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Many pros get into the business for the money. Others do it because they were raised on it. Very few join the contracting world to teach homeowners a thing or two about home remodeling. For 15 years, Steve Cotton has been educating homeowners everything they need to know regarding windows, doors and siding.
Seven years ago, Steven started Midwest Windows Direct. Now serving virtually all of Northern Illinois, Midwest Windows vows to maintain a 100% customer satisfaction rating through education and open communication.
Let’s see how Steve climbed the window industry from the bottom up.
Jacob Hurwith: What are some of the services you offer?
Steve Cotton: We handle all replacements of windows, doors and siding. While we do not do repair work, we will take on any window, door or siding replacement or installation project.
Hurwith: What do you love about the business?
Cotton: I got started in this business because there was a need in the industry for someone who could walk homeowners through the process. We needed someone to teach them and not take advantage. When I started, pros were not getting into the needs of the homeowners. They were not educating the homeowner. Homeowners need to be educated as to the details of the project and how we can help them.
Sadly, people were being ripped off. I wanted to be affordable and energy efficient. Overall, I want to sell you something that you will like and be able to use for a long time. In the end, I’m just an everyday working person.
Hurwith: What are some of the most frustrating aspects of the business?
Cotton: The hustle and bustle can sometimes get to you. You get the deposit, but now have to get project completed. You are busy what seems like all the time. Averaging 65-70 hours per week is tough.
When other people are spending time with their families, you are taking on new projects.
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Hurwith: What is your favorite remodeling story?
Cotton: One time, I had a customer who received 10 estimates. The prices were so different and she was so confused. A single mother with a 2,500sf home, she was torn between everyone to the point that she didn’t want to go through with the project. She was taken before by a pro and she was scared going forward. It seemed like everyone was pushing her.
She was really afraid, but I was able to convince her to move forward. I went out to her home five times. We emailed back and forth and I think all that eased her mind. I walked her through the installation process and we got the project done. The job was originally for windows, but grew into siding as well.
Now, whenever she does work around the house, she calls me for advice.
Hurwith: What advice do you have for homeowners about to hire a contracting professional or taking on a DIY project?
Cotton: When making your purchase, please be aware of who manufactures the product. Something as minor as screws can be important. They can rust. The product may look like the standard, but oftentimes, is not. Find the strength in the manufacturer.
Your contractor may be good, but if the product is cheap, the end product will not hold up. Make sure you or your contractor is purchasing a product from a strong manufacturer that uses good parts.
Good contractors not only complete the job at hand, but educates you along the way. Fortunately, for Northern Illinois homeowners, Steve Cotton and Midwest Windows Direct have been doing that for over 15 years.
If you need an experienced window, door or siding professional in Illinois, you can contact Steve at Steve@mymidwestwindows.com or click here and get connected with up to four other window professionals near you!