I want to install a pvc foor and two windows in my house. Before I start
making phone calls to variouc companies ound in the Yellow Pages I'd like to
know if one always ends up paying a deposit. The last time I used a double
glazing company to indtall a window they look 6 weeks to turn up then fitted
the wrong type of window. 8 months later I don't even have the FENSA
certificate. I'm sure it would have been different if I'd not paid the
Long answer.... A deposit is normal, but the following may help, based on
1 Find a local company, based on recommendations from people you know
who've used them. Local firms can only survive if they maintain a good
local reputation. Go and look critically at some installations they've
2 We got other quotes, including big firms, but our local firm was lowest
price. The quote was also open for acceptance for 12 months - no "one week
only" offer scam.
3 Because there are bound to be some small issues to sort out after all
installation is complete, we were influence by the fact that our local
supplier had a reputation for always turning up within 24 hours to deal with
such things. And in practice, this is exactly what happened.
4 Check the detailed spec and small-print meticulously. Check with FENSA
that they're registered.
5 We paid a 10% deposit, balance immediately upon completion. (All
payments by cheque, and receipted.)
6 They turned up each day to do installation at the agreed times - except
once when they were a couple of hours late. On this occasion, they rang in
advance to apologise and explain. All the fitters were full-time employees
of the firm - no subbies.
7 Everything was left clean and tidy at the end of each day.
8 For us, a totally successful outcome - and the independent insurance
cert arrived about one month later. For the firm, repeat business to come
from us, and invaluable word-of-mouth recommendation.
As they will be making the door and windows to measure and they will not fit
another property and cannot be altered then they will require a deposit when
you place the order. I am not sure that Yellow Pages is the best way to find
a reliable firm. When I wanted 3 doors and 12 windows replaced last year I
asked around for recommendations. That turned up 3 local firms. I narrowed
them down to 2, and visited both firms to see what they could offer. That
narrowed it down to 1 firm who did a great job.
A deposit is fine, but you should let them know in writing before they start
how much deposit you're prepared to pay, and don't pay the balance until
you're completely satisfied, including any certificates due etc. If you
withhold payment, they'll get it to you quick enough. I know someone who had
a manager in a suit going round with a mastic gun at 9pm to stop draughts.
Also make sure you have in writing when they're going to start and when
they're going to finish. Otherwise you find in the small print on the back
of the contract "time is not of the essence". This means they'll be done by
Xmas. Maybe this Xmas, maybe next.
Always remember they need you more than you need them, they do what you want
or someone else will.
What you should of course *never* do is pay up in advance, especially in
cash. If they've been paid, they've got no incentive to turn up. All the
people who end up on Watchdog have done this and the builder is down the pub
with 10 grand or more of their money.
I don't think I would pay anyone an upfront deposit. You both sign a
contract, and that contract lays out the terms and conditions of
appointment, including remedy for default on payment on your part. This
is (should be) standard practice for the construction industry as a whole.
I had a small (one man + helper) fitter do mine back in 2002
(two months before all the Part L stuff came into effect).
He didn't ask for any deposit up front. He did ask if I could
manage a 15% payment halfway through, so he could pay his helper,
which I was happy to do. The rest was paid the day after they
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