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When your community recognizes that your historic treasures are in need of care or they want to create new ones, many congregants don’t know where to start. In order to best prepare for the project, your church will want to seek out several companies to submit proposals.

Ask specific questions about their experience. Experienced businesses are truly the best at caring for your church communities treasures or creating new ones. For example, how long have they been in business? Do they have experience with church windows and the particular service you need such as repair, restoration, protective covering, new windows, and/or framing?

Before inviting the team to bid, ask the studio to send references over at least a five-year period of business. Contact recent references upfront. We suggest you contact the most recent church committees, as it may be hard to talk with someone familiar with the project from several years ago. For example, you may ask if the company completed the job on time; communicated during the project; cleaned up well and worked around your services, activities, etc.; completed the contract skillfully; what type of work did they do (repair, re-lead, covering, etc); and were you satisfied with the project?

Also, as a broader view, check the Better Business Bureau as well.

Request evidence of their financial viability and stability. For financial history, you can check their status with Dunn & Bradstreet or their bank. A letter of reference from their bank and/or a Dunn and Bradstreet report provides evidence that they will be there when you need them next.

Also review the state’s websites where the company is licensed. The category is contracting. Be aware that sometimes people report information incorrectly, so be very direct and ask the potential studio to explain any items that are not clear. Some companies use variations of names.

Once you determine 3-5 credible companies, ask them to come out and view your project.

Willet Hauser Studio, Winona, MN