Advice On How To Make Working With Your Deck Builder Easier


Everybody wants a hassle-free experience with their contractor. Your experience with the deck builder during the project is as important as the quality of work that they deliver. 90% of ensuring that you have a good working relationship with your deck builder lies in knowing what you want and being prepared to enthusiastically take on your role as the home owner and client. This guide will help you make it easier to work with your deck builder.

  1. Try to have a personality match with your deck builder

How you relate with your deck builder, on a personal level, is an important determining factor on whether you will have a good experience working together. Depending on your personality type, you might find it difficult working with most people. This is why it is important to have extensive face-to-face interviews with your deck builder before you commit to working together. Ideally, as the client, you should find a deck builder who will fit into how you like to do business. In a market where there are numerous qualified candidates, this should not be a problem.

However, service delivery is more important than personality when engaging the services of a contractor. If the best option doesn’t seem to ‘match’ your personality, you might have to make adjustments if you want a quality deck. Understanding how to relate to your deck builder is important as it will determine the quality of your working relationship.

  1. Understand your role as the client

Many experts and guides on the contractor-client working relationship will focus on what you, as the client, should expect from your contractor. One of the most overlooked aspects is what the contractor will be expecting from you as the client. Respect is a two way street. Just as you expect the contractor to be professional, the contractor also expects you to be a pleasant client to work with. Try to make your contractor’s work easier by making arrangements for the contractor to have adequate parking spaces for him/her and their workers. Give your contractor’s crew access to at least one lavatory and an outdoors faucet/hose for them to clean up after work. If they use power tools, provide an accessible power source. Honor your payment schedule and pay up as per your agreement. You might go as far as to provide them with cool drinks and snacks, but that is not mandatory. Being a good client motivates your contractor to deliver above and beyond what they may have planned to.

  1. Enshrine your agreement in a legally-binding contract.

Even small and ‘simple’ decks will cost you a few thousand dollars to build. More ambitious projects could end up costing tens of thousands of dollars. When dealing with such significant amounts, you should never engage a deck builder on the basis of a verbal agreement alone. A contract will protect both of you and provide a framework from which you can both work together without the fear of the uncertain. On your end, you will be protected from a contractor that may deliver sub-standard work, leave work incomplete or charge you more than you had agreed. The contractor will be assured that they will be paid, and in full, after they finish the project. Getting rid of uncertainty, by signing a contract, will put both of you at ease and create a positive working relationship.

  1. Create(and stick to) a payment schedule

One of the key rules for working with contractors is that you should never pay for unfinished work. Apart from the down payment (which should never exceed 25% of the total project cost), every other payment needs to be based on a deliverable item. When building a dock, you can have a schedule that releases part of the payment to the deck builder when they achieve certain milestones (such as setting the foundation or laying the decking boards). Only pay the full amount when you have inspected the work and ascertained that it has been satisfactorily completed. It is VERY important to maintain a professional tone with your deck builder; never waver on your payment schedule for any reason.

  1. Monitor the progress of your deck

Try to schedule your deck construction on dates where you will be available to monitor the progress. It is important to ensure that your deck builder is following your instructions and preferences to build the deck of your dreams. Being available on site also ensures that your deck builder’s productivity is maintained. You could also confer with your deck builder as construction continues to see if you want changes made to better suit your needs. Remember to put any changes in writing by amending your initial contract.

If you follow the tips in this guide, you will have a pleasant experience partnering with your deck builder.