Is your deck contractor a fraud? This expert weighs in

With the warm weather on its way, homeowners are moving their renovation projects outside. The first item on the list: a brand new deck. Frank McGillan of Decks R Us Inc., a company that specializes in deck designing and building, spoke to us about why he joined the business and how to spot seedy deck contractors. He gets calls from clients who’ve been stood up by the bad guys!

The Design Process

Frank is no stranger to the construction business. Decks R Us Inc. is a division of The FranMac Group Inc., a company that provides kitchen, bathroom and basement renovations.

The process begins when Frank visits a client’s home to see the space and asks a series of questions.

“Are you going to spend a lot of time out there? Are you going to have a lot of BBQs and family members over?” he asks. Frank thrives on the creativity of deck designing, adding that he likes to create division on the deck, including separate spaces for the BBQ or outdoor kitchen and seating areas.

“We like to set it up so you know you’re in a different room every time you’re on that deck,” he says.

Frank then provides a set of drawings to his client. The first is a permit drawing that is included in the price of the deck. The design drawing comes at an additional cost because of the time it takes to create.

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The Materials

Frank will offer his recommendations for deck materials based on the client’s needs and budget. For a maintenance-free deck, he recommends tigerwood – a durable Brazilian hardwood that’s built to last and keep its value.

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Fraud Concerns – Frank’s Advice

At this point in the decking season, Frank has already spoken to 15 customers who’ve told him they hired a contractor, given them a deposit and they’ve disappeared.

Frank says some contractors will take advantage of homeowners by offering a very low price for the project, request a deposit and never return to finish the deck.

In terms of cost, Frank says if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. He suggests that homeowners should expect to spend at least $10,000 on a decking project.

“That’s an average and that can go up depending on materials, size and deck design.”

If the project is under that price, a client shouldn’t have to provide a deposit, he says. A reputable company should be able to fund the project without an advance.

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If you’re in the process of hiring a decking contractor, here’s Frank’s advice:

  1. Do some research on the person you’re looking to hire. “Get his full name, Google his company and his name. Find information about the person. If he’s trying to hide from you, you’re not going to find anything on him.
  2. Take down his personal information or write down his driver’s license information. “Have some sort of identification before you give him a cheque.”

It’s necessary to undertake said precautions, for if you hand a decking contractor a deposit cheque, you’ll have their information and know where to find them.

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Ready to get a deck built to complete your backyard oasis? Contact Decks R Us to get Frank’s insight into transforming your backyard with a durable and long-lasting patio.

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