Should I Become a Window Contractor?
Window contractors set up installations, removals, and repairs of window treatments in residential and commercial buildings. They might be self-employed or work for companies under subcontract or as window installers. This work can be physically demanding, and contractors who work on a freelance basis must spend time seeking new customers and work assignments.
|Median Salary (2016)*||$49,434 ( for window installers)|
|Experience||Employers often require documented experience of at least one year|
|Key Skills||Customer service skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, organizational skills, professional demeanor, reliability and punctuality|
|Additional Requirements||Personal vehicle ownership, valid driver's license with clean record, drug testing, criminal background testing|
|Licensure and Certification||EPA certification may be required; local/regional license may be required; voluntary certification available|
Sources: Employer job postings, Environmental Protection Agency, American Window and Door Institute, *PayScale.com
Steps to Become a Window Contractor
Step 1: Get Licensed
Window contractors often need to obtain a contractor license, which usually requires payment of a fee and completion of an exam. Applicants also need to prove that they are business owners or business managers and that they have liability insurance. Work experience combined with some education may be required as well.
Step 2: Obtain EPA Certification
Window installers and contractors who replace existing windows in residential homes built before 1978 may need EPA certification due to the potential for lead contamination. Any company offering residential window treatment replacements must be an EPA-certified firm. In addition, an EPA-certified renovator must be present at the work site, and all non-certified workers must be trained by that renovator. Some organizations, such as the American Window and Door Institute (AWDI), offer training seminars and manuals that can prepare candidates for the certification exam.
Step 3: Earn Voluntary Certification
Voluntary certifications, unlike the federally-mandated EPA certification, are not required for employment. However, earning voluntary certification can help contractors demonstrate expertise in the field and may lead to career advancement opportunities. The AWDI offers professional certification, which requires professional experience and completion of a written test. A field inspection may be required as well.
Step 4: Acquire Work Experience
Most employers searching for window contractors desire experienced candidates with their own vehicles, liability insurance, and any required licenses. You can gain experience through entry-level careers in window installation or related fields. Employers typically do not require installation crew members or construction workers to have work experience or formal licenses.
Develop customer service and communication skills. Window contractors usually work on teams and have supervisory duties. They also frequently communicate with customers. In order to build these types of skills, you might consider taking some elective courses at local community or career colleges. Some topics of study that might help improve these areas include customer service, psychology, and human resources.
Step 5: Meet Continuing Education Requirements
Contractor licenses are often valid for two years. While renewal requirements vary by state, contractors usually need to complete a certain amount of continuing education and pay a fee. Similarly, AWDI certification-holders must complete continuing education seminars and renew their AWDI membership on an annual basis.
To become a window contractor, you'll need to be licensed, have experience, and meet continuing education requirements.