Don't Settle for Any Contractor, Hire the Best for your Deck Project
As we get further into the summer and we are looking forward to hot days and warm nights, spending time in the backyard with family and close friends is at the top of the to-do list! Lounging on the deck by the pool or overlooking the colorful, blooming landscape while enjoying a soft breeze is a wonderful way to spend a relaxing weekend at home! So, what to do if you do not have a deck yet! This time of the season, it may be difficult to find a suitable contractor who can build for you right away, but it is best to wait for the right contractor than to hire “Chuck in a Truck”! Chuck will swoop in make all of the right promises, but can he truly deliver the product that you are paying for? Do not risk it! It is always better to wait for the qualified contractor. Know how to spot Chuck!
So how do you spot a “Chuck in a Truck”? Watch for these warning signs!
He says he can start tomorrow! A descent contractor already has work and can begin your project weeks down the road. The best contractors are booked for the next 6 months or a year! Never settle for a company that is not in demand. You and your family have to live with the result, so hire the best to expect the best!
He shows up late for a scheduled appointment! A reputable contractor shows respect for your time and will do his best not to waste it. If he’s going to be late, he calls ahead to let you know.
He has no liability insurance! General Liability Insurance helps cover the costs of liability claims due to property damage, personal injury, errors in service, etc. Hiring a contractor without liability insurance is risky. Ask for a Certificate of Insurance with yourself listed as the certificate holder. It shouldn’t take more than a day or two for your contract to provide this to you.
He asks for a substantial down payment! Some jobs are materials heavy and do require a larger down payment such as purchasing a new Trex Deck, but the contractor should be very transparent as to what your down payment is covering. Ask your contractor what it’s being used for. A generic 50% down payment may be a red flag. Look for a payment schedule with progress benchmarks that allow for smaller payments during construction to make sure you are comfortable that you are getting what you paid for, and that the contractor can move the job forward efficiently.
He wants to work without a permit! There are two reasons a “Chuck in a Truck” will do this. 1) He doesn’t actually have a business license, bond, or insurance and
cannot register as a contractor in your city. 2) He’s going to do the job as cheaply as possible and it may not be up to code or pass inspections. Ask your contractor if he is registered with your city. He should be able to provide a copy of his registration. If you’re really not sure if you need a permit, call the building department and speak to an inspector. They are happy to discuss the needs of your project with you. City websites also have links to your local building department and you can view permit applications there to see what information the city requires as well as code requirements.
He does not give you a construction schedule! With any project, there are bound to be hiccups that can cause a deviation from the schedule, but you should at least be given some sort of outline as to how the project will progress and probable timelines. Acceptable delays include weather and due the current COVID pandemic, there may be delays in getting permits and inspections.
There is little or no detail in his contract! When reading over your contract, there should be no grey area as to what is covered and what is not. You should be able to clearly determine what is included in the price you are being given. This is also a good time to look for a warranty. There should be a written warranty in your contract. Do not forward a down payment without a contract.
The company has no website! In this day and age, there is really no reason that a company should not have an online presence! It isn’t cheap to maintain a well put together website, but at the very least, you should be able to find the company on one of the free platforms that are available. If you cannot find a website, you have found a red flag.
He has no references or photos of past work! If the company has a website, they’re bound to have pictures! Right?!? If you don’t see photos of past work, ask for them. Ask for references. It could save huge headaches in the future! Viewing photos of a qualified contractor’s work can also give you ideas for your own project! Did you know that you can curve Trex deck boards?