If you think that adding a new deck to your home isn’t a big deal, and shouldn’t require much effort or research, you probably haven’t seen how much the average American spends in order to design, build and finish a new deck. Most national statistics put this number somewhere in the $7,000 range. In other words, it’s a big investment—and if you’re going to have it done, you want it done right. You want a space that enhances your curb appeal, boosts your property value, and gives you a functional space that your family truly enjoys using. Putting all of these elements together isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
The contractor you choose to build your outdoor deck is therefore a really important decision. So how do you go about it? Learning what to avoid when you’re choosing and outdoor deck builder is one of the best things you can do. It allows you to steer clear of companies who lack the tools, experience and professionalism to put your home improvement dollars to good use. Here are four signs you should look elsewhere when researching deck specialists:
1. You can’t find any testimonials
Every deck building specialist is aware that cultivating good reviews and testimonials is important. Fortunately, these companies can’t control how their reviews come out on sites like Google+. You should be able to find objective information from past customers to help guide your decision. If you have trouble finding reviews online, don’t hesitate to ask the company directly where you can find customer reviews. If it seems like the company is hiding something, or isn’t interested in helping you find objective information about them, they’re probably not worth your time or money.
2. The fees are confusing
When it comes down to detailed estimates and contracts that lay out the costs involved for your new outdoor deck, everything should be crystal clear. Reputable deck builders do not use confusing tactics or unusual fee structures to relieve you of extra cash without you knowing. It’s a good idea to make sure that any estimates you’ve discussed are firmly established in the written contract before you sign it. Companies who try to leave things open ended and vague should be avoided—there are plenty of good contractors who do things the honest way.
3. The web site is a mess
If a deck builder is meticulous, professional and detail-oriented in their contracting work, these qualities should also be reflected in their web site. When you see a professionally designed site, with plenty of photography and clearly organized information, chances are much higher that you’ll be dealing with a truly professional outfit who will handle your project with skill and confidence.
Making the right call…
So you’ve found a professional deck builder who seems to meet all your requirements. What next? Well, you still need to speak and/or meet with them to discuss your project and decide whether it’s a good match. An experienced company will be friendly, honest, and clear in the way they relate to you. You should be able to ask all the questions you want, without feeling rushed. Put yourself in the driver’s seat and remember—this is your investment! If you recognize the warning signs of a bad contractor, you’re much more likely to end up with a short list of excellent builders. Then you can get on with the business of building your fabulous new deck.
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