While some homeowners choose to build their own decks, others prefer the security and experience of a professional contractor. But what if you aren’t sure how to choose from the hundreds in the Yellow Pages? How can you be confident that you’re getting the best person for the job? Here are just five tips for finding a trustworthy deck builder.
1. Ask for Referrals
Question your girlfriend about the gorgeous patio that she just added to her backyard. Ask your uncle if he hired anyone in particular for that platform deck. Your friends, neighbors and relatives are all valuable sources of information about deck builders, and what’s more, they should be happy to brag about their decor.
2. Check Their Credentials
Once you’ve compiled a list of potentials, make sure that everyone is registered or accredited by a legitimate association. Look for any designations offered by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) or the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) group. You can also check journeyman associations on a local or state level.
3. Get an Estimate
Experienced deck builders should be able to evaluate your yard and provide an estimate for their services based on what they see. For example, they might want to use special timber in an area with soil erosion, or they might need to work around a water line. Whatever numbers they offer, be sure to ask for individual breakdowns when it comes to materials, labor costs and insurance.
4. Get Guaranteed
Speaking of insurance, it’s absolutely critical that your contractor has their own coverage. This can save you hundreds in liability costs if something goes wrong on-site. You might also want to ask about warranties, contracts and deadlines. The more you can put in writing, the more peace of mind you’ll have about the entire project.
5. Read Their Reviews
What do previous clients have to say about their work? Are their decks still standing? Were their estimates reflective of the final price? Look for third-party reviews on unbiased websites where you can get a full picture of both their skills and professionalism.
If you’ve been dreaming of a deck, these are just five ways to find a reputable contractor. Decks are a big investment, so it’s important not to make a mistake with your choice. Don’t be afraid to take your time and find a company or journeyman who inspires total confidence.