Small businesses can use custom-designed awnings to make themselves more visible, as custom awnings can be made in any color scheme and pattern. They can even have signs on them. Custom awnings aren't cheap, though. CostHelper reports that custom metal awnings cost between $9.50 and $10.00 per square foot, and custom fabric ones run as much as $11,500. If you own a small business, here are four questions to ask awning installation companies to help you find an awning that will last for years so you don't have to pay for another one soon.
What Warranties Are Included with the Awning?
Awnings are often covered by several warranties, with each warranty covering a specific component or service. For example, if you have a custom-designed, fabric, motorized awning installed, it might come with the following warranties:
- a warranty for the fabric from the fabric manufacturer
- a warranty for the motor from the motor manufacturer
- a warranty for all other parts from the manufacturer of these parts
- a warranty for the labor associated with installation from the installation company
Each of these warranties might last a different amount of time.
You'll want to find an awning that has warranties for all parts and for labor, and you'll want the warranties to be as long as possible. For labor, you can find companies in the industry that offer five-year warranties on labor. The warranties on parts will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Are Extended Warranties Available?
In addition to the standard warranties that are included with the purchase of your awning, you might also be able to get extended warranties on parts and labor. Extended warranties typically aren't included in the price of the awning. Paying a little extra for them is a good idea if you're investing thousands of dollars in a custom-designed awning, though. If you have just one problem with the awning, an extended warranty might more than pay for itself by covering any repairs that are required.
What Are the Companies' Ratings with the Better Business Bureau?
Looking up a company's rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is an easy way to quickly assess how reputable the company is. The BBB explains that the rating takes into account many factors, including everything from a company's time in business and transparency to its complaint record and licensing.
Before buying an awning, you should check the BBB rating of both the local installation company that's offering awnings for sale in your area and the manufacturer, which may not be located near you. Make sure they both have a good rating, because they both are responsible for ensuring that your awning works properly, and you might need to deal with either of them if there is an issue.
Do You Have Any References?
All established companies that offer awnings for sale in your area should be able to provide references. The references a company gives you should be for commercial clients that had awnings installed, not for individuals who put a shade covering on their home. The references should also have the same type of awning you're considering getting, whether that's a metal or fabric awning.
Don't just call these references to find out if they're happy with the work provided. Actually go to them so that you can see the awning in person. While at their location, you can ask them whether they recommend their installation company. You can also look at their awning to see if it's faded. If you're installing an awning to increase your business' visibility, you'll want to make sure it won't fade quickly. Assess how good their awning looks, and ask them how old it is. This will help you determine what your awning will look like eventually.
Check out a website like http://www.htsva.com for additional information.