Now that you have decided which credible companies to invite to bid your project, you will want to collect the bids and compare them. Unlike many industries, stained glass is extremely specialized. Professional studios often compete with specifications written by amateur companies. This is why we diligently work to educate our clients as often others do not know the terms and jargon outside the industry. This makes reading the bidders proposed scope of work difficult as the jargon is not standardized and often exclusive to the particular company. Often a simple understanding of terms and jargon will allow the church to see the correct scope of work.
Churches often are confused by the terminology different studios use. Please ask for an explanation of each specification so you can fully understand and correctly compare each studio.
Request that the work is itemized per each window with all windows fully listed in the proposal. Ask them to add a description of each service recommended for the window and the benefit to your church.
As many industries do, this industry lacks consistency and regulation. It is made up of smaller companies started by craftsmen and artists who took a hobby and changed it into a career. While this is certainly admirable, these individuals often do not have the knowledge of all the facets of the business or even of the stained glass medium.
Some studios specialize in a certain type of work. For example, a studio that creates a number of new windows will often bid restoration projects as a complete re-lead. This scope of work fits into their business operations. An on-site restoration project may be possible but since they do not have the expertise or the manpower to complete the onsite work the client is left with a proposal for a different more expensive scope of work. Another example is when a studio that does not do new windows may not recommend re-leading when needed as it cannot be easily completed at their facilities.
Both studios make a strong case for their approach but we are left with a confused committee and an unclear idea of what is best for their church’s needs. Willet Hauser™ has staff and capabilities for all scopes of work and is driven to provide the best scope of work for the clients needs. The most important part of the process is that you get to ask all of your questions, are feeling educated and are comfortable with your choices.
Some of the most common pitfalls when choosing a studio are well-intentioned but not necessarily well-informed. For example, a regular glass company may suggest putting up covering over current windows without repairing the windows. As the glass company is not an expert in stained glass, they aren’t qualified to assess this form of historic art. Often these companies are unaware of the needs of stained glass and create situations that are hazardous to the the well being of your stained glass.
Another common mistake is choosing a company only because it is the local choice. This rationalization isn’t a benefit to serving the church unless the company truly has the right credentials, expertise and experience. Since there are so few quality companies doing this work it is rarely possible.
Occasionally, someone will choose a less expensive contractor. While we certainly understand that budget is incredibly important, preserving your historic windows is more so. Our company guarantees their work. We also have a price match program for equal scopes of work from reputable companies. Please contact your consultant for more details.