SHHH...THE 7 SELECTION SECRETS OTHER WINDOW FILM COMPANIES DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW!
RESEARCH AND PREPARATION
1. START WITH A SEARCH:
Start your search online. These days, if a window filming company doesn't have an on-line presence, you might well wonder where else he or she is cutting corners. Legitimate business enterprises spend the time, energy, and money to have a presence on the internet.
2. MAKE SURE THE COMPANY UNDER CONSIDERATION IS LICENSED, BONDED, AND INSURED:
Visit the company's website and check to see that it's licensing, bonding, and insurance information is prominently displayed. It should be, and if it is not, this is obviously a huge red flag. In case of problems with your installation, lack of licensing and bonding leaves you with little legal recourse. In any case, you should check for yourself as some companies have been known to fake licensing information on their sites. You can follow this link to check businesses licensed in Washington State: http://www.lni.wa.gov/TradesLicensing/Contractors/HireCon/verify/Default.asp, and this one for businesses licensed in Idaho: https://ibol.idaho.gov/IBOL/AgencyAdditional.aspx?Agency=427&AgencyLinkID=30.
VETTING A COMPANY
3. DIG DEEP:
Now that you’re ready to talk to a window tinting company, make sure you dig deep into its capabilities. Ask questions such as: How long have they been in business? Do they offer Materials and Workmanship warranties? How much experience do their installers have? What is their Customer Service Policy? What makes them stand out from their competitors? Do they have references from previous customers? These, and any other questions you might have about them, are fair and justified - after all, it is your money. Sadly, it needs to be mentioned that certain local window film companies make performance claims for their films and/or manufacturer warranties that are just not true. The old adage is true - if a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true. They should be able to show you specifications or warranty sheets from the manufacturer to back up their claims. If in doubt, check with the manufacturer. Lastly, as a general rule, if a window film salesman for a given company spends more time telling you why you shouldn't use their competitors rather than how they are different or better than their competitors, you probably don't want to do business with them.
4. MEET YOUR ENTIRE TEAM:
With many companies, the individuals who you are talking to, or the one who is giving you the estimate, is not the person who will be installing your window film, so make sure you meet ALL the people you’ll be working with. If they are not the same person, make sure to ask how long the person who will be installing your film has been installing flat glass window film. Flat glass window filming is not the same as automotive window tinting, so their experience in this very different field matters - a lot! After all, would you feel comfortable letting a small engine mechanic work on your car engine, or having a finish carpenter frame your house if they didn't also have experience in those very different fields?
5. ASK ABOUT RESULTS:
The quality of your finished installation matters, so ask to see examples of their work. Any legitimate window filming company should have installed example pictures on their website. Ideally, they should show before/after and inside/out pictures of the various films that they stock installed on actual windows. They should also be able to provide you lists of installed film (of the different types of film that they stock) on commercial locations. They should not offer to provide the addresses of residential customers - after all, would you want random strangers driving by your house to check out your window film?
MAKING YOUR FINAL SELECTION
6. GET WINDOW FILM RECOMMENDATIONS:
Ask about which window film they recommend for your solar control issues and why. Make sure the recommendations cover all of your requirements, not just some. They should be using their (hopefully) years of experience to help you choose a film that will perform well for you, look good, and solve your solar issues. If in doubt, ask questions. Another issue that comes up frequently, is a salesman claiming that THEY use the only "really good " (sometimes they say "premium") window film, and that the window films installed by OTHER COMPANIES in the area are "inferior". One easy way to check this is to go to the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) website to see if the brand and the specific window film your installer is recommending is NFRC certified. If they are, it means that the film has been tested thoroughly and has had to meet stringent scientific standards in order to achieve NFRC certification. Certified films from different manufacturers may differ in appearance, and may differ slightly in performance, but NFRC certification proves that they are not inferior products - just different.
7. READ THE REVIEWS/CALL THE REFERENCES:
Do yourself a favor and check to see what the company's previous customers think about the service they received. Anyone can have a bad day, but if it looks like the company you are thinking about using has had a lot of bad days - run for the hills! It is also worth noting whether the company addressed any customer service issues, or ignored them. How did they handle less than stellar reviews from customers? Hopefully, they addressed any areas of disagreement professionally and courteously with an eye toward customer service and doing what is right.
Following these steps should help you select a window film company that will be able to make addressing your solar control, privacy and decorative, or specialty window film needs easy, convenient, and professional from start to finish.
(Window Film 301)
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About The Author:
Therma Shield Solar Control Founder and Owner Alex Draeger has been installing Solar Control, Privacy, Decorative, Safety/Security, and Specialty Window Film on Residential and Commercial windows for over 28 years and has been at the helm of Therma Shield for over 23 years. He is passionate about providing exceptional customer service to his customers, and holds a healthy disdain for window film companies who don't. He has written this and other articles, and answered member questions on such reputable industry sites as ProMatcher and Alignable, to help guide consumers in choosing a window film contractor that will meet their needs and exceed their expectations.
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