Get Quotes from Top Window Repair Contractors in Boston, MA
Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Window Company in Boston
Sloppy repairs and installations, as well as a poor choice of windows, reduces both your home's energy performance and resale value significantly. All these will eventually cause you additional liability for a new repair or replacement work. However, you can save yourself good money and up to $500 on your annual energy bill by working with skilled window contractors who are conversant with the Massachusetts' Building Code and the manufacturer's recommendations for the installation of your windows.
Therefore, when in need of the services of a window replacement contractor in Boston, ask the following questions to determine if the individual is experienced enough to handle the job:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Window Contractor in Boston?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Window Repair Contractors in the City?
- Will You Get the Window Installation Permits as Required by the City Code?
- What Kind of Window Replacement Services Do You Offer?
- What Brands of Windows Do You Work With?
- How Energy-Efficient Are Your Windows?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Window Replacement Contractors in Boston?
- How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Window Replacement Contractor in Boston
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Window Contractor in Boston?
Boston Window replacement contractors are not required to hold an occupational license before they can provide services to residents of the city. However, per state law, any person or company that intends to execute window replacements and installations must register as a Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) with the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, and hold or work under someone or a company that holds a Construction Supervisor License (CSL) issued by the State Office of Public Safety and Inspections. Performing window replacements and installations without a Home Improvement Contractor Certificate is a violation punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 while working without a Construction Supervisor License is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both for each such violation. Window replacement and installation contractors are encouraged to apply for and obtain both Home Improvement Contractor Registration and a Construction Supervisor License to avoid paying unnecessary fines.
Anyone can apply for a Home Improvement Registration Certificate as an individual, a proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation. Applicants applying as a corporation must provide proof that their company is registered with the Massachusetts Secretary of State's Office, whereas individuals/sole proprietors using a trading name must provide a copy of their business certificate with the Doing Business As (DBA) name issued by the Office of the Boston Clerk. Home improvement registration certificates can be obtained online, by mail, or in person. To use the online option, applicants must first create a user profile on the registration portal, enter the necessary information, and pay the registration fee online with a credit card. To complete an application via mail, applicants are required to download and fill out a home improvement contractor registration form. Following that, applicants must send the completed form alongside a money order or bank check made payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to:Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
Home Improvement Contractor Program
1000 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118
For walk-in registration, applicants are required to take a completed home improvement contractor registration form alongside a money order or bank check made payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to the above-mentioned address. For more information concerning the process and requirements for obtaining a home improvement contractor registration certificate (617) 973-8787.
As previously stated, before installing or replacing windows anywhere in Massachusetts, a registered home improvement contractor must hold or work under someone or a company that holds a Construction Supervisor License (CSL). Registered Home Improvement Contractors can obtain a Construction Supervisor License from the Office of Public Safety and Inspections. To obtain this license, applicants are required to follow specific steps. Listed below are the required steps applicants must take to obtain a Construction Supervisor License:
- Choosing the type of CSL license they want
- Demonstrating three years of work experience in building construction or design
- Downloading and submitting an examination registration form to Prometric
- Scheduling an examination date with Prometric after submitting the examination registration form
- Taking the examination and submitting the score report to the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) for license by mail
After completing these steps, applicants can forward all application packages to:Office of Public Safety and Inspections
CSL License Application
1000 Washington Street, Suite 710
Boston, MA 02118
Call (617) 727-3200 for more information concerning the process and requirement for obtaining a Construction Supervisor License.
When considering a professional for window replacements and installations, home and property owners in Boston should always make sure that the individual is holding a valid home improvement registration certificate and a valid Construction Supervisor License or the individual is going to work under someone or a company that holds a valid Construction Supervisor License. Home and property owners in Boston can verify their preferred contractor's home improvement registration status by utilizing the home improvement contractor registration lookup tool provided by the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Likewise, homeowners can also find out if the contractor has obtained a Construction Supervisor License by utilizing the Office of Public Safety and Inspections License Verification Site.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Window Repair Contractors in the City?
Boston window repair and installation contractors consider certain factors when deciding how much to charge for a service. These factors include the number of windows, the labor intensity of the work, and the window type, material, and position. Nonetheless, before concluding any deal with a contractor, home and property owners should always research the cost of the type of service they need in their locality. This is critical because some dishonest contractors intentionally raise the price of their service by misrepresenting the impact of one or more factors on the total cost of the service. Home and property owners can ensure that they get a fair price for the window repair or installation service by obtaining and comparing estimates from at least three window repair and installation contractors in Boston.
Window replacement, repair, and installation contractors in Boston earn approximately $63,620 every year. Listed below are the hourly average wages for Boston window contractors compared with the average hourly wages of these professionals across other parts of Massachusetts State as well as several other major cities in the United States:
Will You Get the Window Installation Permits as Required by the City Code?
Hiring a window replacement contractor that is conversant with the Massachusetts State Building Code will exempt you from the administrative penalties that come with code violations. One of the things that attract an administrative penalty is constructing, reconstructing, altering, repairing, removing, or demolishing a building or structure; or to change the use or occupancy of a building or structure, or installing or altering any equipment without first obtaining a permit for the work.
A permit is generally required for replacing and installing windows in Boston and other parts of the state. The Boston Inspectional Services Department is the agency responsible for issuing permits in Boston and only applicants that complete the permit application process will be considered. The Boston Inspectional Services Department permit process is typically determined by the nature of the construction work to be done. For example, permit applications for minor changes can be completed online or in person, whereas permit applications for major changes can only be started online, and completed in person.
Any construction activity that does not change a building's use or exit, fire protection, or living area requires a short-term permit, and since window replacement and installation usually fall into this category, home and property owners should always ensure that their contractor applies for and obtains a short term permit from the Boston Inspectional Services Department. Home improvement contractors in Boston can complete their application for a short-term permit online or in person. To complete an online application, home improvement contractors will be required to upload their license information, a copy of insurance certificate, and an affidavit for workers' compensation insurance. Home improvement contractors must also provide a full description of the work, the total construction cost, and a copy of the contract between them and the homeowner.
Home improvement contractors who do not wish to provide this information online can take all the necessary documents and information to:Building Division, Counter 1
1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02118
Once the application has been reviewed and approved, the Boston Inspectional Services Department will issue a permit to successful applicants. To make further permit-related inquiries, you can call this office at (617) 727-3200.
What Kind of Window Replacement Services Do You Offer?
Most Boston window replacement contractors install new and replace existing windows. These professionals may also repair broken windows, seal gaps in window frames, and perform other window maintenance tasks such as caulking and sealing windows and maintaining window tracks. However, it is important to note that some window replacement contractors in Boston will perform better than other contractors in the same city because they are more experienced in providing the type of services you need. As a result, it is crucial to find out if the contractor you intend to hire is experienced and skilled enough to execute your window replacement job. You can confirm if the contractor is experienced by asking about their years of practice and experience, and a list of customers they have worked for over the years. By making sure that the window replacement contractor you intend to hire specializes in the services you need, you are preventing a poorly executed installation or repair, which can, in turn, result in higher energy bills, bug infestations, mold, and even wood rot.
While ensuring that your contractor specializes in the services you need protects you from unsatisfactory work, you should also be aware that there are various window styles, manufacturers, and types on the market, and you may need a contractor who specializes in installing the exact windows you want. The following kinds of windows can be found in Boston buildings:
- Bow Windows
- Awning windows
- Bay windows
- Casement Windows
- Egress Windows
- Garden Window
- Single Hung Windows
- Double Hung Windows
- Arched Windows
- Glass Block Windows
- Hopper Windows
- Jalousie Windows
- Picture Windows
- Round Circle Windows
- Skylight Windows
- Sliding Windows
- Storm Windows
- Transom Windows
- Tilt-turn Windows
- Glider Windows
- Fixed Windows
- Skylight Windows
Having confirmed that the window contractor you intend to hire is experienced in handling the window type you want for the project, you can make inquiries about the cost of the services being offered to you. Listed below are some cost estimates for window installation, replacement, and related services in Boston:
Estimates for window installation or repair based on task
Estimates for window repair/replacement based on the faulty component
Estimates for window repair based on the type of window
Estimates for window repair based on window frame material
What Brands of Windows Do You Work With?
Home and property owners can always find different window styles, manufacturers, and brands in the market. However, it is crucial to consider certain factors with your contractor before choosing a window brand. These factors include:
- Security and Safety
- Ease of cleaning
- Climate Control
- Compatibility with your home's interior and exterior finishes with your contractor
In addition to discussing your preferred window brand with your contractor, you should also find out whether the contractor you want to hire specializes in replacing or installing the preferred window brand. Choosing a window installation company that specializes in replacing or installing your preferred brand will ensure that the project is handled expertly. Boston home and property owners favor the following brands of windows:
- Alside Windows
- Vytex Windows
- Norandex Windows
- Simonton Windows
- PGT Windows
- Andersen Windows and Doors
- Adler Windows
- Loewen Windows
- Velux USA Windows
- Ply Gem Windows
- Ringer Windows
- Maverick Windows
- Pella Corporation
- Marvin Windows and Doors
Most home and property owners prefer the aforementioned window brands because they are more efficient, durable, and able to meet their home's specific needs. In addition, popular brand manufacturers also offer solid warranties to home and property owners who purchase from them. Some warranties offered by window manufacturers include a lifetime warranty, limited lifetime warranty, prorated or non-prorated, and transferable or non-transferable.
- Limited Lifetime Warranty: This type of warranty covers performance and aesthetic issues on specific parts that happen while the window still retains its maximum quality. Note that the cost of labor or servicing cost is not included in a limited lifetime warranty plan
- Lifetime Warranty: A lifetime warranty covers the cost of all replacement parts. However, this type of warranty is only valid for as long as the manufacturer believes the window can retain its maximum quality
- Double Lifetime Warranty: A double lifetime warranty is different from the lifetime and limited lifetime warranties in scope. This type of warranty covers the repair and replacement costs for the duration of home ownership, and in most cases, a double lifetime warranty will be transferred to the next homeowner
- Prorated Warranty: A prorated warranty allows the manufacturer to contribute a continuously declining percentage of the cost of repairs throughout the warranty. This means that as the number of years of use increases, so will the homeowner's contribution to repairs.
- Transferable Warranty: Transferable warranty guarantees that the coverage remains active even if the homeowner decides to sell the house. This form of warranty can be easily transferred to the new homeowner, but non-transferable warranties cannot. Homeowners should talk with the window manufacturer and secure a transferable warranty to ensure that the increased house value resulting from their window improvement is protected.
How Energy-Efficient Are Your Windows?
Energy-efficient windows are huge investments for both new and existing homes. Installing energy-efficient windows in your home can save you up to $500 in energy bills yearly while shielding your home from UV rays, which can result in damage to floors, carpets, and furniture. Besides these aforementioned benefits, installing energy-efficient windows in your home may also qualify you for federal or state financing, state or municipal refunds, and tax breaks. For example, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources offers incentives for including energy-efficiency upgrades in renovations and/or additions to existing homes. The Department also offers different rebates and incentives for Multi-Family Properties. Home and property owners who are renovating multi-family properties can visit the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources website for more information.
Home and property owners in Boston are advised to take advantage of these programs and install energy-efficient windows in their homes. Queries concerning the different energy efficiency programs can be directed to the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources by calling (617) 626-7300.
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Window Replacement Contractors in Boston?
There are no specific insurance requirements for window replacement contractors in Boston. However, employing the services of an insured window replacement contractor will protect you from any financial liability or lawsuits that may result from an accident on your job site. Home and property owners must understand that window replacement contractors are often exposed to a variety of on-the-job hazards, which may result from falls from window cleaning hoists, scaffolding, and other heights, injuries from falling objects, defective safety gear, and slips and trips. In 2018, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics published that falls, slips, and trips while working resulted in 15 deaths in the Boston area.
Before hiring a window replacement contractor in Boston, homeowners should make sure that the individual has liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance. In Boston, home improvement contractors are required to submit a copy of their insurance certificate and an affidavit for workers' compensation insurance before they can be issued a home improvement or remodeling work permit. To be sure your contractor has general liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance, you can ask the contractor to provide a certificate stating their current insurance status and the insurance company that issued the certificate. Make sure you contact the insurance company that issued the certificate to confirm the contractor's insurance status.
How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Window Replacement Contractor in Boston
When seeking the services of a window replacement contractor in Boston, it is very important to avoid scammers posing as legitimate window replacement companies in the city. As a homeowner, you may spend a lot of money on home remodeling each year, and as a result, you are often the target of dishonest home improvement contractors attempting to defraud local people. In 2021, home improvement scams were among the top 10 scams reported across the United States, and by 2022, the Massachusetts Attorney General asked a Massachusetts-based contractor to pay $150,000 in restitution after scamming dozens of homeowners across the state. While the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General is making sure that fraudulent contractors face the law, homeowners must understand they may not recover all they lost to a fraudulent contractor. Hence, it is best to avoid falling victim to home improvement scammers. Homeowners can ensure that they do not become victims of home improvement scams by taking the following steps:
- Interview different window replacement contractors and request a written, detailed estimate from each
- Verify the contractor's license and registration status. For example, you can check a contractor supervisor license by utilizing the Office of Public Safety and Inspections License Verification Site, and a home improvement registration status using the home improvement contractor registration lookup tool provided by the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
- Ask each contractor to provide a written list of their most recent projects with the names, telephone numbers, and addresses of the customers. Make sure that you contact the other homeowners who have hired the contractor and find out if they have had any problems
- Ensure that your preferred contractor is adequately insured
- Check the Office of Public Safety and Inspections if they have a construction supervisor license, and the Better Business Bureau to find out if complaints have been filed against the contractor or whether any disciplinary action has been taken against the contractor in the past
- Always insist on a detailed written contract for the project. Do not sign the contract unless you fully understand it
- Do not pay more than one-third of the total price as advance payment
If you suspect fraudulent behavior from your window replacement contractor in Boston, you can file a complaint against such contractor with the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulations if they are registered as a home improvement contractor in the state. You can file a complaint by downloading, completing, and mailing a home improvement contractor complaint form to:Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
Home Improvement Contractor Program
1000 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118
Note that you can still file a complaint against a home improvement contractor that is not registered with the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation following the same aforementioned process. However, filing a complaint against an unregistered contractor will not result in monetary compensation for the homeowner, but it may result in disciplinary action being taken against the contractor after an enforcement hearing.
If the window replacement contractor is also licensed as a construction supervisor in the state, you can file a complaint against them with the Office of Public Safety and Inspections. You can file a complaint against the contractor online or by mailing a completed complaint form to:Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation
Home Improvement Contractor Program
1000 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118
Note that all complaints against a licensed construction supervisor must contain an allegation that the person has violated a provision of the Massachusetts State Building Code and a letter or report from the building inspector, an engineer, or architect citing the code violations.
Finally, home and property owners can also file legal action against the contractor if they are not satisfied with the way any of the aforementioned agencies handled their complaints. Interested persons can file a legal action against a contractor in an appropriate court. If the claim is valued at less than $7,000, the appropriate court is the Boston Municipal Court which is located at:Edward W. Brooke Courthouse
24 New Chardon Street
Boston, MA 02114
Note that it is important to consult your attorney before filing any lawsuit in court.