Shawn Miller: Hi! I am Shawn Miller with deckdesigns.
com and President of the North American Deck and Rail Association.
Today I'd like to talk to you about establishing the credibility of the contractor you're choosing for your deck project. Before hiring any contractor there is a few questions you should ask to establish the credibility of their company. Remember the security of hiring a professional contractor may cost a little more upfront, but in the long run could save you thousands of dollars over hiring an unqualified contractor.
Is the contractor properly insured? They should have liability insurance and Workers' Compensation for any employees working on your project. Ask to your contractor provide you with current certificate of insurance, requests references, and follow-up on them.
Any former client of your contractor should be happy to share their experiences with you. You should find out if your state or local government requires licensing. It's very important that your contractor to be licensed in the event of any contract disputes. Check with your local municipality on permitting requirements.
If a permit is required, the contractor should be providing the permit and scheduling all inspections. You should follow through with your local building department to ensure the permit has been finalized and everything has been built to code.
Is your contractor member of a professional trade association? Are they full-time deck builders or they're general contractor? There are many details of building a deck that can be missed by someone who doesn't do it regularly. You should also expect a contract outlining the detailed of the project. This should include material proposed, expected timelines, price breakdown, and terms of payment.
The Internet or The Better Business Bureau are also great tools to check any contractor you are considering. Go out and kick the tires, ask to visit a project recently completed to see if their work meets your expectations. The pictures in their portfolio may look great, but there's no substitute for seeing the actual work.
This is a huge investment, but with a little due diligence and checking out the credibility of your contractor, you can ensure that the deck you've been dreaming about becomes a reality and a valuable addition to your home.