When you are looking for a contractor for your home improvement project there are several factors to consider. Hiring a contractor is much like a job interview, but you are the one doing the interview. Here are some tips and guidelines to keep in mind when doing your search.

Look at how long a company has been in business. Usually the trend is: the older a business is, the more reputable they tend to be. Typically, if they have been in business for a substantial amount of time, they have a good track record of happy, satisfied customers.

Beware of contractors who ask for full payment prior to the job being completed. Most contractors will require a deposit of some sort. They have a substantial investment in your project once your windows are ordered. The down payment can vary and varies from contractor to contractor and in some states there are limitations.

Get a variety of bids at least a minimum of three bids with details in writing. In most cases, the estimate will be detailed in a contract of some sort. Normally, your estimate and in-home demonstration don’t cost you anything, but ask upfront before you invite them over to bid on your project.

Consider all requirements for your job when choosing your contractor. The cheapest isn’t always the best. Your home may require extras that will make your home more efficient and operate better. Be sure to compare apples to apples and get only what you need, not unnecessary items that you don’t need.

Choose only licensed, insured contractors. You can verify that a contractor is licensed by calling the licensing bureau in your city or state and verify that the information they provide is truthful. Most contractors will have a copy of their license in their presentation book, if they do not request a copy.

Get word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and neighbors and also check any references that may be provided by the contractor. Look for other neighborhood home improvements that have been done and ask those people if they are happy with their project and ask to see the workmanship, if at all possible. Check with the Better Business Bureau as well.

Focus on local companies and look in the Yellow Pages for the contractors you are considering. They don’t necessarily have to have a large colorful ad in the Yellow Pages, but at least a listing that shows them as an established business presence in your state or community.