When looking for a deck installation contractor, it’s crucial to do your homework. With a good contractor, the installation process goes smoothly and you end up with a result you love. With a bad one, an exciting project quickly turns into a nightmare. Not sure where to start on your contractor hunt? Set yourself up for success with these 10 questions.
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Are you licensed and insured?
This is the first question you need to ask when considering any contractor. As we discussed in our article 3 Tips for Choosing the Best Deck Installation Service, making sure your contractor is licensed and insured is crucial to guaranteeing the success of your project. You can do a quick online search, or use their licensing number to verify their status.
There are also third-party services, like HomeAdvisor, that allow you to search for contractors by name or zip code. Most states have an online tool for easy licensure checks.
What warranties do you offer?
You want your deck to last a long time, even if repairs need to be done. One of the ways to do this is by choosing a deck installation contractor with a good warranty. Solid contractors can provide you with a warranty that covers as much of the products used on your deck as possible. While they may not be able to provide them on everything, a good warranty is an indicator of your contractor’s confidence in the quality of their work.
Do you use subcontractors?
Some installation companies use external contractors to complete projects on their behalf. This isn’t necessarily a red flag, but you need to learn more about their subcontractors before you sign a thing. For example, communication can be an issue when contractors come from various companies with different backgrounds and objectives.
Companies that use their own crews will be more familiar with your case, and have direct control over every aspect of the project. Your deck installation is more likely to go as planned when the whole crew comes from the same company.
Can you give me a time frame?
Asking your deck installation contractor about time frames tells you a lot more than how quickly your project will be done. Good contractors reference other projects they’ve completed that are similar to yours to provide a relatively accurate estimate. Additionally, they don’t make fantastical promises of getting the job done right away. You deserve a contractor that’s not only realistic, but takes their time. On the other hand, if they offer a vague answer or one that makes you feel brushed off, you need to reevaluate.
Do you have a specialization?
Another good way to see if a contractor is a fit for your decking project is by asking if they have any specializations. Some contractors may heavily favor a certain kind of material or have a specific style. Knowing their preferences and areas of expertise gives you an idea of if your visions will align.
Do you have customer testimonials?
One of the best ways to quality check a contractor is by checking their reviews and completed project. To go the extra mile, ask for customer testimonials and references. These give you a great insight into how you can expect your project to go. Anecdotes and photos from the contractor can be deceiving, so getting to speak to a prior customer can help you decide if this contractor is right for you.
What if I'm not satisfied with my project?
One of the heavy hitting questions you need to ask your contractor is what happens if you aren’t satisfied with your service or final result. They should give you a comprehensive description of how they handle this, and they shouldn’t get upset that you want to know. At the end of the day, you need to be completely comfortable with the answer.
Can you provide me with a quote?
Before getting into your decking project, you need to know about how much you can expect to pay. Many contractors have quoting tools to provide a rough estimate, but it’s smart to ask them to go over it with you before committing. A written estimate helps avoid any surprises down the line.
What is your billing policy?
In addition to requesting a quote, you need to know what your deck contractor’s procedure is for collecting payment. Do they like to be paid in advance, or on the job site? How do they prefer to receive their final payment? Get familiar with their cancellation policy and any fees that come along with it. Every deck installation contractor will handle payment differently, but most accept cash, checks, and major credit cards.
What can I expect when working with you?
We’re ending it off with a tough one here, but it’s crucial to ask. Your contractor must be able to give you reasonable expectations on communication, how they handle challenges, and how they ensure they’re doing a professional job up to the standards you deserve.
Closing thoughts on hiring a deck installation contractor
Deciding which deck installation contractor to hire is difficult. By asking these 10 questions, you’re setting yourself up for success and can be sure you’re making the right choice.
To cut down on the hours of searching and vetting, fill out this contact form and get started on your dream deck today.