Questions To Ask Your Prospective Deck Builder Before Hiring
Building a deck represents a very significant investment for any homeowner. It is therefore important to ensure that you are working with a deck builder that can capably execute this project for you. The first step to ensuring a successful project is getting the right contractor. You should have a rigorous selection process to ensure that you get a deck builder that is able and committed to helping you actualize your dream deck. What you should look for in a deck builder is certification, good workmanship, academic qualifications, work experience, and professionalism. Here are some questions that will help you select the right deck builder for your project.
What are your qualifications?
From the get go, you need to ensure that you are working with a competent deck builder. A deck builder can either be trained through years of apprenticeship with a professional and/or through an academic building/engineering course. You need to ensure that their training credentials can be verified.
How long have you worked as a deck builder?
Length of experience is another important aspect to consider when hiring a deck builder. If your ideal deck is more on the simple side of things, then you can work with a less experienced (as long as they are qualified) deck builder as they may be a more affordable option. If your project is more ambitious and elaborate, then you should not settle for anything less than 5 years worth of experience. Ask to see a portfolio of past projects to help you determine a deck builder’s suitability.
Are you licensed, registered, and insured?
This is one question where you should never settle for anything less than a “yes” on all counts. You need to take some time to research on the licensing and registration requirements for deck builders operating within your local jurisdiction. Any deck builder who does not have valid licenses and registration details should be immediately dismissed from consideration. Having valid registration and licenses shows that the deck builder has met the requirements regarding adhering to the standards of good practice. It is also a key indicator of their professionalism.
Your deck builder also needs to have a valid comprehensive insurance policy that covers your property and their workers. If your deck builder will be sub-contracting some of the work to other contractors, they too need to have the proper insurance coverage. Working with uninsured sub-contractors exposes you to liability for any damage and injuries that may occur while your deck is being built.
Can you provide references?
The best way to determine contractor suitability is to talk to their past clients. You need to ask their past clients about their experience with your deck builder regarding how they stick to agreed upon deadlines, quality levels, and if they remain true to their price quote. If a deck builder can’t provide adequate references, it could mean that they don’t have sufficient experience or that they are not confident of being reviewed positively by their past clients. If you see a pattern of negative feedback from their references, don’t work with that particular deck builder.
What are your thoughts and suggestions about my project?
It is recommended that you have a vision of how your deck should look like before you contact potential deck builders. During the selection process, communicate this vision to them and ask them for any thoughts or suggestions. You should gauge whether they were attentive to your input by how they answer.
This is also a good question to see whether the deck builder you are interviewing is able to deliver as per your needs. As an added benefit, their feedback could improve upon your vision as they make suggestions based on their training and past experience. This question helps you determine whether you and your deck builder will be working on the same vision. You should also probe them on how long they would need to complete your project.
Is the quoted price final?
As you move into the later stages of the deck builder selection process, you need to allow them to visit your site and determine the amount of work they need to do to build your ideal deck. Once you get the final price quote from them, you need to ask them whether they will be comfortable committing to this price in the deck building contract. Some unscrupulous contractors give low bids to attract you then bloat them as soon as they begin working on your deck. If they can’t commit to their quote in writing, then you should not do business with them.