Written by: Sandy Barth – Outdoor Room Marketing Consultant
Updating your home’s look with exterior design and decks can be a real challenge. You want to make sure it will enhance your existing architecture. And finding just the right metro Atlanta residential remodeler who specializes in exterior design and decks, understands your thoughts, offers good suggestions and completes the project on time and on budget is critical. Do your homework. Find out what your ROI (return on investment) will be. For example, installing new siding will return approx. 92.8% (according to Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value report).
For homeowners interested in using exterior design and decks to redesign their backyard, choosing an experienced, credentialed professional is the first and biggest challenge they will face, according to Dave Tibbetts, president of Atlanta Deck and Fence Co., based in Cumming and one of the fastest growing outdoor room designers in the southeast.
“Using an exterior designer opens a whole new world—because he or she can actually create a ‘wow’ factor beyond any homeowner’s imagination,” Tibbetts says. “Since this is a sizable investment that will dramatically impact your home you may have to do some homework to find the best person for your project.”
Controlled chaos usually surrounds the average contractor. Many of these individuals operate as the craftsperson, the receptionist, the bookkeeper, the delivery person, etc. – and often at the same time. Cell phones further cause deception as they allow he or she to multi-task and get distracted from the work at hand. If there is a problem at some other location there’s a good chance you’ll get stood up.
Yet if you do your homework, you will find an exterior design and deck specialist who cares about your project, takes pride in his/her work, and has the accountability of a skilled businessperson. Tibbetts offers these tips when selecting a contractor:
- Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to exterior design and decks. Instead of taking the time to interview the contractor, actually view their work and interview one of their customers. Ask for a customer reference that is at least three months old. A true measure of a service -oriented professional is someone who addresses the customer’s concerns after the fact.
- Show me the proof. Asking if the professional has insurance is not enough. Make sure the company has workers’ compensation, to prevent any liability on the homeowner’s part. To insure the insurance exists and is valid, don’t just accept a piece of paper. Request that the contractor’s insurance company send you documentation as proof.
- Be a detective. After your first meeting with the professional is completed, do a character check by walking him out to his truck. Is it relatively clean and organized? Does he have local license plates? Is the vehicle in good condition? Are the tools in professional order? If there is an oil leak in your driveway, you know this person is not the right fit.
- It’s all in the details. Contracts for exterior design and decks come in all types and sizes, but an effective contract can be a one-page document. Ideally it should contain clear, crisp language that explains exactly what you are having built, exactly how much the project will cost, and when the job will be done. If the plans and specifications contain all of the details of what you want built, the contract, simply needs to reference them by their date and the number of pages they contain. The contract must also contain language that outlines deadlines covering start and completion dates.
- Ask the right questions. To ensure the professional you selected is dedicated to your project, ask questions. How many jobs is he doing simultaneously? How many crews does he have? Will he be there every day until the project is completed?
- Be frugal with deposits. Do not pay the complete amount in advance. Deposits don’t need to be large. They simply are a way for you to show that you are serious about going through with the project. Ask if it can be held in an escrow or trust account. Also write your check on the first day the contractor arrives and not before, to ensure the crew and proper materials have arrived.
- Check quality of materials. If your project requires wood, you can ensure quality by getting ‘up close and personal.” All wood is stamped with a grade to indicate quality. Make sure it is a premium level of quality.
Talk with a specialist about home exterior design and decks or request a free quote now.