Hiring a Contractor: 9 Questions to Ask Before you Hire a Contractor

This blog will help you hire an experience contractor, and feel confident in your decision.

Hiring a contractor is one of the most important decisions in any home improvement project, and often the decision that scares homeowners the most.

Whether you’re looking for large remodel, or an exterior improvement of replacing your windows, siding, doors or roof, hiring an experienced and reliable contractor is critical to the success of the project.

If you don’t know where to start in finding a contractor, this guide is for you.   After reading it you’ll be able to:

  • Know what questions to ask a potential contractor
  • Weed out unqualified contractors
  • Feel confident in your final decision

Ready?  You're going to love this!

9 questions to ask before you hire a contractor

1. Is he a licensed contractor in MN?  You want a contractor who is properly trained and who can pull a building permit for your job.   You want to feel confident that the job will pass inspection.

2. Can he show you a copy of his liability and workers compensation insurance?  You need to know that in the absolute worst case scenario that he has the insurance to cover any damages or injury.

3. Does he know who will be doing the work? You want him to vouch for the quality of the guys doing the work.  It means he knows them and trusts them to represent his business.

4. Has his company been operating under the same name and ownership for at least 5 years? You want a company with integrity and business strength.  Longevity is one way to measure that.

5. Does the company have a positive reputation in the Twin Cities? You should check the BBB and Angie’s List for reviews and ratings of their work.   If there are complaints, always read the company response or resolution as well.

6. Will he show you what he is going to be installing? You are thinking about spending your hard earned money.  You deserve to see exactly what is going to be installed in your home.   Your contractor should show you more than a picture in a brochure.

7. Does he listen to you so he can understand what is important to you? Your contractor is your partner in home improvement.   Is he listening so he can give you what you want or is he just telling you what to do?

8. How long will you have to wait until the install? You should know approximately how long it will be until the project is completed.   If you have an event or a deadline you are working with, tell him!

9. Do you like him? If you don’t like him, don’t hire him.   (That is an easy one!)

Steve The Window Guy

Steve the Window Guy would love the opportunity to earn your business.   Call him today at 612-866-2888  for a free in-home consultation. He'd be happy to answer all of your questions!



Author:  Melissa Brager


Replacement Windows: 5 Reasons Why Choosing Replacement Windows is Like Choosing a Wedding Dress

Curious, aren't you?

Here is the thing. I am behind on my blogging because I have been caught up in the excitement of planning our wedding!!   We are celebrating with 200 people we love and are planning the whole big party in 5 weeks. Crazy, maybe, but fun.

As I get ready for my final dress fitting it comes to me.   Choosing replacement windows and choosing a wedding dress actually have quite a bit in common.

Buying windows is like buying a dress

  1. Choose your perfect look.   Are you thinking traditional, modern, or purely functional?    Do you want to stick with white or something more interesting like a color?  What options do you have to choose from?
  2. Know your deadline and order in advance!   Wedding dresses can take up to 6 months to come in but you can get your custom vinyl replacement windows installed in as little as 6 weeks.   Family coming to town?  Hosting for the holidays?  No problem.  Call today to get started!
  3. Order the right size!   Doesn't it make more sense to order the exact size you need so you don't have to force fit the product, or worse, pay for the labor of unnecessary alterations later?  Our UniShield windows are all custom sizes for your convenience!  Not only that, but with a custom fit they are guaranteed to reduce drafts and keep your family  more comfortable in your home!
  4. Think about how you want to complete your final look.   With your dress you think about shoes, jewelry and veils.  With your windows you consider trimwork, painting or staining, and new custom window treatments.   It's really the same.
  5. Show it off!!   Once everything is decided and paid for and complete don't you want to show it to everyone you know?   Take pictures!!  Post them on Facebook!

See?   Replacement windows and wedding dresses actually have more in common than you think!   While we can't help you choose your wedding dress, we can certainly help you make a replacement window decision.   Quotes are always free and we'd love to visit with you.   Contact us today!


Windows at the Fair?: Top Questions asked about Windows at the Dakota County Fair

How many replacement windows and siding companies are at the Fair?  If you are anything like me you're freaking out about the fact that its mid-August.    County Fairs mean that summer is coming to a close.   As much fun as we have looking at the animals, watching the demo derbies, eating the fried food and looking at all the cool stuff in the exhibitor buildings we can't deny that school is around the corner, and winter isn't far behind.

As a window girl the County Fairs mean that I basically leave home for a week.  I pack fruit, healthy snacks and sandwiches so I am less tempted by all the Fair Food.  (If you've ever met me, you know this doesn't work very well.)  I bring a book for the hours where no one is around, and I look forward to meeting my neighbors.    I also do my best to tell interested fair -goers about our awesome UniShield windows and doors and answer their questions the best I can.

After 5 days and 55 hours at the Fair,  I have compiled this list of Top Questions asked at the Universal Windows Direct Booth at the Dakota County Fair.

Q: Is that a wood window?      A:   No, the UniShield window is a vinyl replacement window.    We are excited to offer three different wood grain finishes that give you the look of wood to match your cabinets, floors or woodwork, but in a 100% maintenance free vinyl finish.

Q:  Are these replacement windows or new construction?   A: Both.   The majority of the windows we sell are replacement windows, but we do also do  also sell to remodelers and we can order any window you need with a nailing fin.

Q: What if I want to install the window myself?   A: We do sell windows directly to individuals and contractors.   However, installing windows isn't for amateurs.   If you're not totally comfortable installing a window please allow us to install it for you.

Q: What is your warranty?  A:   Universal Windows Direct offers the double lifetime warranty on windows.   This means that your new windows will be covered for as long as you are in your house, and 30 years to the next homeowner.   This is a non-prorated warranty.   We stand behind the quality of our windows!

Q: Do you make awning windows? A: Yes.   We can build any style window you need.  Double hungs, sliders, casements, awnings, hoppers, garden windows, bays and bows.

Q: Where are the cows?   A:  The did leave for a night for a barn cleaning, but no worries...  the next afternoon we had a huge cow trailer parade and they were all returned, safe and sound.

Universal Windows Direct at the Dakota County FairThe cows are back!

Q: My window is  really weird size.   Can you do custom sizes?   A: Yes!  All of our windows are custom ordered to fit your rough opening.   So bring us your weirdest size window and we'll replace it.

To everyone who stopped by our booth at the fair, thank you.   I appreciated the chance to tell you about our great windows. If it was a particularly slow time of the day, I appreciate the visit.   If you have any additional questions, or are interested in a free quote, contact us today.






Ideal Customer: Who is the ideal customer of Universal Windows Direct?

We laugh sometimes when people ask us "who is your ideal customer?".   The answer seems obvious - because our ideal customer is anyone who is looking for windows, siding, or doors at factory direct prices.

BUT.....   what that person looks like can be a whole different story.    What do I mean? Check it out.

Top 10 "Ideal Customers" of Universal Windows Direct, Twin Cities

  1. Your niece, the first time home buyer, who wants to update her old single pane windows that came with the house.
  2. Your neighbor, who is selling their house,  who wants to upgrade the front door to something more inviting.
  3. Your cousin, the Contractor, who is looking to get a better price on a great vinyl windows and keep a bit more cash in his pocket.
  4. Our previous customers who replaced windows on the first level of the house last year, and are now ready to replace windows in the upper level.
  5. Your co-worker in North Minneapolis, Fridley, or Forest Lake who was affected by the recent tornadoes and literally needs to replace the windows and siding in their home.
  6. Your Mom or Dad who are looking to add a bay or bow window to the front of their home.
  7. You.  Because you have spent your last winter with cold drafty windows.
  8. Your aunt and uncle, who are building a 4 season porch full of windows.
  9. Your boyfriend, the guy who can do anything - even install windows,
  10. Your sister who has lived with that hail damage on her siding for two years too long.

No matter who you know or what their reasons are for calling, Universal Windows Direct will come to your home, discuss your project, answer your questions and leave you a price.   The price reflects when you buy direct.  Contact us today!


Hiring a Contractor: Find a Contractor You Can Trust

Easy, right?   Start by getting referrals from family and friends.   If someone you trust had a good experience with a company, chances are you will too.  Don’t forget to Use your social network on Facebook and Twitter!

If a contractor is punctual, professional and organized when he meets with you, chances are he will run a clean job site.   Use this quick checklist as a guide:

  • Is he on time?
  • Does he have a tidy appearance?
  • Is he licensed?
  • Does he carry liability and workers comp insurance?
  • Is he certified by the EPA to perform lead safe practices on your home if needed?
  • Can  he describe the install process to you?
  • Is he able to show you pictures of his work?

Remember, YOU are the customer.   Don’t let him push you into making a decision until you are ready.   You get to decide what you want on your home. Make sure he answers all of your questions to your satisfaction.  And always, ask for references!

Universal Windows Direct is proud to be a contractor you can trust.   Contact us today for a free quote.  612-866-2888