From the time we started this deck building business, the core has always been to deliver a high-quality product. This means both the process of building it, as well as the finished product (deck or outdoor space). Over the 20+ years that we’ve been in business, we’ve also kept our eye on continuing to find and build better products, ways of building more effectively/efficiently…all leading to (hopefully) more referrals. But the core, the foundation of our work, has always been customer service. This includes listening to customers, educating them (sometimes they don’t know what’s possible and in those circumstances it’s our job to set the right expectations), and following through to completion.
But as I look over the providers in our area, I don’t see that generally. Why do I say that? Because it’s not uncommon for us to get phone calls from disgruntled customers unhappy with their deck builder. In a few cases, it’s been customers who came to me for an estimate early on but went with someone else over pricing. Underpricing (and I mean “under” as opposed to “fair” not “over”) is a problem. But no matter where the pricing is, without good customer service today, along with homeowners having more information and higher expectations, the relationship can go south quickly. I hear stories of contractors taking days off that turn into weeks…to the point where the homeowners have to regularly call them to work on the project. I hear other stories of unprofessional speech and behavior. I heard of another story recently where the contractor got final payment, the customer found an issue, then the contractor wouldn’t come back to fix (without more money…the item in question was certainly part of the original project). When push came to shove in that situation, the contractor had no problem with a bad referral. I believe that in his mind, money in hand counts more than reputation. That’s disappointing.
I too am a homeowner. And yes, price matters to me as well. I guess because I’m in this business I’m more in tune with the value part and developing a relationship when possible. My advice is to make sure you consider all aspects before you move forward with an outdoor space project.