What to Expect
when working with us

One of my favorite things is COMMUNICATION.

Sometimes it may take me a minute to get back to you, but once I do you'll never feel under-communicated with. Once we start your project YOU are the priority. Please read the sections below as that will be the best way for us to always be on the same page and stay happy with each other.

THE best way for you to feel communicated with is to READ everything on this website! If you do, you will likely never feel surprised by or get angry about anything that happens during the course of our relationship. You are about to spend a lot of money and reading the info provided to you here will help you feel at ease. 

I know it's a lot. But everything in here is because it has come up at one time or another. It really is in your best interest to read it. And furthermore..... don't you WANT a contractor that is willing to tell you everything and answer every question? Everyone does until they have to read something.

Why Haven't We Responded?

If you haven't seen it said anywhere else on this site or our facebook page, it's just me. It's me and 3 installers (and they don't help with anything but the actual deck install). No secretary or office personnel. No answering or scheduling service. Just me.
I have a wife, a dog, 3 grown kids (one of which still in college and living at home) an elderly mother, father and step-mother, an elderly set of in-laws, a couple of siblings, an awesome cousin and a favorite aunt, one or two friends that I never see, neighbors that rely on me for things, and a church family. I don't get to clock out at 5 or 6 like most people. But when I "should be" clocked out, any of the people mentioned above could need me. Believe it or not, many most times they take a backseat to you.

So I'm trying. 

I am blessed that I get emails from people that read this site or have heard about me from others and they know it could take me a while, but they believe me when I say "Send an email and I'll respond when I can". They send the email and quietly wait. Some have waited months. I appreciate that! But anyone can feel free to send the email again just to get my attention and remind me that I need to be finding a spot to take the time to respond. 

But when you do send the email, please remember that I already know what you want. You want to know when I can come meet with you about your project and give you a quote. And the thing is, I may not have that answer right then! This is why I don't answer new phone calls - because I don't have the answer you want when I'm driving or up on a ladder. When I can meet you depends on SO many things. What job we're on at the time and where it's at compared to where you are; what the weather is going to do that week; what doctor's appointment or proceedure my mom has to go to that week; etc.
So the best way to help me have an answer for you faster is for you to give me all the info you can. I mean don't hold back because you'd be surprised at what piece of info will really help me have an answer for you.

Your name, address, phone, email of course. Your ADDRESS is the biggest part of that so I can plan how long it will take me to get there from wherever we're working, or what other appointments I can schedule that same day that will help me make a loop and conserve gas and time. 
But also let me know what you want so I can get a sense of how long the appointment might take or if it is even something we will do or not (ex: We don't do repairs on structures we didn't build). Did someone recommend you to us? Name them. Let me know your timeframe for wanting/needing the work done. This may help me respond faster. Let me know if you are certain you want to use composite decking or if you just want a price on it because you might want it if the price is right. This let's me know how much talking about material I may or may not have to do. All the info helps!

Speaking of price.............
If you have no idea how much decks cost and just want to get an idea so you can save or know to put the project off or not, then just tell me that and I will give you a very close ballpark price via email. Seriously, it takes up a LOT of time for me to drive across counties and stand around talking and then driving back. And if a pretty close price would do the trick for a while then, by all means, PLEASE let's handle that thru email. You can send me the address, a few pics, and I'll tell you what measurements I need (they don't have to be exact) and I can get back to you real quick with a close ballpark price! 

The easier you make it to get back to you the quicker I'm able to do it.

And when I can finally respond, if we're setting up a time to meet, I'll ask you what are the best days and times you have available and I'll try to work my schedule around that. I'll go ahead and tell you that with all the people that need me in the afternoons/evenings, not to mention that's when our jobsite is wrapping up for the day and that client may need my attention, it is REALLY hard for me to do appointments past 4pm. If there is any way for you to come home for work on your lunch break, that works better for me than evenings. My best times are always mornings. If I need to I can try to be there early enough for us to be done and you still get to work in time, or maybe you could be a little late? But I'll work with your schedule as best I can and we'll set something up!

The Initial Appointment

Once we set up the date & time, I'll be doing my best to be right on time! If I'm running late I'll call or text. If I can be early and I think you're already home, I may call or text to see if it's ok if I'm early. But I personally can't stand it when someone sets up a specific time to meet me at my house and then they're early (or late) and didn't notify me! I'm busy and trying to get as much done as possible and being early could mess me up. I may have had to go to the bathroom and can't answer the door early, or I may not have the dog put up yet. So I think if people set a specific time to meet then they should drive around the block or stop at the park so they can pull up right when they said. That's what I try to do!

And I think we're up to 3 times now in 27 years that I forgot to write the appointment down and I completely missed it. Again, human.

When I get there, I love your dog if your dog is nice. If he/she is, I'd love to get to pet them and you don't have to feel like you need to put them up. However, I do have the tendency to pet or play with dogs too much and forget to take notes. But I'd rather get to pet them than not.
If they are not nice, it will go much better if you get them put up before I even approach the door and there's no chance they could slip past you. I defend myself and I'd hate to do that to your dog right in front of you.

But stuff no other business people put on their websites aside........ (sorry, I'm real).......

I am happy to go around back and not come through the house. I'll follow your lead on this, but it doesn't hurt my feelings to walk around. I don't bring shoe covers with me, and on rare occasions my shoes could have dirt in the treads.

I'll want you to show me what you want done and tell me all your goals or wishes for the new structure. I'm happy to just listen and take notes, or to give my input as we go along if there are parts you aren't sure of yet. And either way, if I see/hear something that I know won't work or could be a problem I'll go ahead and discuss it. I'll also get as many measurements and pictures of the house/yard/trees/landscaping/etc. as I think I'll need.

I'm happy to answer any questions while I'm there and to take as much time as you need to visit about the project (and to pet dogs as much as you'll let me). Alternatively, if you are in a hurry I can take notes as you talk and then let you go while I get measurements and take pics of the site. I'll then go back to my desk to draw your plan and figure your quote as soon as I'm able. Sometimes I'll have bids to do before yours from appointments before yours, and sometimes I'll have to be at the jobsite more than I'd like and it could take me some days to get something back to you. Hopefully we've already talked about how far our work schedule is booked out and so you know we have plenty of time for design anyway.

The Design Phase

This is the most important part of the process. Which means this is the part YOU need to pay the most attention to!

After the initial appointment, I go back to my desk and draw, to-scale, what we talked about. I essentially build the deck as I draw it so that I can be sure it will actually build in real life and that features and materials will actually work. This can sometimes be time consuming. After the drawing, I price it all out for you. I try to separate things that can be "options" and give you itemized prices for those things. If you wanted a price for composite decking, I give you the all-pine price first and then show what it would add if you used whatever composite brand/series we are looking at. Then I email the drawing to you with a description of what I've drawn and include all the pricing. 

It is then up to you to review the design and the pricing and let me know if you would like to see any changes to the design or of you have any questions at all. I am NOT afraid of questions, so please don't be afraid to ask them! THS IS THE TIME TO COMMUNICATE!

If you love everything then we put you on the schedule! If you want to see some changes, then I work on those, reprice it all, and get it back to you as quickly as I can. We do this as many times as it takes until you love it and then we put you on the schedule.
NOTE: As mentioned other places in this website, see what other local contractor is willing to invest this much of their time & energy into YOU for free. This is not a quick process for me like it is for a guy giving a roof quote. I spend many hours on you before site work ever starts!  And I do this in good faith and in the hopes that you are operating in good faith as well and that it results in you investing in yourself by recognizing who is willing to do this much for you when others won't.

Another word about the importance of communication and being on the same page:
When I send you design emails, they will have drawings included as "attachments", they will have paragraphs of descriptions to read, and they will have links to pages on this site or other sites that show you what certain things look like or more information on things.

IF YOU ARE UNWILLING TO OPEN ATTACHEMENTS to see what we're proposing, unwilling to READ DESCRIPTIONS to make sure we're on the same page about things, or unwilling to CLICK LINKS to see what we're trying to show you, then YOU NEED TO TELL ME THAT YOU ARE UNWILLING TO DO THESE THINGS so that I can come show you the stuff in person or make some other adjustment to our communication. 

I am not a mind reader. If your work computer won't let you click links, or if you have a policy about not opening attachments or you simply never check your email.......... YOU HAVE TO TELL ME so I can make sure, in some other way, that we are on the same page BEFORE the contract is signed and the work starts. You likely contacted me via email and got my response to "when we could meet" via email. So that means you know I like to stick to email so everything is in writing (to protect YOU) and therefore that let's you know that while you're working with me you will need to check your email more often than you normally do. And it should let you know that after nearly 30 years in business it is safe to open any attachments or links I send you.

Read this nightmare story and see if you want this to happen to you (because I don't !):
*It's long. The short of it is that a lady didn't communicate to me that she was not reading all of the things I was sending her and at the end of the project she cried because she wasn't getting what she thought she was.

A lady emailed me asking to meet for a quote. I replied and we set it up. I met her at the house where she showed me where she wanted a deck and told me what size & features she wanted. I took all notes and measurements and went back to my desk to draw it up. When finished I sent the drawing, description and pricing to her in a fresh email with new subject line ("Custom Deckworks - Plan 1" ...same one I use for all emails like that). She responded back, said she and her husband looked at everything and loved it like it was, and wanted to know what to do next. Simple, right?

I told her she was on the schedule and the start date was about 5 months away and that she didn't have to do anything until about a week before we start where we'll sign the contract. About a month later she asks what it would cost to use composite decking. This is all fine with me since we have plenty of time for design changes. I give her the prices (which, like my orginal email, includes links to the products) and she responds right back (via email) saying that it's more than they'd want to spend and to stick with the original all-pine quote.

A month later I update her on our schedule as we progessed along. Another month later I update her again. All via email and all because I believe in communication!

When I emailed her to let her know we were just over 2 weeks from being able to start the work, she throws a re-design at me. She had months to do this but she waited until I contacted her to tell her we were about to start. But that's ok.
However, in her emailed request for changes, she used all the wrong words for things. She had all my other emails where I described things with the right words, not to mention links directly to the part of our website that tells the names for EVERYTHING. 

She said, "I have found a picture of a deck that I want for the perimeter instead of the typical small posts that usually is on a deck I will send a picture with this email."

So as you can see by how I type (communicate in writing), I was already up against fragmented sentences and no punctuation that I had to decipher. But I also fairly assumed that when she said "perimeter" (which could have been so many things) she was talking about the posts - and the size of them - because she said "posts".
Did you read her message like I did? That she didn't want the posts around the perimeter of the deck to be small? And the picture she sent was of a deck from the internet that had larger posts (6x6's instead of 4x4's). 

Now, the railing in that picture was different than Our Standard Railing (which "Our Standard Railing" was capitalized just like that and linked to pictures and descriptions every time I wrote it in any email to her), but I didn't pay any attention to the rail being different because 1) many rails on the vast internet ARE different than our standard railing offering, and 2) she said she wanted larger POSTS..... right?

What should I do to be SURE we're on the same page? .........COMMUNICATE and ask questions!

So I did! I sent an email where I said the word "posts" and explained the differences in 4x4's and 6x6's and even re-drew the scale drawing to SHOW what I've changed per her request - which was LARGER POSTS!   And I even reiterated that Our Standard Railing would go between 6x6 posts instead of 4x4's, but that there could still be some 4x4's under the deck supporting some beams where they would not be seen.

I then even went on to ask if she wanted those posts taller than the railing and if she wanted post caps on them - explaining that they have lighted or un-lighted caps. And links to all the standard stores to show the post caps they have available. All of these things would have caught the miscommunication IF SHE JUST WOULD'VE READ any of the things I took the time to put in writing for her!

Or if,at the least, she would've told me she wasn't going to read anything! Because then I woud have simply come to show her in person.

But she didn't. She simply emailed back saying she was "lost on the post caps" and "thought the perimeter railings would be flat no posts exposed." So when we met for the contract I explained in person that, again, the posts would all be the larger 6x6 posts like she was asking for and that the top cap of the railing would go across the tops of the posts so that no posts would stick up and need caps. She said that was fine and what she wanted, And then she read (maybe not?) and signed the contract. So we built it.

She was home during the build recovering from a foot surgery. She even mentioned being bored and having nothing to do but watch the deck be built. On the last day she waited for the railing to be 90% complete before she came outside to tell my guys that's not the rail she wanted. She was very rude and cruel to them, badmouthing their work and the style of railing they were building for her. She didn't call me to tell me there was an issue - my Foreman did. He told me she wanted the rail between posts to be "X" style instead of filled with verticle balusters. Or, as he said, her words were "I don't like those stupid effing skinny dumb*ss posts every few inches apart that only an idiot would want" (I guess that includes many of you who choose Our Standard Railing)

So I went through the emails to see if I missed something and I couldn't see what I missed. I saw where she and I both said posts and now I knew she was calling the balusters (or spindles or pickets) posts. Even when I said they'd be 6"x6" and could have caps (and sent links to solar lighted caps!) she still never caught it; only confirmed what I wrote. Balusters would never have caps or stick up past the top cap of the railing LOL!
Why didn't she catch it ANY of these times???

Here's why:
When I got over there to show her the misunderstanding and all the emails, and the contract, where I mentioned in writing what style the rail would be.... When I showed her that I could not have possibly done any more than I did to be sure we were on the same page and that the ball was dropped on her end, I asked her if she didn't read the contract or any of the emails. She said she thought she read enough.

So I told her that we're happy to make changes and how much it would cost, since it wasn't our mistake, for us to back up and do an entirely different style of rail (which would take new materials). She screamed that the price was ridiculous and she couldn't believe I was not going to just take a loss (not to mention the surprise hit to our schedule we'd suffer). When I said I shouldn't have to take the loss for her unwillingness to read, and then mentioned all the links and asked if she clicked any of them, ever. She then cried and screamed that she can't click links on her work computer. I had known her for about 6 months, why was I just now, at the end of the job, hearing that she was not able to click any of the links I was sending her?

Turns out the tears were just an act. She knew that she should have read things in full and should have told me that she coudn't click any links and given me the chance to make sure we were on the same page in another way. She briefly cried because she was mad at herself, but then the tears quickly dried and the venom came out again. She made sure to tell me how much she hated me and how lazy my crew was. Never did she say a kind word about the quality work the guys were taking their time to perform for her on any other part of the deck. 

She was being so vile towards us that she refused to let us finish putting the last 20 balusters in the rail so that at least she'd have a finished rail. I had no choice but to get her to sign a paper saying that we deserved to be paid in full since we were attempting to finish what we were contracted for and that SHE stopped us short due to her failure to communicate with us. She knows it was all on her, and that I did everything possible, and more, because she signed that sheet w/o a fuss and paid us in full.

But I DO feel bad that she didn't really get the rail she wanted. 
My goal is to build you what YOU want and for us to have a fun, harmonious relationship!
It does absolutely zero for me if you are not 100% happy when we leave.

But YOU have to let me know if you can't read, if you refuse to read and want it recited to you, if you can't or won't click links or open attachments so I can bring things to show you in person, if you aren't going to read the entire contract so I can read it to you. If you aren't positive you are using the right word for something then just ask me! If you say "stairs" but you mean "roof" then I'm going to be thinking you mean stairs!

So let this story be a reminder that I will go to whatever lengths I need to to make sure we are both on the same page BEFORE it's too late. But that I will NOT be going to all the great lengths I go to (like spending hours typing!) in an effort to communicate and then taking a loss when YOU refuse to communicate. I will own my failures and mistakes and I'll need you to own yours.

Communcation is what will keep everything friendly!
You can't just assume "it's a deck" and therefore not as big a deal as a "real project". It's YOUR money that will be wasted when you fail to communicate and you may have to live with looking at a deck you hate because you didn't speak up.

The Schedule

We stay booked many months out. Typically between 3 and 6 months. It is very important for everyone to understand HOW our schedule works and what happens if someone cancels or postpones their project.

After the final design is approved, we place people on the schedule in the order that they give us the go-ahead. This may not be the order in which they initially contacted us. So when we initially meet and I tell you how far we're booked out at that moment, we can become booked even further out by the time you & I agree on a design and you give me the go-ahead. At all times there are people somewhere holding designs and making decisions. People that I was working with before you (or even after I met you, but they may make their decision quicker). If I tell you we're booked to "June", for instance, and then 4-5 people get back to me and give me the go-ahead while you & I are designing your deck, then suddenly it might be August or September before we can start your project, depending on weather and the size and scope of each job in front of you.

Like many people, you may have researched or heard enough about us already that you know without a doubt that you are going to use us for your outdoor project. We love that! But in that case, let us know that during our initial meeting and I may go ahead and put you on the schedule to save you a spot while we work together on design. For this to happen:
1) There has to be enough room on the schedule for us to have enough time to come to a final design that YOU are comfortable and confident with. We do NOT need to still be designing while working on your project because it will end up costing YOU more money for the delays and backing up that is inevitable in that situation.
2) If, before we finish the design phase, you have me put you on the schedule just to save you a spot and then you decline to use us due to price or some other standard issue, then that may throw off everyone after you, and their plans, and I may send you a bill for re-scheduling services. This does not include an unforseen emergency that comes up for you. Causing me to re-work a schedule that is months-long takes up a decent amount of time, and time is money (because it causes me or my guys loss), so you may get billed for it. You doing this to us can also cause us to not allow anyone else to save spots anymore - and that is you causing other people to suffer or not get a benefit they otherwise would have, which is not fair. So be a decent human and don't ask to get on the schedule early if you don't know for sure you will use us becasue that could mess up a bunch of innocent people and their plans.

Also, keep in mind that all of our work is outdoors. Rain can stop us and extreme heat can slow us way down. When I say "we are booked 3 months out", for instance, one of the things I can't forsee in advance that could push that to 3½ or 4 months is weather delays.
Another factor out of our control, to some extent, is customers adding things while we're working on their project. I feel like we have to let people add small things - things that add a day or less to the project - instead of making them get another spot at the end of our schedule. Most people do add a little something and I try to pad the schedule for that and for a little weather. But if someone comes up with an idea while we're working on their project and it will require more than a day or two of our time, I may ask that they let me schedule that in our next empty spot.

If you are planning a vacation or other event around your spot on our schedule, I recommend giving yourself plenty of room! I mean, don't plan anything for 2 weeks before the month we estimated we could start and for the entire month after we estimated we could start. I know that's hard to do in the summer vacation season. But if your plans and our schedule clash, how ever it finally works out when we get to your spot, and you have to cancel or postpone, then we and everyone on the schedule after you are in a problem.
* If you aleady have a vacation (or especially an event AT the project location like a wedding, etc.) then PLEASE tell us that in the very first email you send us. And repeat it when we meet and again when you reply to me after receiving my drawing & quote. We will never again let someone get us into a situation where we are rushing around killing ourselves. If we don't feel confident that you've contacted us in enough time for us to get to you on the schedule and get the project completed with days (if not weeks) to spare, then we may decline to schedule you before the event and you may need to find another contractor. 

Additionally, if you ADD an event to your life so close to your spot on our schedule and, when all the weather and other jobs get done and we finally see the exact week we will start, it turns out there will be a conflict and you want to postpone us, keep this in mind:
We can't simply be "postponed" by more than about a day. Our crew is paid by the hour and they deserve to be able to get all the hours I can schedule for them. So we can't just "stand down" for a bit. If you create a gap in our schedule by putting us off, we will have to fill that gap with something. That something most times can NOT be one of the jobs after yours because they, too, planned their life around when we scheduled their project. So we will try to fill that gap with a new job (someone will hit the jackpot and not have to wait 6 months!). But then that either still throws off all the other jobs if we still do your before them, or it makes you get at the back of the line.

We may be able to look at the situation and see if all the jobs after you could be moved up, or if one job can jump ahead and fill the gap (and we'll worry about filling their original spot later) so that no one's vacations or other plans are ruined by the change in schedule. But as many people as there usually are after any given job (3-6 months worth), the odds of this working out are slim to none. So please never assume that you moving yourself around on our schedule won't affect other people, because odds are it will. And the reality is that you will have to take the next open spot - which will be at the current end our our schedule (which could be 3-6 months away).

If you have an emergency - something unforseen that has to come before the deck - then we will certainly look at the schedule and maybe call a few of the folks after you to see if there is a way to get you back in so you don't have to wait ALL the way to the next actual empty spot. We understand, things happen. But we can't ask the 4-12 people after you to also understand and have the expectations they've had for months and planned their life around to be shattered over it. Sometimes we just get dealt a bad hand. And if you have an emergency that puts us off and we can't do your project during the slot reserved for you and you have to wait for possibly many more months by reserving our next open spot, then there must be a reason for it.

Bottom line: 
Your spot on the schedule is right after the job before yours. No matter what I ever said (estimated) about when we should start your job, we can't start until we're done with the project before yours. Since I'm human and doing all of this with no design team or office staff, I could misspeak and give you a wrong estimate of when your project will start. But I physically write everyone's name on a list IN ORDER of where they got on the schedule. And if I misspeak one time and accidentally give you the impression your job will start any time before the jobs before yours are complete, then you'll need to accept my apology for that and either stay on the schedule where you actually are or cancel on us. And no matter what happens in anyones' life, when the job before yours is finished we WILL need to start yours. 
This written schedule is on the honor system. You have to trust I'm not putting people ahead of you after I've put you on the schedule. I've shown some concerned folks my written schedule, but that doesn't prove anything - a slimball could show you a fake one. And if you think I'm a slimeball and think I have time or motive to run around lying, then don't ask to be on my scheedule at all. Before we sign a contract with each other I don't technically have to ever work for you - no matter what we discussed in emails. And you don't have to honor your verbal promise to use us - you can back out. But even after the contract is signed, we can't and won't start your project until the job before yours is completed. Please consider that communication right there (previous sentence) as a part of your contract (because it is).

If your project has composite and we sign your contract and order the composite way in advance (to save YOU from a price increase), then the start date on your contract will likely just mention (list the name of) a month that work should start in (because we are doing the contract months in advance instead of a week in advance like normal). If it says we hope to start "in June", for instance, then:
1) We will shoot to get the job before yours done and get started on yours on any day in the month of June (or whatever month your contract states), but due to what was explained above (weather and people adding things), it could actually push in to the next month (or MORE!).
2) It WILL be AFTER the job that has always been before yours on the schedule. It can't be before - even if it pushes it out of the month your contract is "hoping for". And it must be RIGHT after, no matter what comes up in your life, or I'll have to give that spot to someone else and reschedule you for our next open spot (which could be months away).

Under normal circumstances where we sign the contract a week or so before we start, if you cancel or postpone us any time before we sign, then there's nothing we can do about it. We move on. If you do it after we sign, then that is breach of contract and the agreement is null and void. If we have already ordered lumber or actually gotten started with construction, then we will have to find equitable and logical resolution (pay us for what we've done, etc.). And that can be done easily between reasonable parties.

But if the contract was signed months before the start date, due to getting composite ordered, and you cancel or postpone before we've started or received the 1st check for the treated framing (1st 50% of The Remainder) - if you won't pay the draw or won't let us start on time - then you have breached the contract then as well. At that point you have only paid for the composite. And as long as you receive it, then that phase of the contract was fullfilled and the 2nd phase (ordering the treated framing and getting started) is simply cancelled and was nullified by you before it started. We will not freak and get litigious over this; we may simply offer to reschedule you in our next open spot and we'll move on. If there is some unforseen issue that arrises (or one of us simply declines to work with the other any further for any reason), then as long as the materials ordered in the 1st phase of the contract are delivered in good condition, neither of us have to be forced to continue onto Phase 2 of the contract. As long as it's before money changes hands for the treated lumber of the 2nd phase, and especially if one party breached by missing the deadline to pay the 1st draw of The Remainder, then simply ordering composite decking through us does not mean we are forced to do any further work together. 

No matter how the contract with limited room on one sheet of paper is worded, All contracts with Special Order materials (like composite decking) are TWO PHASE and phase one can be completed without phase two being forced on either party (unless money for phase two has already changed hands).

All of these common sense policies are how things should work to best protect all people on our schedule. And it all is so common that most people don't have to read all of this. But over the years we run across a person from time to time that doesn't understand how some things work. In a free-market society you don't get to dictate when your booked airline flight leaves, when the Razorback game starts, when a store you don't own will be opened or closed, and sadly, you can't just decide when we will build your deck. We have to do it according to a fair schedule that works for everyone involved. You certainly can't schedule it with us and then change it around, back & forth, to whatever works for you on a given day - because it affects a lot of people besides you.

The Work Phase

If you have an old deck that we will have to remove, the furniture and personal items on and around the deck will need to be removed. This includes anything attached to the deck. It is best if you can remove everything so we won't risk being the ones to damage or lose anything. But we are happy to help and be the ones to remove any of the items or fixtures as long as you tell us where to put them and as long as we aren't held responsible for anything that is damaged or lost. If there are any electrical, gas or water lines attached to the deck, you may need to have the proper service tech come detatch them. In some cases we may be able to detatch or disconnect them. But we will not be responsible for reattaching or reconnecting them. We are not plumbers or electricians. If we can disconnect or remove something then we will do it at no cost to you. But you will be responsible for having it reinstalled or reconnected at your expense. We are happy to move furniture back on to the new deck when it's completed but you will need to be the one to get everything in its exact positions as well as re-hanging any lighting (not including lighting installed in our contract), decorations, windchimes, bird feeders, etc.

After the old deck is gone, we typically start with repairing or flashing any parts of the house where the new deck will attach. We then build the outline of the new frame so we know exactly where to dig our post holes. We set our posts down in the holes on a rock or block and mix concrete to fill the holes around the posts. Since there is no load on the concrete, there is no need for us to wait for it to set before proceeding with the rest of the framing. 

....I have more to add before this weather statement. But since I thought of it while writing the Scheduling statement, here it is:

If the temperature is decent then we might work in a slight drizzle. We can also work in the snow. But actual rain is a no-go. Ice is a no-go if we can't get there to work or if we weren't able to cover the lumber and the ice is too thick to remove so we can continue.
Sometimes it may rain in the morning but stop by lunch or so. After the rain stops, if there is enough time for us to get there, be productive, and make it worth the gas money to get there, then we will come to work when the rain stops. But every job is different and located a different distance from our homes and so, even though you may think we could be there working after the rain has stopped, for us it may be too far away to make it worth the couple of hours we'd get in - or we may have decided to go help our old moms with something while it was raining and we could be tied up doing that (and our moms are important).

Back to what I was saying......
We may build any part of the deck differently than what you saw on some tv show, in a how-to book, or according to how your neighbor or brother-in-law thinks it should be done. Please don't let this alarm you. We are professionals and are THE ones in Arkansas currently still alive that have been building decks longer than anyone else currently alive in Arkansas. This isn't a "claim", it's a fact. And the reason you hired us is because we know what we're doing and you recognize that it's the best use of your money.

Posts may be left long overnight. Flooring may be left hanging unevenly over the end of the deck overnight. Things will look better the next day. We got this. But..... if you ever do see something you think we're forgetting to do or include, or if you happen to see anything out of square or out of level (those two would be extremely rare or have a valid reason) then please bring it to my attention. We are human and could get in a hurry and miss something. Not that you have to be the one to catch it, but if you happen to, we'd really appreciate knowing about it sooner than later.
And, if you understood the drawing and know what all you're hiring us to do, you can usually tell if we're on the day we should finish everything. But I'll likely be sending you an email or text to inform you of when we expect to be completed and cleaned up so that you can be preparing to look everything over with me and settle up (final check). Again, please don't wait until we are all done and have all the tools packed up in the van to tell us we forgot to add a built-in table or some other feature/task we agreed to do. Yes, it is probably written on the Plan and they guys should know it has to be done. But we can all get in the zone, thinking we've looked at the plan enough, and forget an item. And I'd rather you remind me the day before or the morning of the last day (or as soon as you wonder about it) than after we get everything cleaned up and all the tools loaded up.

We only need power and a water faucet. We don't need to come in your house and we prefer that you keep everything locked. If there is a need for access, I'll work that out with you and we'll plan for it. But none of my guys will be asking to come in for any reason. If a breaker gets tripped and we lose power, the Foreman may knock on the door and ask for it to be reset if it's inside (if they are outside he will just reset it). And if you aren't confident about how to reset an outlet or breaker, the Foreman may offer to come in and do it for you, but you don't have to let him. You can call me if that's better for you.

Sometimes our tools might trip a breaker and it may happen a lot, over & over. Some people get frustrated when we keep knocking on the door to ask for it to be reset. But I can assure you it's not our fault or our tools. It may not happen to you when you have a grill, radio, or electric blower plugged up. Our tools are commercial grade, high-amp-drawing tools and sometimes there are 3 or 4 of us using separate tools at once - and then the air compressor kicks on and your circuit can't handle all of that. Home builders and building codes must think it's exremely rare for people to get outdoor construction done so they don't go to the trouble or expense to put the outdoor outlets on their own circuit sometimes, much less make sure that circuit can handle more amps. The more other rooms of the house are on that circuit, the more likely we are to trip the breaker.
Tip: If you are building a new house, demand that the builder give you two separate outdoor outlet circuits (with no other outlets in those circuits) and that they can handle high amp-draw. That way a construction crew could spread their tools out over those two separate circuits and never have to bother anyone to reset a breaker.

Daily Schedule:
*I may have also mentioned this somewhere else on this website*

We try to arrive at 8am every morning unless it's the hottest part of the year. During those months we may ask if you mind us starting at 7:30, 7am, or even 6:30 if it's really hot. 

We usually take lunch at 11am. We may all go somewhere or we may bring our lunch and eat in your yard or in our trucks. Lunch is 30 min, but one benefit I try to have for the guys is that I'm not Hitler and I'm not going to throw a fit if lunch drags out to 45 min (or more when we go to our Friday lunch). A happy crew produces better quality work.

We may leave for the day any time from 3pm on. It is rare that we stay past 4:30 (unless we are trying to finish or something).
The Foreman may leave early and leave the other guys there after lining them out with enough stuff we know they can do unsupervised. If this bothers you or you look out and see too much clowning after I or the Forman leaves, then feel free to call me to let me know. We instill in all our guys how important it is to be professional and repsectful of your homes, but we want everyone to have fun too and sometimes the goofiness could get on overload. We will never leave anyone at your home that we don't fully trust at our own homes (we won't even bring anyone like that!)

I may not even show up every day or I may leave right after I drop off materials or help the Foreman work something out. You are the priority while your job is in progress, but I will go to appointments and try to get plans drawn at my desk if everything is running smoothly at your jobsite. If I don't have to be there helping in some way, then I really need to be getting other stuff done so that we have other jobs to go to w/o missing a beat. But if you need me and I'm not there, don't hesitate to call or text.

You are the ultimate boss of a project at your house. But I am the manager of my team, our time, our tools, our proceedures and techniques, and our schedule. If you know in advance that there is anything that could cause a conflict with this, please let me know before we sign a contract. If something comes up after we start, please tell me and we'll see what it is and if there is any adjustment we need to make or not. Yes we are on your property, but within reason I need to be able to run my company the way I run it. Knowing this information now and having it available to you before you sign a contract means that you could be in breach of that contract if you try to insert yourself between me and the operation of my company after work has started. This paragraph, like a few others in this website, will not need to be read or worried about by 99.9% of the people we are blessed to work for as it doesn't apply to them. If it applies to you, you probably already know it. And in that case I'd appreciate it if you'd tell me so we can get that worked out up front.

Completing The Work

The work is complete when we have done everything the contract says we are to do and when we have everything cleaned up. Due to the fact that our pricing is as low as we can get it for you, we function job-to-job. This means that we need your final payment to be able to move on to the next job. We aren't able to send invoices and wait 30 days (or any days). We don't have accounts with local suppliers (on purpose and to protect you from liens, for one) so your first and/or second payment are already spent on your lumber and some payroll. We need your final payment to meet the rest of the payroll from your project and to have money to even move on to the next job.

So...... as mentioned in the section above, you should be able to see for yourself when we are about to wrap it up. But either way, I'll be informing you of our expected finish time. And I really need you to try to be available to be there and look the project over with me to make sure you're satisfied, and to take care of the final payment. There are a few times when things are going well and I can afford to come back and meet with you later that day or the next day. But most of the time I really need to be able to handle it all while I'm already there helping clean up and load up. Most of the time I know that to be able to get the guys going on the next job I'll be hopping & jumping - often times in another town far from your house - and it can be a serious burden for me to try to figure out how to leave things and come all the way back to meet with you on another day. 

I know many of you have to work and can't come home until the end of the work day. If you can, please let me know in advance of our completion so I can try to plan for that. 

If there is anything you have added or requested that was not a part of the original contract, I will have likely told you when or if we can get to it. But it could boil down to the fact that we need to get paid and go when the contract is complete and I'll have to come back for the additional work as soon as possible. If we can do it while we're at it and add that money to the final draw, then yes, that would be best. But it's not always possible.

After Completion

After the work is complete and we have been paid, if you have any trouble with anything whatsoever then please do not hesitate to let me know ASAP. If it's something covered by our warranty we will get it handled. Just you calling/emailing about it before the warranty period is up means you got it in in time and we'll take care of you even if we can't get to it until after the warranty is up. 

If it's not something covered by the warranty, or your warranty period is up, try to take care of it yourself if you can. A pine board is starting to come up? Put a 3" screw in it with a cordless drill before it gets so bad it won't go back down. 
If you can't then please let me know and I'll do my best to take care of you - no matter how many years down the line.

But as you'll see when you sign the contract, we have learned from being abused by one or two rare people over the years. And so there are things that you will be required to be responsible for if you chose a certain material or if your warranty period is up. We want to take care of everyone for years, if possible. But we can't get stuck in an endless circle of being called back out every few days to patty-cake some awful material/lumber you chose to use on your deck. We don't make the lumber. If we feel abused we will stick to what we all signed. If we don't feel abused then we will go out of our way to help you.

If you got a pine deck you need to read the section on Staining & Sealing since we don't include that in any of our contracts.

I know everyone says that if you aren't happy to let them know before you leave a review somewhere. And that's because they want the chance to make it right (as they should) before you go leave them a bad review that will never be able to be overcome unless YOU go back and delete it.

But seriously.... you are paying big money to get something built in your yard and the easiest time to fix anything that needs to be addressed is while we're still there with all our tools. Sure, you may not see something until later, and that's understandable. But since I'm here telling you that we WILL honor our contract and make things right (or come to a new adjusted agreement with you), please ask yourself if your goal is to ruin us or to have the issue fixed before you leave a review somewhere.

Because, as I said, a bad review does way more damage for years and years than a board that forgot to be nailed down or than trash accidentally left in a yard. We are not out to take your money and run by doing a fast & crappy job. We care enough to take the time to work with you for months on design and then to build at a speed that shows we are trying to leave you with the best deck possible. And for that, I'd hope you would show the same kindness and not leave a bad review for something that can be easily resolved. Even if you think It's taking me too long to respond - I may not have even been able to read the email yet so please don't think I'm avoiding responding because I hope you'll just give up. WE are not every other contractor you've dealt with our heard of. If you leave a bad review then that proves your goal is to ruin us and do us harm - even after you watched us care about you every day while we built.

Because, there is no need to leave a bad review when we WILL take care of everything we are supposed to take care of. Just let us know of ANY issue before you leave a review. And to add to that.... if your goal really is to get me to do something for you (fix something, call you back, etc.) then leaving a bad review is the exact opposite way to get that done. I will not respond how other weak business owners respond to threats and blackmail. You may actually be quite shocked at how it actually turns out. So instead of trying to get my attention that way, just email again, and again if you have to, and you will eventually get the result you want.

Now, that being said..... you don't have to leave us a good review - even if you love what we've done. 
We'd love it if you did! But that certainly isn't part of the deal and I'll never pressure anyone about it (or probably even mention it).
If you do want to leave us a positive review anywhere, please don't put any personal or identifying information in the review. And I don't mean about us, I mean about you or your property. Just think, as one example, if we didn't get a permit (there are tons of valid reasons YOU would ask us not to) then it would be harmful to all involved if you included the area (much less the address), the date the work was done, your last names, or any zoomed-out photos where your house could be indentified. Another reason is it can let other contractors know (approximately) how much money you spent. And when and if you need to hire another one, that could give them a sense of just how much to overcharge you. Or it could show burgulars the great new access to your back doors! Less info is better!

No need to write a novel; longer isn't better. Photos of just the deck are fine and saying that we did a good job or that you liked us/our work and whether others should hire us is plenty good. That is helpful to us. But too much info could be harmful to us and to you.

And please never mention how much you paid for the work we did for you! If you do and you do it in an effort to see if that was a fair price or not, then it's too late anyway and you'll feel like a fool. And sure, that will turn it into a bad review for us because it will make it seem like we overcharge all because some fool, or our competition, commented on your review and made you think you got a bad deal. 
The real liklihood is that you'd be mentioning the price thinking you're helping others know what to expect. Well..... you're not. It's actually harmful to us and to them because this isn't roofing or car sales - it Custom Deck Building and everything is different for everyone. Just because someone might want a deck just like yours and think all factors are the same, there will be enough differences that their price could be wildly different than yours. One of those factors is that lumber is a commodity and its price can change dramatically between when we built yours and theirs. So please save everyone the headache and never mention what you paid for ANY custom item you buy.

But if you do want to leave a nice review on Google or somewhere where you click the 5 stars and say a few nice words, then we certainly appreciate it! (but please don't feel obligated) The G+ under "Follow Us" just below will take you there. 

Thanks for your understanding of all these rants & raves and we look forward to working with you and having a great time building you something wonderful!