deck boards
Redwood Table

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To the Facebook Page!
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Decks
"Installing a deck may be the most cost-efficient way to add square footage to your house, and of all the outdoor home improvements except painting, it may be the most reliable value. Decks average $6,304 and generally recoup 104% of their value. That may not sound terribly impressive, but other touted outdoor improvements fare much worse."
--SmartMoney.com
   June 2004

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"There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." -John Ruskin

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For the purposes of clarifying any "Deal" or coupon:
A "Deck" or "New Deck Installation" is defined by anything that is over 200 sf. and includes stairs and railing. Anything less may be defined as a Porch, Platform, Stoop or landing. Furthermore, sf. rates are higher for smaller items to cover set up costs; standard volume discounts on sf. rates apply to larger structures on top of any "Deals" or coupons.

 

 

 



 

WARNING: Don't get Scammed!

 

~ An FYI to all local Residents
that may be getting several bids on deck work ~

 

There are some things you need to know but won't know unless someone is willing to tell you. Since I am not afraid of the scammers and I believe in operating a business with full transparency and honesty, I WILL TELL YOU the things that others won't!

There are scammers out there. Yes, right here in Central Arkansas
and YES they will get you if you give them the chance.

 

New Scam for 2014!   Yay!

There is a new company on the scene! They are called Ready Decks, they're located in Benton, it is another Franchise company (and we know what kind of headache and hassle that is for a homeowner), and they say they can...... wait for it........ "build a deck in a day"!

So how is this a scam? Come on! What kind of deck will you get that's built in a day??? There are some we can build in a day, with our top-notch quality, but they are very small in order to get it all done in 8hrs.
Another issue with Ready Decks is that it's a franchise. A Maylasian woman, who used to run a home furnishings manufacturing company in Kuala Lumpur (which.... has 'quality deck builder' written all over it! -sarcasm) has bought a franchise from the owner in Louisiana. But.... she is actually operating under another business name! She has spent big bucks on franchise fees (which are annual), advertising, new trucks & trailers, tools & more. All of these costs are passed on to you. Even if you think their price is lower than ours for the same size deck, they are having to cut enough corners in materials & craftsmanship to be able to cover all of their unnecessary expenses. Just look at their pictures and you will see more than enough evidence of this.
Furthermore, most of their pictures are from OTHER Ready Decks service areas! That means that THIS crew, the one you'd hire here in Central AR, is NOT the one that built the decks you are looking at!

Their tag line is: Nobody Builds More Decks!   Really? I might have to beg to differ with them on that one! But even if they do build more, is that what you want? Someone who puts quantity over quality? Have you ever heard anyone say Van Gogh or Picasso 'painted more paintings than anyone else!'? I think not. And there is a good reason for that. This is a no brainer.

The owner in Louisana said something to the effect of (can't find it because their website doesn't always work) he wanted to bring quality decks to the masses and to people that can't normally afford 'the custom deck comapnies' so he decided to take his (my words) bland designs and offer up franchises.
#1 That is rude to tell someone else what they can & can't afford.
#2 In Central AR there is ALREADY a company that offers REAL quality to EVERY client, no matter their budget. That company is Custom Deckworks.
#3 Anyone who knows anything about business knows the ONLY reason people offer to franchise-out their company is to make buckets loads of money!
#4 If you hire them & have a problem down the line, and you have a contract with Ready Decks, this woman will be protected from you by operating under another business name. The main owner in Louisana may come up here and take care of it, or you may be able to sue him (check the contract for small print), but what a big deal all of that is!

And one of the things that bothers me the worst about this company is that they have their own (patent pending, I guess) footing pad so they don't have to dig holes for the deck posts. I have researched this pad and I don't care what they say, it's junk! I can't say this loudly enough: IF YOU DO NOT PUT PINE POSTS IN THE GROUND IN CONCRETE THEY WILL WARP & TWIST AND, if on a slope at all, THE GROUND WILL WASH OUT FROM AROUND YOUR DECK SUPPOSRT POSTS AND THE DECK WILL SETTLE!

Sure, they will be happy to put the posts in the ground or do any number of more custom things IF you think to ask them to do it! But all of these things will up the price. They will call them 'upgrades'. I'm here to tell you that a post in the ground is NOT an upgrade - it is a necessity!
And beware of their ads and charts that show you how little you can spend to get a deck built with them. Once you educate yourself on a few things and start asking them to do these 'upgrade' items, you will see that low price SOAR!
I prefer to perform the same high level of quality on every structure and shoot straight with people from the start. But that's just me.

I'm not trying to just 'bash the competition' here. Again, they are not OUR competition because their standards & practices fall so short of ours. I'm just letting you know who's out there and reminding you, the buyer, to beware.

 

I posted this on our facebook page on 3-26-2012:

Breaking News!
Just discovered that there are two (2), possibly THREE (3) local 'Deck companies' that are actually run by guys in the same family! These different companies have been set up as each others "competition" and to give the illusion that YOU have "Choices"! When, in reality, no matter which one you hire, you are REALLY getting the SAME company with the same boring designs, mediocre customer care, and bland quality. That is dishonesty from the start!

So... that means you really only have 3 choices around here: one of their 'pretend' companies; the overpriced, bad attitude, local franchise; or Custom Deckworks. Seems like a no-brainer to me!

And then I added this to it:

This is called "Stacking the Deck". If you meet with one of those companies, and you also happen to get bids from their other two companies, then THEY control the lowest bid you receive. And the lowest bid can be as HIGH as they want it to be!

I'm sure, if asked, they will have some excuse. For instance they may say, "Well my Dad doesn't operate his company anymore, he just helps out with mine." Or, "That other one is a guy I know, but we have separate companies." Of course Dad helps you! And of course your friend or brother has a separate company! But once you railroad someone into hiring any ONE of your companies, then you all show up to work on that job under the winning company's license! 
And, YES, two of the companies have completely separate Contractors Licenses with the Licensing Board!
This kind of thing is utterly despicable, deceptive and morally reprehensible! 

If they cheat & scam you before they even meet you, imagine what they will do once they get the job!

 

 

I posted this on our facebook page on 9-25-2012:

BEWARE!
Just heard a "Deal of the Day" on the radio for another "Deck Company". Four (4) things to note about this:
1) You know they raised their prices to account for this "discount"!
2) You know their prices are too high already because they have to PAY to be involved in such things and get them mentioned on the radio! (they pass those costs on to you)
3) They also list that they do TILE & wood flooring INSIDE your home which means they are trying to get any work they can and do NOT SPECIALIZE in deck design & construction!
4) The deal is fraudulent anyway because you can't get either type of work done for as low as they listed it. They are supposed to offer at least a 50% savings and there is NO WAY you can get a deck remodeled for $250! False Advertising. Bait & switch. Plain & simple.

Again, this fb page (free), our own website ($60yr), and word-of-mouth are the ONLY advertising we do - which keeps YOUR costs down! And DECKS are what we've done every day of the year for 25 years!

So, now that you are informed, you decide. Are "they" really offering a "deal"? I think not.

 

There is a new trick or scam every month. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

Over the years, we have gotten several calls from people that start the conversation by saying "We wish we would have called you the first time. But we didn't because we saw your pictures and thought your company would be too expensive for us and the simple little deck we wanted." The reason they finally called us, you ask? Because they hired the lowest bidder, their uncle/brother-in-law/friend-of-a-friend, or some guy that does some other type of construction but said he could build decks too! And of course he built something that, in one case, wasn't even what they wanted and something that started leaning or falling down before a year had even passed. We've seen brand new decks that weren't level, that had wavy floors like the ocean, that were so far out of square, and tons of stairs that were nothing but lawsuits waiting to happen. We've even seen decks built with UN-treated wood! All of these people saved a few hundred bucks at first. Then... they had to call us and pay us to tear out the disaster they just paid for and build another one the right way.

And when that happens to you (when you roll the dice & take a chance) you can try to sue the guy (if you can find him) but he may file bankruptcy or be given the chance by the judge to come fix it. But do you have time for all of that? And that is IF you have a written, detailed contract! Plus, would you want the guy that couldn't build it right the first time to have another chance to come make it worse, I mean, fix it? All over a few hundred dollars? And if their bid is more than a few hundred dollars lower than ours, I hate to say it but.... it's probably a straight-out scam.

 

Please visit our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/customdeckworks and click "LIKE" to stay updated and informed. Knowledge is power. You already pay for an internet connection; after that, it's FREE to do research and become informed! This is YOUR money we are talking about when we discuss getting bids on decks. Please don't waste it.

 

Another GREAT resource for checking out different companies: http://www.angieslist.com/ . A company can't buy their way into great ratings with Angie's List; it is truly the most reliable way to check out a company (as long as they have enough reviews so you know it's not just their family members talking them up). Some things you'll notice about our listing compared to others is the sheer amount of reviews we get and the fact that we are grateful enough to respond to them.

Not to mention the fact that we won the Angie's List Super Service Award for 2012, 2013, and we are well on track to win it again for 2014! By the way, this award is not for who can design the coolest multi-level, extravagant, accessory-filled, photogenic decks (even though that is us) or for whoever happens to work for the most rich people that can afford those types of decks. It is for SERVICE, respect & honesty to their everyday customers! They say only a few are eligible to win this each year, and you'll notice NO ONE else in our industry in Central Arkansas has received it - ever.

 

What I'm trying to say here is this: This is not like car sales where each dealer says they will give the best prices & service and yet the product (car) is at least the exact same at every one. Or for that matter, the same goes for roofing, siding, HVAC, window/door installers, house framers, and on & on. Yes, in those trades there will be some duds - some guys who will just mess it up. But the product or end result is basically the same every time no matter who you hire! And the market is saturated more than enough with qualified companies to choose from in those fields. But in the Deck Design & Construction industry in Central Arkansas.... you sadly have but one choice. As we've said before, that is not simply because we say so; it is because apparently no one else around here is willing to step up and do things to the level that we refuse to go below!

There is more than enough work for us and at least one or two other good deck companies, so I will be the first one to let you all know when another one shows up on the scene. I will throw a party for them! But until then, shop around if you want; it won't be a true comparison, but it may make you feel better to know that you've seen for yourself what I've been talking about here.

 



Important News & Updates. Please Read!

 

Members - Click Here!
MUST READ for Angie's List Members!

 

Before you sign a Contract!

Must Read!

 

Spring 2013 :   BEWARE! Scam Alerts....

- Don't ever say you weren't warned!

 

 

Spring 2012 :   Pricing Information....

"The Bitterness of Low Quality Remains
Long After the Sweetness of Low Price
is Forgotten!..."

 

 

Spring 2009 :   Apples to Apples in a Bad Economy....

...It could be a mistake not to read this.

 

 

Update: 2012

Arkansas Code § 17-25-501 thru 17-25-515. Act 1208 of 2011 Summary:

ANYONE performing work at a Residence, when the project is $2,000 or more, labor & material,

IS required to have a license from the Contractors Licensing Board

starting January 1, 2012!

 

In most cases this does not apply to the Homeowners doing work themselves.

But if you hire someone to build your deck that does NOT have a license,

you may be breaking the law and will have very limited recourse in the event of a dispute.

If they don't have a REAL license, DON'T HIRE THEM!

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