You have decided to hire a deck builder; now the real work begins. Finding a contractor alone can be quite a daunting feat. We all want to hire someone we can trust. If you get down to searching, you can find hundreds of contractors around you. Sure, you can look into reviews and references, but there must be more to the ordeal. You cannot trust online reviews alone. So, how do you pick the right guy for the job? Well, the answer is simple: you start by shortlisting people, and then you ask them questions. Make a list of your top picks, pick up the phone and start weeding out anyone who does not make the cut.
Confused about what to ask your contractor? Well, here is an excellent place to start. The following is a list of 15 questions you must ask before hiring a deck builder.
1. What’s Your Specialty?
Deck builders usually work with one or two types of decking. You must opt for a deck builder who has experience working with the deck material of your choice. Nobody wants to hire someone who is a newbie. The last thing you need in your life is to have your deck builder try their hands at something new on your deck. Hiring a deck builder with experience is critical because they will discuss the pros and cons of the deck material you intend to use and help you make an informed decision.
2. Do You Have Staff Or Subcontract?
Deck builders often collaborate with other contracting companies to take care of some jobs on their behalf because it is not their area of expertise. While collaborating with other experts means having specialists working on your deck, it may result in communication issues between the two parties. Contracting companies with their own crews are more informed about their staff’s experience, skillset, and character. Aside from familiarity, they also have more control over every aspect of the job, thereby ensuring a more organized approach to work and better planning.
3. Will There Be A Supervisor On-Site?
Having a supervisor on the field is always a good idea. A supervisor ensures that everything is handled well and the work quality is up to the mark. Moreover, their authority is responsible for making critical decisions. If you have the option to choose between two contractors, always opt for the one with an on-field supervisor.
4. What’s Your Warranty?
Getting a deck builder for your home means investing in your home. Every deck builder should use quality products that come with a warranty. This is not a light bulb that you can discard after a year of use; this is a part of your home, so you expect things to last you for years to come. Not only should a deck builder provide you with a warranty of the products they are using, but they must also provide you with a warranty of their work and services. Be sure to ask for details of the specifics like coverage, etc.
5. Are You Licensed And Insured?
This is an easy one. The answer, in this case, should always be yes. If not, you know what you have to do. Ask your deck builder for their insurance certificate, license, and Work Safe BC credentials. If you sense any hesitation, resistance, or evasion, know that you must find another deck builder in Sherwood Park.
6. How Long Have You Been In The Business?
This rather simple question is important because it helps you understand how experienced your deck builder is in the decking industry. Steer clear of any dodgy deck contractors. They do not last particularly long in the market anyway. Look for established businesses because they are less likely to have a history of any financial or legal issues that could potentially affect your project.
7. Do You Have References?
Online reviews fall in the preliminary stage of assessment. You must look into personal customer references after you look at online ratings. Not only is it reassuring to talk to a past customer, but you can mutually go over some concerns that you harbor and whether the previous customers had to deal with any of them. Ask for their availability. If your deck builder is hesitant to connect them to you, know something fishy there.
8. How Do You Deal With Things When Something Goes Wrong?
Things go wrong all the time; every contractor has had to deal with them. You know you have a good deck builder on board when you have seen them dealing with things when they go wrong. Let your contractor tell you about a time when something went wrong and how they fixed the problem.
9. Will This Deck Require A Permit, And Do You Handle Permits?
When it comes to construction work, a permit is almost always necessary. Your contractor should know when you require one. While in most cases, the homeowner is required to take care of it; sometimes contractors handle it on your behalf. If nothing, they can at least guide you through the process.
10. Who Do You Know?
Every contractor has a list of contacts, i.e., service providers, to who they can refer you in case you need additional work done. If you need to hire a company to handle something that is outside the realm of your contractor’s skill set, ask them to connect you with someone they recommend for the job. References from your contractor will save you searching time and effort.
11. Do You Do Railings?
No deck is complete without railings. Ask your deck builder if they take care of railings. Get a quote for a railing re-do while discussing your deck project.
12. How Long Will It Take, And When Could You Start?
A timeline for project completion is essential. If you are getting a deck builder on board, you must plan everything out. Ask for a timeline estimate for the task to be completed so you can finalize things according to your timeline of task completion.
13. Do You Charge A Deposit?
Many deck builders charge a deposit to cover material costs and for the client’s peace of mind. A 10 to 30% deposit is common. A deposit over 30% rarely ever makes sense, so if you are presented with an estimate like that, be sure to inquire about the reasons behind it.
14. What Forms Of Payment Do You Accept?
Only cash or credit payments may seem like a basic question, but it is imperative. Only cash payments can be a bit of a red flag because the business may not be above board. Sort out all the nitty-gritty details before you sign any contract.
Now that you are well informed about all the things you need to get done before saying yes to any deck builder, get sorting. Find your best pick, and you are on your way to having the deck of your dreams.