Finding a good glazier

Glazing is a major purchase. The poor reputation of the industry doesn’t make decision-making any easier when it comes to finding a good window-sales and installation company.

So how do you avoid the cowboys? A little research definitely goes a long way. We recommend that you:

  • talk to friends and neighbours, particularly if they have similar properties and ask for recommendations
  • check Which? Trusted Traders for endorsed glaziers in your area
  • ensure your glazier is a specialist in the area you require - such as double-glazing or sash for example
  • look for companies that rate well on customer service skills, as they are more likely to resolve any problems that arise
  • find out whether a glazing company is a member of a trade association or industry group. The Double Glazing & Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS) is well-regarded in the glazing industry
  • have a budget in mind before contacting any sales representatives. You can check the Which? guide to double-glazing costs to find out the kind of figures you should expect to pay
  • look for a well-established company - many years of experience can be more valuable than trade association membership
  • don’t get bowled over by a glitzy website– smaller, local firms can’t match the big boys when it comes to sales and marketing spend. It’s worth noting that smaller independent companies came top of a Which? survey about double-glazing companies,

Getting glazing quotes

You should contact at least three glaziers and organise for them to visit you at home.

Some glaziers try to use aggressive sales techniques. If a double glazing firm starts offering time-sensitive discounts, calls ‘head office’ and similar, alarm bells should sound. A good glazing firm should never pressure you into a sale – never agree to anything on the spot.

Don’t ever feel pressured into making a decision before you are ready. If an offer is available at a certain price today, there is no valid reason why it shouldn’t be available tomorrow, next week or even next month.

The aim of the home visits should be to get three comparable quotes in writing and to meet representatives of the firm that will be working on your property. Try to ensure that any quotes exactly compare like with like – the price of double-glazing can vary quite widely with slightly different finishes, locks, latches and so on. Unscrupulous traders may quote for cheaper elements only to increase the price later when your design choices are factored in. Find out more in our article about why double-glazing can cost so much.

Remember that the cheapest quote might not be the best. Follow up customer references and think carefully about the level of professionalism demonstrated during the visit and survey.

Hiring a glazing firm

Before agreeing to any work, ask about insurance. What happens in the event of accidental damage to your property or your neighbour’s car, for example? Good glaziers will also offer an insurance-backed warranty. Review written details of this before proceeding.

Glaziers should supply a written contract and terms and conditions for larger jobs. Check the following points with your glazing company:

• Are there penalties if the work is late?
• Would prolonged adverse weather affect the job?
• What materials will be used and who will supply these?
• Will outsourced labour be used?
• What happens in the event of any work not meeting a satisfactory standard?

Paying a glazier

You should agree a schedule for payments in advance of work starting. This should appear in writing within the contract. It’s not unusual to be asked for an instalment upfront, especially for larger jobs.

On completion of the job, go back to your contract.

• Is everything complete?
• Are you happy with the work?
• Has the site been tidied up?
• Have all relevant certificates and other paperwork been supplied?

Pay the final instalment only when you are satisfied that all the terms of the contract were met and that the work has been completed to a satisfactory standard.

More on this…