Core ProTips

Choosing the Right Contractor for Your Deck

How often do you hear about people having negative experiences when it comes to the design or construction of their new backyard deck, screened-in porch, stone patio, or other outdoor living structure? In this post, we’ll discuss how to choose the right deck contractor.

First, you should schedule at least three estimates with highly-recommended contractors. Aside from family and friends, there are many web-based resources to assist you. Contractors can no longer hide their problems and hand you a reference list of cherry-picked clients who will sing their praises. Ratings websites such as Angie’s List, Consumer Checkbook and Yelp will help you find contractors who have a long track record of high ratings.

Once appointments are made, pay close attention to who is on time, articulate, a good listener, and exhibits other qualities you seek. If the salesperson isn’t crisp and organized, you can bet the people doing the work won’t be either.

When proposals arrive, you should take the time to discern between price and value. You must evaluate competing proposals based on what you’re receiving for the price, not just the price itself. It’s harder to achieve an apples-to-apples comparison than you might think because there are so many moving parts to a proposal. It’s hard enough to compare materials, design, and service, but how do you compare the all-important factor of craftsmanship?

This question leads to a crucial step in your decision-making process, and one that surprisingly few clients take: go see some completed projects. Photos can be deceiving, and references can be highly subjective. When you invest a few hours to see completed projects yourself, you’ll know exactly what’s being proposed. Oftentimes, this alone will keep you from joining the legions of unhappy clients who have to live each day with their contractor-selection mistakes.

If you do this and still don’t find the right contractor for you, don’t settle! There are many more qualified candidates out there, and you’ll know when you find the right one. If you take these few simple steps, you will likely become one of the elite group of clients who look forward to showing off their completed projects to others.