Do I need a gutter guard?What will the gutter guard do for me?What won’t the gutter guard do?
We find that when a customer does not meet us for the estimate they are usually the customer that is unhappy with the outcome of their project.Why, because they never received a clear explanation and description of how their new gutter system would work and how it would look.It is well worth it to take 1 hour out of your day to meet with us for the estimate and to know that all your questions have been answered and that we are all on the same page. When we can meet with the customer and give them a through description of how their gutters will look and work many homeowners choose not to be home for the installation. They are confident that the gutters will be installed the way they want and that they will function properly.
Costs are an extremely important part of any estimate and they should be spelled out clearly on a written proposal that you sign.Unfortunately the days of doing the job on a handshake are done.I have personally had a contractor tell us that a job would cost a few hundred dollars and then been handed a bill for almost $2000!There needs to be a written signed proposal before you can move on. This protects you from any sticker shock.Even with a written proposal there can be unforeseen expenses.We can provide an estimate for gutter replacement, but we often don’t know the condition of the fascia underneath the existing gutters.Our customers however are aware of this possibility because they meet with us for an estimate to discuss the project.
A list of materials to be used is necessary if you want to compare different estimates.You need to know exactly what you are getting and what the quality of the material is. There are different thicknesses of aluminum available for gutters and this will affect the price. If one estimate is much cheaper than another you need to clearly be able to compare what each company is offering. Of course a cheaper aluminum is going to result in a less expensive estimate, but is the cheapest really the best for your home.
The warranty is often overlooked as a detail, but it is very important. Yes you will probably pay more when a company has a warranty, but isn’t that better than having no recourse when something goes wrong? The contractor who does your job for such a low price that they are barely making any money on isn’t going to want to come back and do repairs for free. If you are going to be spending money on a home improvement project, you should have the peace of mind that, if something should go wrong, the company has the resources, as well as the dedication to your job, to come out and fix it. No one wants to feel like they are being ignored once the contractor has gotten paid for the job. Does this product come with a warranty? What is the company’s process for handling warranty claims? Do you feel they would be responsive if you had a problem? For example we have a field supervisor on staff who handles warranty issues within 48 hours of calling the office.
Please always ask for proof of insurance. If an accident should occur when someone is working on your property you want to be certain that the company can take care of it. You do not want to be financially responsible is something should go wrong. We provide all our customers with proof of insurance when we do the estimate. Not having the proper insurance coverage is another way contractors save on their overhead to offer lower costs to the customer. But is the cost really lower to you if someone got injured or your property got damaged and your contractor is not properly insured.
We also want the opportunity to review the scope of the project with you. An average gutter installation can cost $1,000. If you are going to spend the money you should know exactly what you are getting. Call us at 845-223-6111 or visit brothersgutters.com.