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 Awning work is a process you may not be familiar with until you want one for your own home or business. And even then, there’s a lot to learn about which products to use and what procedures best meet your individual awning needs. Therefore, it is vital to know that you can rely on the awning contractor you choose to give you good advice about his products and procedures that may be new to you. The key is to find the right awning contractor for your job.

A top-notch, professional awning company will be only too happy to supply you with answers to these questions. Being confident you’ve selected the right awning contractor will help assure you get a quality awning and that your hard-earned money has been wisely spent.

QUESTIONS TO ASK AN AWNING COMPANY

1. How long has the awning company been in the awning business?

Needless to say, longer is usually better. The longer a company has been in business, the more stable that business will be.

Will the company provide referrals or references from previous jobs? Ask for several job locations that you can visit, and not just jobs that have been recently installed. Ask to see jobs that are three to five years old to see how well they have performed for that period of time.

2. Is the company a full-time awning company?

Some companies advertise themselves as an awning company (contractor) when awnings are really only a sideline and not the largest portion of their business. Some companies will advertise a lot of years of experience, when in reality that experience was in something other than awnings.

The awning company should have full-time employees trained exclusively to manufacture and install custom awnings. Their employees should be familiar with awnings of various shapes and sizes, being that they were hired and trained as awning craftsmen not general laborers; thus, being better equipped to handle your individual awning needs.

3. Does the company have designers on staff?

Can the awning company design your awning to meet your needs, and to fit the architecture of your home or business? Can the awning company provide you with a colored rendering of the proposed work to be done?

4. What is the company’s workmanship warranty?

A good awning company should provide a lifetime warranty on framework and a five or more year warranty on their installation. While the length of warranty is important, the intent and ability to stand behind their warranty is even more important.

5. Does the company carry insurance?

An awning company should carry comprehensive liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance to protect you in the event of an accident. As well, a good awning company will provide its workers with health and life insurance.

Worker’s Accident. Be aware that if a worker is injured on your property, the homeowner can be held liable for all costs unless the worker is covered by worker’s compensation insurance.

Uninsured Contractors. These companies who do not carry insurance will most likely be cheaper to hire since they do not have the large insurance premiums to pay. Insurance premiums for liability, worker’s compensation, and health insurance can increase wage costs from 20% to as much as 50%.

There are a variety of reasons why full insurance may not be carried, such as:

* Not a full-time awning company

* New in the business

* Can’t afford insurance premiums

* Doesn’t stand behind the work

6. What is the company’s track record for solving customer complaints?

Check with the Better Business Bureau to see how the awning company resolved complaints, if any were made. Check to see if the awning company has had a court related case and what the outcome was. If an awning company or any other company that calls themselves an awning company has lost a court case, they are a company that will ignore your complaints.

7. What are my product choices?

No one awning fabric, frame, or design is well-suited for all applications. (e.g. Do you have aluminum and galvanized frames available? Do you manufacture awnings using the lace on system and the staple system?). If that were the case, there would be but one fabric manufactured and one awning style offered. All awnings would then look alike. Ask to see different styles and fabrics that might work on your home or business.

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