So you’ve decided it’s time to add that deck to your home and expand your living space, raise your resale value and spend more time in the great outdoors with neighbors, family, and friends. That’s great! But where do you start? How do you make sure you hire the right company and avoid any potential headaches, problems or pitfalls? It’s actually pretty easy. At Creative Concepts and Design, we’ve heard horror stories from some of our clients about bad experiences they’ve had with other deck building companies, so we decided to put together a quick guide to keep you away from any bad apples. Just follow these four simple steps and you are almost assured of a hassle-free experience.
Do Your Homework
Don’t simply take someone else’s word for it. Your neighbor may have had a great experience, but every project is unique and yours could run into other issues. Take the time to look up the company online. Get a feel for their work, their skill level, their time in business, and their guarantees. Confirm that they are licensed, insured, and have been in business for a few years. This will rule out any fly-by-night companies who could start a project and then leave you high and dry.
Read Online Reviews
Simply reading what’s on a company’s website isn’t enough. While it will give you a lot of valuable insight and information, you won’t find anything negative there. Google the company and read reviews from actual customers to get a good feel for their reputation. Most companies will have a few less-than-perfect reviews, so also pay attention to make sure if there were any problems, that they were addressed and resolved by the company.
Ask for References from Previous Customers
Any company worth their salt will be happy to give you several previous customers’ names and numbers so you can call and speak with them about their experiences. These references will give you the best idea of what the company is really like to work with. You will get a feel for their customer service, timeliness, reliability, attention to detail, communication style and more. It’s a good idea to have some questions in mind before talking to these references. Ask about everything from start to finish and feel free to address any concerns with the company representative. Connecting with past clients by email or phone is great, but if you can see past projects in person, that’s even better than assuming all of the photos on the website are their work.
Get Quotes in Writing
The final step is to get a quote for the project in writing. Make sure important details such as type of decking, size of posts, hardware, and prices are all covered. This way you can make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Also ask where the materials will be purchased. For example KC Deck Supply will ensure high quality lumber, while Menards will be lower quality. Just like many other things in life, you get what you pay for. If the price seems too good to be true, it usually is. Additionally, ask for an anticipated start and finish date. Finally, make sure any guarantees are mentioned in writing as well. Once you’ve vetted three companies and have their project quotes in hand, you will be ready to make a very informed decision.