7 Things to Look for When you Choose a Deck or Patio Builder
When hiring a professional deck or patio builder, you should look for some standard services as well as the personality and professional makeup of the company and contractor who will be doing the work on your deck or patio.
Remember, there’s a difference between a deck and patio, and that is where you want to spend a lot of family time, entertain guests, and relax. So, the work should be done to your exact specifications and with courtesy and professionalism. Don’t settle for any less.
Gets Back to you Quickly with Answers
When you start the interview process with estimates and design ideas, you will probably call your patio or deck builder back and forth. This is standard until everything is finalized, and a professional builder will not waste your time.
If you call your deck or patio builder and don’t get a call back until the next day, that is not a good sign. Any builder with a professional and well-run business always has time for the upfront estimate questions and the details that the customer wants to be answered before construction begins. If they are already blowing you off, find someone else.
(Source: Design Builders Inc.)
Is Upfront About Costs and Payment Conditions
Estimates are just an approximate value for the work that will be done. However, you want to find a deck or patio builder who can compare past work and references to get the best idea possible of how much the construction will cost you.
Why you want to know about upfront costs:
- It will help you plan your budget and the additions that you can afford
- It will make it easier to negotiate a time table for completion
- You can discuss the cost of materials and material choices
It should be obvious that anyone not upfront about the cost of their services should be avoided like the plague. However, one certain way to check for these types is to ask for references and for printed estimate invoices. If they can’t produce either, that is a big problem.
Suppose you ask for credentials, past work estimates, or payment conditions that don’t make sense. In that case, your builder should absolutely hold nothing back. If they do not seem upfront about payment conditions, costs of labor, materials, or are not willing to give references for work they have already completed, look elsewhere for your deck or patio builder.
(Source: How Stuff Works)
The Personality of the Builder
Some people are just hard to be around. There is no denying that certain folks were not made to be interpersonal and friendly. However, even if your builder is the best in the world, you still have to have conversations and work with the person on a daily basis at your own home.
A deck or patio builder with a short temper or other off-putting character traits and personality can put a damper on your renovation and cause you unneeded stress and anxiety. Home renovation is already very stressful for you and your family. The last thing you need is a deck or patio builder who is not too pleasant to work with. Do yourself a favor and vet who you hire.
Even if your deck or patio builder’s personality is a bit bristly, it should not get in the way of the wishes you have for completing the deck or patio. If you are having trouble getting through to your builder or find that they cut you off or will not let you help plan your own project, it may be time to find another builder who is a little more sensitive to the needs of their customers.
(Source: Slinde Nelson)
Follow-up or Repair Services
Now, follow up or repair services are not necessary for hiring a deck or patio builder. However, it is always good to ask about the warranty of their work, what kind of discounts they offer on repairs, or if they will provide follow-up appointments to make sure everything with the deck or patio is settled properly.
Some of the most common follow up, or repair services offered for free or at a discount by patio and deck builders to their customers are:
- Any errors or damage due to faulty installation or construction
- Any damage from weather when otherwise specified in construction details
- Checking for settling or noise concerns after completion of construction
- Follow up on satisfaction within a two-week amount of time
- Repairs on any work done by the builder usually at a discounted price
Just because they will charge you for repair services doesn’t mean they are a bad builder of decks and patios. This is just another factor that you can consider when deciding on which patio or deck builder to hire for your job. You could even start a bidding war with free services if you continue asking the right questions about follow up services.
Most professional deck and patio builders are willing to stand by their work and offer repeat customers incentives to stay happy. Repair work is generally discounted, or a number of follow-up appointments may be available. If there are no offers or guarantees on the work, it may be wise to seek a builder elsewhere.
If all you need is the basic maintenance, then you can follow these 5 simple deck maintenance tips to keep your deck looking brand new!
End Date Planning
Finding a deck or patio builder with complete transparency about an end date is difficult to find. Nailing down that date is like nailing Jell-o to the wall. However, conservative end dates should be negotiated to your liking and their capability. Once that date is set, the work can begin in good faith.
You may also want to ask for other references about end date completion from the builder’s previous customers. Just because you make an end date doesn’t mean he has to stick to it. Find out if their word is their bond and if they can really get the job done with confidence.
Also, suppose your contractor is not willing to put an end date on the work they are doing for your deck or patio. In that case, it might mean that they are inexperienced, uneducated, or just don’t care. These are all red flags when it comes to building a structure that your family will be walking and sitting on regularly. End date planning is an important signifier or quality service from a deck builder.
(Source: Bell, Davis, Pitt)
It is possible for the customer to seek out and receive their own building permits for the work of a deck or patio at their own property. However, a deck or patio builder who offers this service takes the time and effort away from you. It is an added benefit to find a builder who can set up, schedule, and take care of filing a building permit for you. Not all will, but it is a bonus.
Another great thing about a professional builder who is willing to do the paperwork and hustle of obtaining a building permit is that it puts the pressure on your builder to complete the work request. The permit is in their name and must be completed and cleared with the county office before their name is taken off of an official permit.
There can be several regulations and laws in certain counties about the number of permits a contractor or deck and patio builder can have open at one time.
(Do you need to get a permit to build a deck in San Antonio? Find out in that article.)
(Source: Foster City, Optima Properties)
Licensing and Insurance
Getting work done by a deck or patio builder who is not licensed or insured can help you to save a few pennies. However, an unlicensed and uninsured worker on your property can be devastating in the long run if you or anyone on your property is injured during the construction of your deck or patio or even after it has been fully built.
The dangers of building without licenses or insurance for your deck or patio builder:
- You could be liable for damages to your neighbors’ property
- You could be liable for injuries sustained on your property
- You could be fined by the county for operating machinery or conducting a construction zone without proper permitting.
Licensing is done by the county where the contractor works and lives. For a deck or patio builder to work legally, they need to register their work with the county records department as part of the permit requirements. This is done through their licensing number.
Insurance is also crucial for a safe construction zone. You don’t want to worry about people getting hurt while building anything on your property and then coming after you for damages. Insurance from the builder should take care of themselves and any workers that they have with them.
(Source: Next insurance)