Window of truth about home improvement decisions
When the time comes to change your windows, install a new roof or vinyl siding, how do homeowners know what contractor to trust and who to contact? What should homeowners look for? While researching the question, we decided to ask one of Hawaii’s oldest home improvement contractors, Matt Houar, and his son, Mike, owners of Tropical Wholesale. The first answer was “call us.” With over 20,000 customers, they are the best. After that, here were their suggestions.
1) The obvious, of course, is make sure you hire a licensed contractor.
2) In Hawaii, this automatically means the contractor has insurance (workers’ compensation and liability insurance).
3) Check to see if the contractor is bonded. Keep in mind it may not be required, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Bonding protects you, the homeowner. A bonded contractor is a responsible contractor.
4) Check the BBB, Yelp and other sites to see what you may be getting into.
5) Make sure your prospective contractor has been in business for at least 15 years. Any contractor that makes 15 years normally is doing something right. Fifteen years in Hawaii — not 12 somewhere else and three in Hawaii.
6) When you hire a contractor, it’s normally not smart to hire a mason to do painting or an electrician to do plumbing. Hire the specialist you need to get the best job for your hard-earned money spent. For example, if you need your windows changed or vinyl siding installed, hire Tropical Wholesale because we are the first and best in Hawaii at installing vinyl windows and vinyl siding. Because we specialize, we will have better products and better prices.
7) Ask about service and warranties. Make sure all warranties are from the factories as well as the contractor. I’ve seen a lot of mainland contractors warrant everything and then be out of business in two years. Protect yourself by being akamai. Ask who does the service.
8) Make sure you get a complete job. Example: When installing windows make sure that the removal of rotten wood and painting are included. If the job is only a shortcut job, then why do the job? If homeowners look into a job installation guideline handbook, it will always say, “make sure to get a complete job.”
9) “Buy local.” For many reasons, but the most important reason is Hawaii people stay in Hawaii. Mainland contractors come and go. Buy local and your contractor will be here when you need him.
10) Never give all the money to any contractor or supplier upfront. Even 50% is too much of a deposit. In the home improvement business, paying too much upfront is just not smart. This is normally is a sign of desperation or cash flow issues for the contractor.
When purchasing windows, roofing or vinyl siding, call Tropical Wholesale, one of the oldest home improvement contractors in Hawaii where “Vinyl is Final,” you will “never paint again” and you can “buy local.” Visit our showroom 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays at 1351 S. Beretania St. Call us at 808-593-2000, 808-263-1252 or 808-456-4892.
CONTACT 808-593-2000 • 808-263-1252
ADDRESS 1351 S. Beretania St., Honolulu