Seeking to counter the image of home improvement companies as so-called “Tin Men,” a group of 14 replacement contractors across the United States has set out to bring the homeowner's perception in line with the reality of today's industry.

The group calls itself the National Alliance of Siding & Window Dealers. Its mission is “to attract and maintain outstanding remodeling companies that consistently provide superior workmanship and customer service that not only meet, but exceed the consumer's expectations,” according to its Web site,

“The concept is very simple,” explains Rick Grosso of Rick Grosso Seminars, North Hutchinson, Fla., and vice president of the group: “to remove the risk of buying in the home improvement industry.” The Alliance will provide a place where “a homeowner can go to check that they're dealing with a reputable company,” one that abides by a code of ethics adopted by the group, he adds.

Consumer Guarantees The code commits members to “the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and competence.” In practical terms, that means members pledge to do the job right and stand behind their work. Members will offer a minimum five-year labor warranty and “a 100% money-back guarantee for satisfaction that their work has been done properly and completely,” Grosso explains, “so a customer won't be left hanging.” If a dispute arises with a homeowner, the Alliance will arbitrate and, if the job is found to be faulty, make sure it's corrected, he adds. If a member company goes out of business, the Alliance will back its guarantees. The association's ethics statement — published on its Web site —stresses honesty, competence, and fairness.

Membership Requirements The Alliance is open to home improvement companies that have been in business for at least five years, have a showroom, a minimum of $3 million in annual sales, and a “clean reputation,” Grosso says. Presently, members can identify themselves by including their logo on company documents; eventually the Alliance wants to advertise to consumers to raise public awareness.