You’ve been planning on building a deck of your dream all the while and now it is the time to choose the right contractor for your decking project. If you’re clueless where and how to tell a qualified decking contractor from the quack. Worry no more as you’re in the right place.
Finding the right decking contractor for your decking project need not be a tall order but it can also be if you don’t know what to look out for in a contractor. Imagine if you were to sift through the city of Pensacola for the best Pensacola deck builders. Though very small city with about 53,989 population, you still want to be very careful when choosing a contractor for your deck building project.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go through the stress anymore as we have you covered already!
Ready to dive right in?
Let’s get started…
Why You Shouldn’t Rely On Your Gut or What People Told You Alone
When you’re about choosing a deck builder, there are so many advices and assurances you’ll get from friends and family members. You may even want to trust your gut that anyone along the street can do the job. Far from the truth! You need to do more than just taking people’s words for it. Go around, ask questions, and see things for yourself.
Before you settle on which contractor to choose for your deck building project, here are some steps to take:
Ask Around for a Sample Decking
Decking is something you can easily find in your neighborhood – within your immediate home or the next building to your house. Ask around for any fabulous deck you will like and want your own deck modeled after. Get to see the owner and ask if s/he can connect you with the same contractor she used for her own deck building. That way, you can start the conversation to see if the contractor is who you’ve been looking for.
Go Online For Samples and in Search of Contractors
The world has gone digital and there’s absolutely no job that can’t be found online these days. The good thing about the internet is that you cannot only use it to search for the right contractor for your project; it lets you read reviews about the contractors you’re about hiring for your project. A caveat here: Don’t take online reviews as the final say as you can’t eliminate the possibility of certain reviews being fake or paid for by the contractors. So go beyond relying on online information and see things for yourself in real life.
Ask to Meet Potential Contractor in Person
While you can simply collect phone numbers of prospective contractors online and speak with few or all of them. Doing that alone may not be enough. Try to schedule a time with the potential contractor to visit your home and discuss better with him on your project. In the course of your meeting and discussion, you’ll be able to ask few real-life questions and have him see your project site. With this done, you should be able to figure out whether the contractor has the right skill set for your project.
Ask More Questions
Your meeting with the prospective contractor should avail you the right opportunity to effectively discuss your project with this individual. This is the right time to summon the courage to ask all the questions there is to ask. Some key questions you should ask include:
- Is s/he licensed to handle the project?
- Does the contractor have liability insurance? If yes, ask to see the proof that s/he really does.
- Will the individual help you with the design aspect of the project including the architectural plan?
- Who is to secure all the required permits? Most deck building contractors offer comprehensive services including processing permit, submission and resubmission (to correct any mistake), plan review, and securing permit.
- Does s/he have experience working with different types of deck building materials?
- Does s/he have previous work experience in deck building? Can I speak with one of your past clients?
- What’s the estimated timeframe and schedule for completing the project?
- What’s your service fee? What is your payment schedule? This will help you compare prices with other potential contractors.
- Are your crew covered under your liability insurance?
- What’s your process like?
Pro Tip: While all these questions can be time-consuming, it’s better to have all your questions and doubts clarified before signing the contract. Just try as much as possible to get your questions and yourself properly organized ahead of the meeting.
Once you’re done with the enquiry and settled with a contractor to work with, get the ready for the next line of actions. Once the project begins, have the following things at the back of your mind:
Keep the Line of Communication Open
Before this time, you probably have collected the contractor’s contact information. If you haven’t already added this to your phone and email contacts, now is the best time to do and start to keep the communication line open. Who knows you might need to get clarifications as the project progresses, or your contractor or his crew may need to contact you. Don’t just collect your contractor’s phone number alone; try to get the contact information of one or more of his crew. This is necessary should you not be able to reach the contractor himself.
Keep Track of All Changes in Writing
Since you can’t guarantee you’ll have all situations under your control, it’s normal if any unforeseen circumstances happen. The changes could come from you or your contractor. It doesn’t matter who is at fault, what’s most important is to sort it out early before it’s too late to do so and document everything for future use. This will help both of you in the future should the agreed plan go astray when you had already agreed on a change.
Be Friendly with Your Contractor
A good turn they say deserves another. Treat your contractor with love and respect. Make the place they’re to work as friendly and clutter-free as possible. Pay them their due in time. And if you have any misunderstanding with them, sort it out early before it goes beyond control. Doing this will pay you off in the end.