My personal belief is that the best customers are ones that are well informed, so I do everything that I can to answer each client’s questions and to supply key information that they might not think to ask about. For instance, there is no reason that the average homeowner would know that many manufacturers announce price increases on their building materials early each calendar year.
Since you want the best value for your money, this is important knowledge to have. Even builders and contractors like Archadeck of Kansas City don’t get much advance notice of price changes. We wish we did so that we could tell homeowners that a project will cost X price now, but will increase to Y price on a specific date. All we can state with certainty is that the industry pattern is to raise prices for construction materials during the first few months of a new year.
One reason for this phenomenon is that new home construction and home improvement projects nationwide typically fall off during the winter months. This is true in Kansas City as well, but we are able to build in this area almost all year–unless there is ice or snow on the ground. Call our office almost any day of the week and we can name multiple building sites where you will find Archadeck crews working on a project.
Another reason that we expect to see increased prices soon is that the construction industry has been on an upswing for the past two years. That means higher demand for all types of building materials: wood, non-wood, fixtures, stone, manufactured trim pieces, and all the other components that are necessary to build your deck, patio or porch. Locking in prices now may mean that you may pay less for your project or will be able to afford some upgrades that will be out of reach in a few months at your desired price point.
In addition, contracting for your backyard addition now will also give you use of your new living space sooner. We can get you on the schedule now when the calendar is a little less crowded and we don’t have the delays often caused by spring rains. You can enjoy your new space as soon as the weather turns warm. If you want to take advantage of the time and financial benefits of building in winter, plan on committing to your building project by the end of December or mid-January at the latest.
Bonnie and Dan Hall, Archadeck of Kansas City Owners
If you’re considering the addition of an outdoor fireplace – or a deck, porch, patio or other outdoor living structure – give us a call at (913) 851-3325 for a free consultation or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to your call.
Selecting a contractor to build a porch, deck, patio or other outdoor living space is a huge decision. The great news is that it’s much easier to do due diligence now than it was in the past. We recommend that you visit some of our existing customers to see actual projects and meet homeowners that we have worked with. We also encourage you to view our reviews on Angie’s List and do other research online. At Archadeck, we also utilize and post-job survey tool. Our clients are sent an email in which there are only two questions. The first question is for a rating on a scale of 1-10. The second question is solicits comments on what the client liked or didn’t like about the job. From this survey, below are some results.
“The quality of the materials and craftsmanship and the strong work ethic of everyone associated with the project.”
Charles & Dianne C; Shawnee, KS
“Our deck project was a fairly large job and it was done in a timely manor. The crew who worked on it were polite and always here on time and worked hard. Our deck is beautiful and we love it. Steve was very professional and helped design our stairs to perfectly walk down to our new patio. We were very happy with the outcome and would highly recommend Archadeck to anyone. We look forward to enjoying it for years to come.”
Barry & Jill K; Leawood, KS
(What did you like?) Absolutely everything!!! The project turned out exactly as we planned. The quality of work was exceptional!
Ronald & Jeanne P; Olathe, KS
“The construction process and the end product are the best we’ve ever experienced in all of the home improvements projects we have completed.”
Tim & Julie S; Lenexa, KS
“Finish work was excellent and all work done in a timely manner. The workers were fantastic to work with and always on time.”
Steve & Carla M; Olathe, KS
“Excellent crew that took our concepts and produced them. Steve added some additional suggestions for a gorgeous deck and screened porch area for us.”
Maureen Purcell; Overland Park, KS
“Process from start to finish was explained well, completed in a timely manner and results are outstanding.”
Bradley & Rebecca D; Overland Park, KS
“High quality design, built on time, honest and detail-oriented professionals”
Jeffrey B; Leawood, KS
“Great crew, great materials, great execution. It was a very good experience.”
Steven & Pamela M; Overland Park, KS
“We practically LIVE in our screened porch. We requested a place for a doggy door and they happily accommodated. It’s so nice to still be able to just open the door from the kitchen and let the dogs out in the morning. The materials they used were top notch and we can’t say enough about this new addition.”
Mark & Barbara B; Overland Park, KS
“Very well built, both from a functional and design perspective. Owner is wonderful to work with; responsive before, during and afer the project was completed. We have received many many compliments on the look and design.”
Rodney & Nikki J; Lenexa, KS
“The whole experience of working with Archadack, Steve and the whole crew was exceptional. The deck turned out to be everything we expected and more. Steve was very precise about how things would be from day one. He kept us informed every step of the way. The deck itself is done with such precision that would be hard to match. Every single board is precise to the nth degree. We have already had many wonderful comments, many saying it is the best looking deck they have ever seen. His crew was very clean cut and pleasant. To date we have never hired an any work done at our home that we have been happier with. We would highly recommend Archadeck to anyone without one single hesitation. Archadeck is simply the best you will find anywhere. Thanks, Steve,and crew!”
John and Gloria H; Shawnee, KS
“The screened porch looks like it has always been part of the house. The quality of the work is exceptional.”
Charles & Colleen P; Lenexa, KS
“I like the quality of the work and the professionalism of all employees. Archadeck wants their customers to be happy and that is evident by the way they treat their customer’s property.”
Briana M; Olathe, KS
“The quality of the porch is outstanding. All of the owners and employees are good listeners and communicators so that the design and work is truly a collaborative endeavor. There were no surprises because of this. The integrity of the company is impeccable.”
Susan Y; Overland Park, KS
“The whole experience was positive – from the planning phase, to the construction, and then finally the finished project. We’re extremely happy with the result. The crew was very professional and worked quickly, especially considering the hot weather.”
David L; Overland Park , KS
“Total professionalism, workers are courteous and clean up daily, workmanship is of the highest standards, Archadeck in my opinion is the best Kansas City has to offer.”
Rodney H; Overland Park, KS
Bonnie and Dan Hall, Archadeck of Kansas City Owners
If you’re considering the addition of a porch, deck, patio, outdoor fireplace or other outdoor living structure, give us a call at (913) 851-3325 for a free consultation or email us at email@example.com. We look forward to your call.
As a homeowners, you’re very fortunate to have a wealth of good due diligence information at your fingertips. As fast as you can type (company name) reviews, you can start reading what real customers have to say about that company. If Angie’s List and the BBB don’t come up upon searching, make sure to visit each of those to learn more about a contractor you might be considering. We are very proud of our BBB A+ rating and of winning the Angie’s List award in 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and counting. Members of Angie’s List leave detailed reviews covering everything from the initial consultation to the friendliness of the contractors and more.
At Archadeck, we have an additional review system we’ve implemented. We work with an independent company called Listen360. After each job, every customer receives an email requesting a rating on a scale of 1-10 and one simple question about how we did. Here are some reviews we’ve received from our customers here in the Kansas City area.
“High quality design, built on time, honest and detail-oriented professionals” Jeffrey B., Leawood KS
“The quality of the materials and craftsmanship and the strong work ethic of everyone associated with the project.” Charles & Dianne C., Shawnee KS
“Our deck project was a fairly large job and it was done in a timely manor. The crew who worked on it were polite and always here on time and worked hard. Our deck is beautiful and we love it. Steve was very professional and helped design our stairs to perfectly walk down to our new patio. We were very happy with the outcome and would highly recommend Archadeck to anyone. We look forward to enjoying it for years to come.” Barry & Jill K., Leawood KS
“Absolutely everything!!! The project turned out exactly as we planned. The quality of work was exceptional!” Ronald & Jeanne P., Olathe, KS
“The construction process and the end product are the best we’ve ever experienced in all of the home improvements projects we have completed.” Tim & Julie S., Lenexa KS
“Excellent crew that took our concepts and produced them. Steve added some additional suggestions for a gorgeous deck and screened porch area for us.” Maureen P. & David H., Overland Park KS
“Process from start to finish was explained well, completed in a timely manner and results are outstanding.” Bradley & Rebecca D., Overland Park KS
“I like the quality of the work and the professionalism of all employees. Archadeck wants their customers to be happy and that is evident by the way they treat their customer’s property.” Briana M., Olathe KS
Here are some links to read more reviews. We want you to do your due diligence. We want you to be confident in your decision.
Bonnie and Dan Hall, Archadeck of Kansas City Owners
If you’re considering adding a new outdoor space to your Kansas City area home this winter or next spring, give us a call for a free consultation at at (913) 851-3325 for a free consultation or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to your call.
There is no perfect way to search online for a contractor and do your diligence after that but here are some helpful ways that we recommend.
1) Google search
Try a number of different searches in Google. Try using “builder”, “contractor” and even construction. Change up the description of the item you’re hoping to have built. If you are looking for a patio, try looking up “paver patio” and also hardscapes. After doing a little hunting, you should find a good list of contractors to investigate.
2) Visit their website
The first thing you always want to do is visit the website of a prospective contractor or partner. Give their website is a gut test. Does the website look like it was put together by a relative who had a few hours to spare? Is their website professional and educational? Look for testimonials on their website and see what others have to say. Also, spend some time looking through the pictures on their site to see if their work is similar to what you’re looking for.
3) Read online reviews
There are a number of places where you can get reviews on contractors. As you can imagine, some review sites are better than others. You want to look for review sites where their reviews are controlled exclusively by the consumer and not open to manipulation and fakery. This is often the difference between a verified site and free site. Here in the Kansas City metro market, many of our clients come to use through Angie’s List. Angie’s List members supply detailed reviews on the contractors they’ve done business with. These reviews include the dollar value of the project, a letter grade, descriptions, and often times pictures of the job. Look for contractors that have the Super Service Award. We are particularly proud of the Super Service Awards we’ve been awarded through Angie’s List over the years.
4) Check out their BBB
It’s good to take a look at the prospective contractors rating on the BBB website. Look for accredited companies with an A+ rating on the BBB. The BBB takes into account the length of time the company has been in business, whether there are any complaints and other factors. We recommend you make sure that any contractor you are considering has a minimum of an A- rating.
5) Talking to references
Ask the prospective contractor for references that you can call and visit. Find out what work that company did for them and how happy they were with the end result. Ask them specifically what were the positives and negatives of working with that contractor. Then, we strongly encourage you to visit one of the jobs in person. It’s a lot different to stand on or in a structure and touch/feel the various aspects than to just look at pictures.
6) Talk to lumber yards and suppliers
Look for lumber yards that specialize in supplying deck and porch material. Go to a commercial reputable lumber yard. To find one, look for one that specializes in deck supplies. Here in KC, ours is Kansas City Deck Supply. Ask the lumber or supply yard about the reputable contractors. The lumber yards will know. The suppliers can also speak to some of the other factors such as whether the contractor is easy to work with, polite, etc.
7) Spend a lot of time with the contractor
Have you ever talked to a prospective contractor only to feel like you might be taking up too much of their time? If you feel this way, it’s probably because the contractor is showing signs that they’re ready for you to make a decision. Make sure they have time to speak with you, have interest in your project, and can answer your questions knowledgeably. Contractors who don’t have the interest and time to spend with you before you build may not have the interest and time to spend with you while you’re building.
Bonnie and Dan Hall, Archadeck of Kansas City Owners
If you are considering adding to your backyard, give us a call for a free consultation. We will walk you through the choices and considerations so you get the best project for your needs and wants.
We continue to post about selecting a contractor. Selecting a contractor might seem as simple as 1, 2, 3 as these are sometimes the number of quotes some homeowners feel required to attain. But the important 3 steps in the process should be to related to the past, present, and future.
Step 1: Evaluate their past
You want to make sure the contractor you are considering has a good track record. In addition to references they can provide, it’s easy to check them out online. Go on Angie’s List and read their Angie’s List reviews. Go to the BBB and make sure they are an accredited A+ contractor with no history of complaints. Make sure they have a local website that represents a professional, experienced and reputable business. Also, is the contractor really forthcoming in offering you references and are they willing to put you in contact with other clients who have built projects similar to yours?”
Step 2: Evaluate their present
Take into account everything from how your inquiry call was handled to how your consultation was handled and the follow-up. Were they professional when you called? Did they ask good questions to better understand what you were looking for? Did they arrive on time and prepared at their scheduled appointment time?
Evaluate the tools they give you to help you make your decision. Do they show you a drawing of what your design will look like? Are they able to provide detailed specifications including the materials used? Do you feel completely confident about what you are receiving for your project? If you have questions, are they responsive and amenable to all your questions?
Also, make sure to check their credentialing. Are they a licensed? Are they insured?
Step 3: Evaluate their, your future
To what degree of certainty are you confident that your project is warrantied if anything should happen? Make sure they provide a strong written warranty. Make sure that their warranty supersedes them. If they go out of business, is your warranty still intact? At Archadeck of Kansas City, we have a guarantee of project completion even if any unfortunate situations should arise with your local crew. We also protect their future of your project with a 12-month workman warranty and a 60-month structural warranty.
Remember not to just take their word for it. It’s easy to check online reviews. Make sure there are a preponderance of reviews and that they give you full confidence that your project will be finished in a way that exceeds your expectations. Here is a review from a recent customer.
This is the AZEK deck referenced in this testimonial
We had Archadeck remove 4 decks from our 23 year old home. We had them replace three of them with new composite materials. We choose AZEK decking and TimberTech railings.
We could not be happier with our brand new decks. From the very first day that Steve came out to bid our job over one year ago, we knew immediately he was the one that we wanted to build our deck. We did get other bids, but Steve was the most professional and knowledgeable, by far, about the entire project. He showed up on time every time. He always called to let us know what to expect with every step of the project. He was on the job site every day to answer any questions we had. He had a very clean cut, professional crew working here everyday. They were polite and friendly and did a fabulous job. They built these decks with tremendous precision. They always cleaned up after themselves at the end of every day. I could go on and on about what a great experience we had working with Steve and his crew. We absolutely love the decks they put on our home. It make us feel like we are living in a brand new home. The high quality products we used were only surpassed by the overall experience we had with Steve Folsom and Archadeck.
You might find a “fly by night”, less expensive deck builder out there, but you will not find a better overall experience and end result than you will get from Archadeck. They are simply the best out there and you will be happy with your results.
If you’re considering adding a deck, porch, or other outdoor living space to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation.
If you have ever looked for a contractor, there are many contractors out there that say they can do your job for you. How do you know which one is best? What makes this decision more challenging is each builder’s understanding of what you want for your space and their understanding of how you want to use your space. Ultimately you want to go with the builder that best understands your needs and who does the best job within your budget. If you’ve looked around on contractor sites, you will find the whole gamut of options from new or seasoned contractors to professional builders. There are many reasons to work with a professional deck builder. Here are our top 6.
AZEK Brownstone deck and screen porch Overland Park
1) A professional designer/builder will ask you questions about how you plan to use your space. Not every family uses their outdoor space the same nor does every family have the same number of people, same amount of furniture or same activities. Good design starts with a space that works for you and your family.
2) Many design features picture in magazines and on the internet look good in photos but don’t necessarily work as practical deck space. A good designer should be able to explain to you the difference between something that looks good and works well in your backyard. For example, a Ferrari looks great but you don’t want to take your family out to the game in it. A practical deck isn’t ugly but each and every design feature has its limitations.
3) Different types of design features have entirely different costs. Certain design features have a much higher cost depending on a number of factors. A good designer should be able to discuss the elements contributing to costs. One example is a round deck. While it is feasible to build a round deck, it requires lots of extra labor, requires materials that can be bent, and it might not fit your furniture.
AZEK Morado Deck with AZEK railing
4) A good builder will help you understand how to get the best space/dollar and what the trade offs are in doing that. For example, a multi-level deck looks great but gives less space/dollar. A large flat deck may not be as attractive but will provide the most space/dollar.
5) Every design feature has some advantages and disadvantages. If your designer can’t tell you what those are, he or she may not be sufficiently experienced. If you think there is a design feature that has no disadvantages, then you haven’t thought hard enough. Your designer needs to understand your individual requirements in order to do a good design.
6) An amateur builder will convince you about constraints that experienced builders can work around. For example, amateur builders will convince you that the size of your deck needs to be constrained by the length of standard deck boards. This should not drive the design. A professional builder does not allow such a constraint to determine design.
Bonnie and Dan Hall, Archadeck of Kansas City Owners
If you are considering adding a deck, porch, patio or other outdoor structure to your Kansas City area home, give us a call for a free consultation.
One of the biggest fears many people have about hiring a contractor is whether the contractor is going to hold true to their commitments. Will the contractor start the project on time? Will the contractor have unexplained absences? Will the contractor do what they said they were going to do? Will the contractor finish on time? You are right to have these concerns. Hiring a contractor for a custom project is, by its nature, untested since every project is different. There are so many factors that determine how long the project will take, if it will be built as promised, and if it will start and finish on time. As we’ve mentioned in past posts, reading as many reviews as possible is a great way to get a sense of the degree to which the contractor fulfills their commitments. Here is another recent post we did about selecting a contractor.
What is the gold standard for start date, continuous work flow and finish date?
Here is the simple answer to this question. The gold standard is that the contractor does what they say they’re going to do.
Contractors will have various factors that determine when they can start a project, how long a project will take and if they will work continuously after the beginning of the project.
Continuous work flow
Our standard is once we start a project, we will work continuously on that project until it’s complete. We will be there every day. You can count on it. The only thing that will keep us from being there is weather that prohibits us from building and if by some chance an item is back-ordered.
There are two primary factors that influence why some contractors do not deliver on a continuous work flow once your project begins. First, there are ethical factors and secondly there are organization factors.
A less than ethical contractor may make commitments to several homeowners for the same timeline. They may do this because they fear losing your business if they are honest with you about when they can start or finish your project. In order to juggle multiple jobs with the same timeline, this contractor may provide various excuses such as waiting for inspectors, sick staff, flat tire, broken-down vehicles, etc.
An disorganized contractor may not be able to hire and retain quality staff, maybe frequently because they don’t treat them ethically and legally.High quality skilled people like to work for a high-quality organized company. Many small businesses or contractors don’t have the the business experience or management skills to retain skilled staff. The disorganized contractor may not be skilled at planning project schedules. And, they may have a poor system for tracking materials or ordering on time causing them to run out of key materials necessary to achieve continuous work flow.
When we start your project at Archadeck of Kansas City, we guarantee that we are going to be there every day unless a product is back ordered or unless the weather absolutely prohibits us from building on that day.
Bonnie and Dan Hall, Archadeck of Kansas City Owners
Call us for a free consultation (913) 851 – 3325 or email email@example.com. We look forward to talking to you about your project.
When we compare stock products, both of the products we’re comparing will have different features. But at least the industrious product researcher could make a chart of both products’ features for comparison. There will be various features that one product has and not the other and vice versa but at least you know you have all the information you need to make a comparison.
As you get into researching larger purchases such as buying a car, there are many more features. But the industrious researcher could make a list of features of each product and compare.
When a feature or component is not listed
Sometimes a feature or component of a particular product is not listed. For example, the Volvo specification sheet may say “safe”. But, just because the Honda specification sheet doesn’t say “safe”, does that mean the Honda isn’t safe? There are two challenges in this scenario. The first challenge is the fact that this is a soft feature. The meaning of “safe” is subjective and has different meaning depending on the prospective buyer’s experiences, perceptions and expectations.
The second challenge in evaluating the safety of the Honda vehicle is the reason why it’s omitted. Is it omitted because there were so many other benefits that they ran out of room? Is it omitted because Honda thinks their safety is a given? Or is it omitted because Honda doesn’t want to make any promises? Perhaps Honda is thinking of using a less expensive seat belt in coming years and they don’t want to have a promise in place that precludes them from being able to make substitutions.
Custom home building is aplenty with “soft” features. These include things like safe, durable, long-lasting, low maintenance, and other features that can have subjective interpretations. Ask about these features. Reputable builders will be able to back up their claim by showing you the specific products they’re using, sharing the specific processes they use, and answering questions fully and very forthrightly. On the flip side, there are disreputable builders who sell these features leaving themselves the flexibility to use lesser expensive products or otherwise cut corners to improve their profitability.
Even though this increases the challenge of comparing products and features, your reputable contractor will back up everything they say in writing. Your reputable contractor will know the answers to your questions without having to research. And, they will ask you key questions to make the determinations about key components, key processes, key materials and more.
Apples to apples
A lot of contractors will take steps to make sure you don’t have all the specific information because if you have that information, it gives you more power to know what you’re buying. The challenge is how do you know what specifications should be in the quote when you don’t know what’s involved in the building process? Often consumers think they have all the specification but all too often they don’t.
How do you do better job of comparing apples to apples?
Watch out for vague statements that don’t really specify exactly what you’re getting.
Here are just a few things you should know when commissioning a contractor to build a back yard structure at your home.
How is the support structure made? How well is it made? Does it bounce when you walk on it? Should it have a little bounce when you walk on it?
How are boards fastened? Are they nailed or screwed? What kinds of boards, nails and screws are used?
How is the railing made? How are the posts or balusters attached? What kind of cross connectors? Are all the components low maintenance or just some of them? If the components are low maintenance, to what degree are they low maintenance?
Is the permit price included or excluded in the quote? A reputable contractor will include that in the quote.
Will the contractor work continuously once they start the project or will they take breaks to work on other jobs?
Every little detail affects long term satisfaction and, of course, the price.
Questions, questions, questions
You will likely never know all of the questions you should ask one contractor to allow you to compare apples to apples with two proposals. So count on a contractor that does ask a lot of questions. This contractor is not only conscientious but is transparent. When you receive your quote, ask lots more questions. A good contractor will invite as many questions as you have. He/she will be patient and will do a good job answering your questions and explaining your options.
References and testimonials
Ask for references and testimonials. With an experienced contractor, you will be able to do a web search and quickly find an ample number of real customer testimonials. Check sites like Angie’s list or even their website for testimonials. Ask for references and make sure to call them all.
If you’ve asked lots of questions and checked references and testimonials, they key at this point is gut feel. This person and their team will be spending time in your back yard. Do you like them? Do you trust them?
Although it’s very difficult to compare custom building projects apples to apples, using the tools outlined here will help you make the right decision on the contractor to use for your next project.
Top 5 things to check before selecting a home improvement contractor
If you’re thinking about a home improvement project, ask around in your community for contractor recommendations. Search the internet for contractors. You may quickly find one or two names rising to the top. That’s already a good sign. Here are some of the characteristics you should look for when evaluating the contractor’s reputation.
Conducts business with professionalism
Committed to high-quality standards
Respected in the community
Stable and financially sound company
2) History of satisfied customers
A good contractor will encourage you to check references, read reviews, and visit websites such as Angie’s List and the BBB. We find that our best customers are the ones who spend the most time researching us. Make it one of your absolute requirements that the contractor will provide references for you to check. Take some time to check references over the phone and if possible by reading testimonials on web sites.
3) Licensed and insured
Legitimate contractors should carry both general liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance. They should be able to provide you with a certificate of insurance.
Make sure your contractor is fully licensed in your locality. Johnson County KS has some of the strictest requirements in the area. Kansas City MO is very strict as well. We have been licensed for years in in both areas.
4) Written specifications and agreement
Your contractor should be willing to put incredibly detailed specifications in writing to you. With a home improvement project you deserve to have in writing exactly what you’re going to get. It’s very common with some contractors to not give specific details so they can make lower cost substitutions of materials or specifications.
5) Strong written warranty
It’s common for some builders to give some type of warranty protection. In almost every case, this warranty protection is based on the builder still being in business and having the motivation and decency to honor their warranty. Unfortunately as builders routinely go out of business, their warranty protection does not survive them. At Archadeck, our warranty protection is at a completely different level. Here is what our warranty includes.
Guarantee of project completion. We have one of the only independently funded supplemental warranty in the business including guarantee of project completion and guarantee that it remains in effect if the builder goes out of business.
12 months workmanship warranty
60 months structural warranty
Ask lots of questions. Check lots of sources. Review many references and testimonials.
After checking the items on this list, you should be well informed and confident about who to choose as your contractor for your project.