Like an author who writes a great story with a happy ending, our goal on every project is to give our customers a happy ending. As any author will tell you, without research and a writing process, it’s incredibly difficult to write a great story.
We’ve done our research and we have a process in place to ensure that each deck story we write has that fairytale ending we all want. Our process has 9 steps that take you from idea to completed project:
- The Initial Phone Call
- Complimentary Consultation
- One Point of Contact Established
- Design & Follow Up Meetings
- Pre Job Meeting
- Start of Work
- During Work
- After Completion
Let’s create a hypothetical situation. Bob and Jane are looking to replace their aging deck with a new one. They have done their research and are looking for a deck that has a unique design, uses low maintenance materials, and has two separate areas; one for dining, one for enjoying the outdoors. They’ve had a few bad experiences in the past with contractors not living up to their word so they are a little hesitant when looking for a company to work on this project. They’ve found Decked To Perfection through a friend that recommended them and have browsed through the website. Not wanting to go through a hard sell sales pitch on the phone they decide to just fill out the Complimentary Consultation form on the website to see what will happen.
Within two hours of filling out the form, if it was during business hours, somebody from our staff will start the Deck Design & Build Process with Bob and Jane by giving them a phone call to discuss their project. Let’s take a quick look at the steps of the process.
Whether one of our staff members calls back somebody who used the complimentary consultation form on the website or you call us directly this step doesn’t change. This initial phone call usually lasts around 10 minutes as we ask you questions about your planned project so that we can get a good idea of what the project is going to entail. We use an in house Project Discovery sheet to make sure we cover all the questions necessary for us to prepare for our initial meeting. Towards the end of our conversation we will schedule an appointment for us to come out and give you a complimentary consultation.
We do ask for your email address at this time so we can send over some information as well as our What to Expect At Our First Meeting document. This allows you to prepare for the meeting and have an idea as to what questions we’ll need to have answered to come up with your perfect design.
You have a busy life and schedules so we make sure we arrive at our appointed time on time every time.
During this consultation, we will be asking a lot of questions and answering any that you may have. This is the meeting where we learn about your project. We guide you through the process of designing a deck that meets your needs, expectations and budget. Once we have gathered all the information that we need we’ll take measurements of your house and your property so that we can accurately design a deck that suits the landscaping, the architecture of your home and your planned usage.
After this consultation we have enough information to begin the design phase. We take all the information and one of our design experts will create the perfect design for you.
You may be asking what one point of contact actually is? At Decked To Perfection we’ve found that customers don’t want to call the office and have to deal with different people for different things. One point of contact means that you deal with one person at our company from the initial stages of the project through to completion. We’ve found that customers get comfortable with the person they start the project with and we want you to feel that way throughout the process.
On larger projects multiple meetings or follow up appointments may be necessary. We take the information we gathered out our first meeting and come up with a design. Then we present this to you, going over everything in detail, to make sure it fits your vision. All of our designs are rendered in 3D so you can get an actual feel of what it will look like when it is completed.
Once you’ve agreed to the design and are ready to proceed with the project we write up an agreement. This is a detailed agreement that spells out exactly what the project will be, what you can expect from us, and what we expect from you. The most important part of this agreement is that it details all the work that is to be done and any work that is not included. The second thing to note about our agreements is the price of the project. This is a fixed price that will not change after the signing of the agreement, unless you make changes to the project. Why is this important? Let’s say one of our estimators made a mistake when calculating the cost of material and your project should have actually costed $1,000 more than the agreement. We will NEVER come back and ask you for more money in that case. That was our mistake and you had no control over that. On the other hand let’s say you decide that you want to add a water feature to the deck after the agreement has been signed. Well in this case, there is a procedure in place to handle the situation appropriately and the price changes accordingly.
For larger projects, we always have a pre-job meeting with you approximately one week prior to construction beginning and on smaller projects it may be a few days before the start of construction. We make this a mandatory meeting for our customers and we will have your point of contact at the meeting along with the lead carpenter responsible for the job and any of our trade partners that will be working on the project.
We always want to make sure that you are comfortable with the people that are working on your project and this gives you the opportunity to meet them in advance. At this meeting the lead carpenter will go over the plans with you and discuss where material will be stored, work areas, any items that need to be removed prior to work crews arriving and any of the other small details that need to be decided for the project to run smoothly.
This is the day you’ve been looking forward to but have also been anxious about. Power tools are going to start humming, dust is going to be created and you are going to have work crews on your property. We spend a lot of time planning our projects prior to arrival to decrease the amount of time that we are on your property but at the same time, construction rarely happens overnight. It usually takes some time and we work very hard at keeping the interruption of your life to a minimum.
Unlike many construction companies, we do our best to minimize the amount of vehicles we bring to a job site. We do have a trailer that stores all of our tools but we almost always take it with us. We don’t want to block access to your driveway during the time of construction or park it on the street where it can be a safety hazard to other drivers.
Some project are only a couple of days in length and others are a few weeks. We treat each project the same and provide the same level of service. During the construction phase if you have any questions or concerns we ask that you speak either with the lead carpenter on site or call your one point of contact immediately. At the same time, we ask that you not engage in lengthy conversations with our work crews while they are working. This slows down our production and leads to more interruption in your life.
In the case where inspections need to happen we will have somebody on site if necessary for any inspections. This ensures that you are not the middle man. We have experience dealing with inspectors and can answer any questions they may have.
At the end of each and every day our crews make sure that the work area is cleaned up and you still have the use of your property other than work and storage areas. On our larger projects we don’t have all the material delivered at one time as this can be overwhelming for you and increases the area of your property we need for storage. We find it easier to split up the material in smaller deliveries as we need them.
You became a member of our Family of Customers the minute we signed the agreement but you don’t get all the benefits until after the project is completed. This is the day you’ve been looking forward to for some time now. You can now use your new deck and it’s time to throw a party. But before that we want to make sure that we’ve covered all the basis. On the day of full completion your one point of contact will be there to present you with our 5 year workmanship warranty. At this time you will also get a certificate of completion, a guide we have created especially for your deck that discusses how to clean and maintain it, as well as any product warranties.
We will also follow up with you at specific intervals over the next few years to check on how the deck is performing. We want to make sure that you’ve written a deck building story that has a happy ending, that you are proud of, and that you want to tell your friends and family about.
Bob and Jane’s Happy Ending
Bob and Jane now have a beautiful deck built to stand the test of the time. It’s got the outdoor kitchen they’ve always been looking for and enough to room to entertain their frequent guests. They’ve experienced the Decked To Perfection Deck Design and Build Process and are ecstatic about the story they wrote.
Most people don’t get a deck built too many times in there life and we are here to make it an enjoyable and pleasant experience for you. We’ve refined our process over the years by getting feedback from our customers, our own experiences with other contractors and by hiring outside consultants. You don’t go to a doctor that does follow a procedure when diagnosing a problem so why would you use a deck contractor that doesn’t have a set procedure for designing and building a deck.