Partnering With Decks n’ Stuff
There are contractors and then there are professional contractors.
The difference is that a professional contractor, such as Decks n’Stuff, has built a reputation-driven career out of helping people improve their quality of life by adding value and utility to their living and leisure spaces.
Yes, there are very capable individuals who work their craft part-time. But, it’s been my experience that they’re never available when YOU need them during the day because they’re working their regular jobs. Then, it’s a matter of you bending your schedule to accommodate them – often at night or on weekends when it’s your only chance to actually use your deck-space.
For the most part, a decision will come down to price – a bucks a buck. But, there’s also the person that you’re going to have to deal with during the process – are they going to be a valued partner in the process? How do you measure that? Well, here’s a few ways to compare contractors:
Credibility speaks to a contractor’s track record – how many projects?
Now, out of that number, how many clients are willing to give a glowing testimonial?
If you’re contractor says they’ve completed hundreds of projects then ask for a customer list for his last 10 jobs, at least. Call the customer and ask these questions:
- Did the contractor deliver what they promised to?
- Did they deliver on time?
- Did they deliver on budget?
- Did they listen to your needs?
- Did the contractor return your calls in a timely fashion and resolve all your concerns to your satisfaction?
- Where there any unexpected costs?
- Were there any unexpected delays beyond weather?
- Where they respectful and mindful of your home, property and neighbors?
- Did the contractor and their crew appear organized, moving with purpose and a plan?
- Would you recommend the contractor to your parents or siblings?
Decksn’Stuff has completed thousands of projects with thousands of very satisfied customers. We’re more than willing to share a random list of customers for you to talk with. All you have to do is ask.
There are some very able contractors out there that are more than a bit gruff or grouchy. Others have little tolerance of people asking about their choice of materials, workmanship or inquiring about the schedule or progress.
Approachability speaks to a contractor’s desire to truly partner with you on a project – providing a transparent accountability for your money in terms of planning, managing, scheduling and delivering a finished product.
If you and the contractor just aren’t connecting’ then don’t waste your time pursuing a relationship with them.
Right from the start, you’ll find working with Tim and his crew to be an enjoyable experience. Tim will sit with you and help you understand the construction process from beginning to end, exploring how it’s going to affect your home and property value while making sure that you are confident in working with them BEFORE any contract is signed.
Great customer service is instilled in the entire Decksn’Stuff crew from the moment they’re hired – respect for your home and family; appreciation for the opportunity to serve and share one’s skills and talents; and, the ability to listen for and respond to your questions and concerns.
Dependability & Reliability
Dependability speaks to a contractor’s stability and performance.
Reliability speaks to whether they can be counted on to consistently perform when YOU need them to perform.
Again, there’s lots of capable contractors out there but can you count on them to deliver on time and on budget? Will they respond to your telephone calls in a timely manner? Do they show up on time and leave their workspace clean and tidy? Will they do what they promised to do when they promised to do it?
It is only through the experience of others that you can evaluate a contractor with respects to their dependability – Decksn’Stuff will provide you with a long list of customers that you can call and confirm that dependable, expert service is a consistent experience on all of their projects.
Capacity speaks to the contractor’s ability to take on your project in a timely fashion.
What you don’t want is a contractor that arrives with his crew for a few hours today and then comes back for a few hours, two days later and then may need a week before they can come back.
Similarly, a contractor needs to have sufficient cash flow to purchase all the materials when they need them rather than waiting to do other work to collect so that they can go out and buy the next lot of wood or hardware for yours.
You deserve a contractor that has the resources to put a crew on your project from start to finish without interruption. This focus ensures that everything is done sequentially by the same people and that equates to a job done well the first time.
Decksn’Stuff has invested in perfecting a reliable system for delivering a completed project on time and budget. It has the resources necessary to put crews in place from project start to end, where you’re going to see measurable progress at the end of each and every work day. This system will be explained to you during the estimation process so that you will understand the care every step of the way – from taking your initial inquiry call to making sure that your property is left clean, neat and tidy when the last crew member leaves.
Accessibility speaks to a contractor’s ability to communicate with you as a human and a lay person.
First, some of us may have done better or worse in life than the contractor in front of you. You deserve to be respected for what you’ve accomplished in context of your life experience, not theirs. If you’ve done extremely well and live a house that speaks of prosperity and success, then you don’t want a contractor or crew whispering snide remarks about your lifestyle. Similarly, if things aren’t going as well as you hoped and you’re doing the best you can to update the look and feel of your home and property then they should be there with an open heart and mind to helping you – not judging you!
Secondly, the fact is that we’re not all experts in all things carpentry – the contractor should be able to explain what the project entails in simple, easy-to understand non-technical jargon. It’s your money – you should completely understand how its going to be invested – from the quality of materials to the expertise of the crews completing the job.
Decksn’Stuff has thousand of customers who will speak to its ability to explain your project clearly and completely – in a way that you can understand and appreciate. And, if you have questions then they’ll be answered such that you have absolute confidence in the ability of Tim and his crew to deliver what they promised to when they promised to.
Liability & Risk
Beyond the risks associated with mismanagement of your money and poor construction, you need to ensure that your contractor:
- Has a registered business and license to operate as a general contractor;
- Has registered the project, where necessary, with the local building office and has the required permits – a quick phone call will confirm this. And, if your contractor says that you don’t need permits then you should discuss the project with that local building office just to make sure. Otherwise, the building inspectors could have any or all completed portions of the project removed at your cost;
- Has a registered HST account with the government- they may not be lawfully entitled to collect HST form you;
- Has business insurance of between $1 Million and $2 Million dollars – otherwise you could be responsible for any damage they cause to your property, the neighbors or municipal/3rd party utility services;
- Is registered with the WSIB and that all of his employees/independent contractors are properly insured; and
- All materials and products installed on your property are fully paid for – otherwise situations can arise where the supplier of those materials can lay claim on them and either repossess them or seek compensation from you.
Beware Of Construction Liens
Another concern is a contractor putting a construction lien on your home without your consent or knowledge. The spirit of that mechanism is to protect a contractor in getting paid for their work but, some unscrupulous contractors may use it to leverage or bargain for additional costs. You may consider have your home’s title checked about 90 days after your final payment to ensure there are no contractor liens on the property.
Here’s some useful information about construction liens in Ontario: What You Need To Know About Construction Liens In Ontario
Decks n’ Stuff – We Do Our Homework
Decks n’ Stuff understand every government compliance requirement in your neighborhood in relation to your construction project. We will inform you about risks associated with working with a construction contractor under those specific circumstances and educate you about our policies and procedures that can affect the outcome of your job – all with the purpose of protecting you, your family and your property.
Work & Business Ethic
Everyone fears being taken by a contractor – giving a deposit and the contractor never showing up; low quality materials being used rather than a higher quality product that was specified in the contractor; being inconvenienced by crews that show up at irregular hours; ballooning costs and unexplained delays.
All speak to the core of contractor’s work and business ethic – either they’re committed to delivering what they said they would when they said they would for the price you both agreed to or they aren’t.
Again, the only way to evaluate this is through the experience of more than a small number of customer referrals or testimonials. Of course, the contractor will provide you with a list of ‘happy’ customers – so, ask for a long list of random customers and personally call each and every one of them to gain the confidence that you need to know this contractor will respect your hard earned money.
Decks n’ Stuff has a long list of customers that you’re welcome to call. And, you will hear a consistent story: Tim and his crew delivered what they said they would. And if there were unexpected costs or delays (things happen) then the situation was discussed with the customer and a solution was offered that ensured the relationship went forward with absolute trust and confidence.
The last thing you want to be buying is an education for your contractor or their crew.
The project team should arrive ready to go to work with a plan in place for the day and the proper tools and training to get the job done on schedule. There should be no inventive thinking or problem solving beyond overcoming technical challenges that arise in connecting the project to an existing structure or digging deep into the ground.
All matters relating to design, scheduling, building permits & inspections, health and safety training and compliance, underground wires and pipes, getting materials and equipment on to the job site and staffing should have been put to rest BEFORE the project start date.
Only training, experience and a proven system for planning and construction can deliver a finished product on time and on budget. Decksn’Stuff has all those bases covered and will provide a complete project plan and schedule to you prior to the start date.
With the experience of over 3,000 projects, Decksn’Stuff knows quite a lot about getting things done right, the first time.
Creativity & Technical Ability
Large construction projects often involve engineers and architects that layout very detailed plans, specifications and drawings for the construction crews to follow. Smaller projects rely on the professional expertise and experience of the contractor for most of that.
In these situations, the contractor must be able to completely visualize what you see in your head and communicate it back in a way that you know they understand what you expect. Then, they must be able to transfer that finished picture into a real-world product that is aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound.
Along the way they’re going to run into road blocks, especially when structures are opened and upgrades are needed to meet newer building codes; or the underlying framework is rotten or damaged beyond repair or a simple fix. The contractor needs to be able to invent a solution right then and there – or at least have a network of technical experts to consult with to avoid any further delay or costs.
Having an expert technical knowledge of structural engineering, materials, tools and construction ensures that the job will get done with a minimum of cost overruns or delays.
Decksn’Stuff invests a lot of time and effort into understanding the project from all sides during the estimation phase. It will inspect building structures and construction zones prior to you making a commitment ensuring all the research is done to avoid the risk of any surprises occurring. All that said, “things happen” – when they do you will be involved in the conversation if it’s going to affect the working budget or schedule.
Management & Quality Standards
One doesn’t often think of a contractor in terms of management or leadership abilities, but they are running a business and they are responsible for the safety and performance of their employees.
It’s critical that you evaluate your contractor on their ability to lead and manage people and projects – the last thing you want on your property are disgruntled employees building structures on your property.
Decksn’Stuff begins with a core set of principals and values that guides managers and supervisors when hiring employees. All our staff are personally trained by Tim Haney to instill a sense of professionalism and inspire a personal commitment towards craftsmanship and pride in a job well done.
In terms of management, there is always one point of contact for you: Tim Haney, himself – the general contractor. He oversees every job, inspecting every feature and element to ensure that it’s delivered to his high standard of workmanship and overall quality.
Decksn’Stuff builds great relationships with their customers first, second only to the quality of their finished decks and outdoor structures.
Decksn’Stuff is a first-class construction contractor – not because we say so, but because thousands of people who have experienced the care and concern we have for them, their families and their property say so.
There is a difference – and it begins with our ability to listen and hear what it is that you need and what you want.
Call Decksn’Stuff first and find out for yourself just how easy and affordable it can be to extend your leisure and living space beyond your back door.