Are you just now considering adding a deck to your Maryland home? It’s a great decision, but you might be a bit behind the curve. Spring is a busy season for Maryland deck builders, and many of us are already booked all the way through May. Since you are starting late, it might be more difficult now to find an experienced and reliable decking contractor. To help you out, here are a few tips for hiring the right person.
Look for a Full-Service Deck Builder
There is a reason you are hiring someone to get your deck built: you probably don’t have enough time or knowledge to do it yourself. Make sure your contractor takes care of all of the aspects of the project, so you don’t end up wasting said precious time on things your contractor should have done.
Look for a contractor who can do all of the following:
Custom deck design based on your needs, wishes and specifications, complete with blueprints.
Contacting utility companies to mark the underground lines.
Preparing and submitting paperwork for your HOA and/or to obtain permits.
Cleaning up each day and after the project is completed.
If your contractor doesn’t do all of this, or—worse—says you don’t need permits, find someone else. A contractor who values your time and does the job right will consider the above services a part of the project.
Check License and Insurance
Your deck building contractor has to be appropriately licensed and insured. It’s not unheard of (or in any way impolite) to ask for contractor’s license number or proof of insurance. After all, you are paying for this service, so you have the right to know what you are buying. Make sure the contractor is licensed to perform work in your state. When it comes to insurance, look for a contractor who carries general liability, as well as workers’ compensation policies.
Since deck building demand is often greater than supply this time of year, you may encounter some not-so-honest or unprofessional companies trying to make a quick buck. Beware if you encounter any of the following warning signs:
Contractor demands a full payment upfront or more than 50% deposit.
Contractor refuses to provide license and/or insurance information.
Contractor doesn’t have a website and a professional email address.
Contractor has a phone number or a license plate from another state (but it’s OK if you live next to the border and contractors serving both states are a common occurrence).
Contractor doesn’t offer you any written estimates, bids or contracts.
Ask for References
Some contractors have customer testimonials on their websites. Others may have reviews in other places online, such as Yelp or Google. If you can’t find any third-party feedback about a particular Maryland deck building company, feel free to ask them for references. Any experienced and reputable deck builder will have a few dozen past clients who could answer your questions. Photos of past projects also say a lot about the quality of workmanship.
Interview Your Contractor
Don’t just call and ask “how much?” Call and talk to the contractor or their customer service department if it’s a larger company. Ask questions about how long they’ve been in business, what kind of materials they use and how big their crews are. You want to get a feel for how they communicate with customers and whether they have enough resources to build your deck in your desired time frame.
At Custom Deck Builders, we still have a few spots left in our busy spring schedule, so feel free to give us a call or contact online to get started with your deck. We’ll also soon be opening our own deck showroom in Shrewsbury, PA – stay tuned for the announcement!