As the owner of a custom outdoor building business, Archadeck of Columbus, I sometimes become frustrated with the truly bad rap that contractors have. There seems to be a stigma about contractors. Customers have a natural tendency to beware of contractors.
My wife Carol and I opened Archadeck of Columbus ten years ago after successful careers in the hospitality industry. Archadeck of Columbus is a family business. My wife and I have chosen to get into business together while raising our 2 young boys. Service is incredibly important to us and integrity is everything.
As a professional, when I made the decision to enter into this business, I knew it would come with the challenge of overcoming the fear people have in respect to working with contractors. This fear is evident the majority of the time I meet with prospective clients.
One of the most important reasons people are skeptical is because they’ve heard horror stories about other contractors. But why were other contractors so bad? I believe it’s because many contractors feel they can do the work but in reality, they can’t run a business. Contracting and running a business are 2 totally different professions.
Running a contracting business requires marketing, analyzing financials, pricing correctly and other aspects of running a business. Unfortunately, just having superb carpentry skills does not make for a good contractor. Nor is the reverse true. Having good business acumen doesn’t make a great contractor.
At Archadeck of Columbus, we hope we’ve achieved our goal of building great outdoor living spaces while providing superior service and managing a family business that’s built on integrity.
That being said, how do you as a consumer really protect yourself? How do you tell the good contractors from the bad? How do you know if a great carpenter can manage your job effectively? How do you know if the sales person that really impressed you will deliver on what he says?
Social media has really helped with online reports like Angie’s list or the BBB. You can get a feel for the quality of the company you’re going to work with before you even pick up the phone. We encourage people to do their research. Go online. Read reviews. Ask the contractor for references and call each of those references. Here’s a great question to ask when checking references… “if you had to do it all over, would you work with this company again”?
Once you’ve done your research and the prospective contractor checks out well, what’s next? One of the most important questions I ask folks is what criteria is the most important to them in making selection. The majority of the time people tell us that it comes down to trust.
I feel trust in any business relationship is built through communication. At Archadeck of Columbus, it’s our responsibility to provide that communication. It’s my responsibility to show you exactly what it’s going to look like and how we’re going to get from point A to point B. We communicate with our clients every day during construction.
In summary, here’s what I believe all consumers should do before making a decision about a contractor. Obviously references are very important. Make sure there are plenty of them. Ask those references about choosing that company again. Go look at the projects the contractor has built. Just like a car, even if you’re priced it online and seen drawings, you need to go see the actual car before making a decision. After that, go with the company you’ve come to trust throughout the contractor selection process. We hope that company will be us.
Give us a call to discuss your dream for your new outdoor living space whether it is a porch, deck, patio, hardscape, sunroom, pergola, or other outdoor living area.