Friday, March 30, 2007

Planning to Start a Deck Company Near Toronto?

There is a new article at  "Starting a Deck Company" click to view

Starting a deck company from scratch is the greatest challenge you will ever face. Anyone can approach builders and become a sub-contractor, but if you plan to actually do business and sell to real live clients there are many things to learn and planning to do.
  • How will you get your first jobs? It is difficult to sell when you only have a few or no jobs under your belt or references.
  • What will you use for marketing?
  • What will your Specifications for decks and fences be?
  • How do you design a pergola or trelliswork feature? How do you price them?
  • How do you build a gate that won't sag?
  • The building department asked for an engineered drawing for a hand rail-How do I get an engineered drawing for hand rails?
  • What do I use for a contract? Will it protect me?
There are a million other things to overcome-and we can help.
We will help keep you local, make sure your phone rings, set you up with everything you need to sell and the know how you need to build the best decks, fences, pergolas and trellis features in your area. Your presentation materials will be the absolute best available.
Portfolio packed with Photos
Contracts and Change Orders
Marketing Materials
Design Elements
Business Cards
Web Presence
Details to Work From
Design and Sales Support
Talk to us about Starting up in your Home Town!
Call me at 888 293 8938

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Need for Flashings

Whenever you are attaching to a house you need to seal against moisture.

Porches meeting masonry are a particularly important since masonry transmits moisture. This porch was obviously built about 50+ years ago so back then they made the brick ties very large. Normally a 3/4" or 1" bolt.

This kind of thing is the result of a few factors. Often it happens after years of leaking flashings melt the beam to the point that it will no longer support snow load or even itself.

The other half of the equation, the footings may have been slightly too small to do the job, when snow load is factored in when soil gets moist during freeze, or thaw or just a rainy fall or spring the inadequate footings will get pushed into the ground levering the porch from it's connection.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Woodwork Art

Every once in a while you see something that makes you a more humble Woodworker.

He is Livio De Marchi and he is quite mad. It is a good kind of mad. He's a genius that ranks right up with all the greats. If you work with wood, you should know his name.
To see more of his work click here:
I feel richer just viewing his creations.

Low Bids for Contracting

There’s a common practice in the contracting field. Low ball to get in, then make your money on the extras.

This is caused by low bid mentality on the part of clients and builders. It’s a situation where the contractor and the client both want the advantage in dealings with each other—potentially to victimize each other simultaneously. The client wants the builder not to make any money—the builder wants to make more money than the client may have at his disposal.

Sounds like a bad situation doesn’t it?

Further down the road, after the contractor agrees to do it for free to get in the door, then the price doubles due to omitted items in the quote and additional items sold or requested by the client, (recognize that most of these contractors won’t keep the client abreast of the true cost of the changes), and the client doesn’t have the money to pay.

The Contractor will face a cash squeeze when the final payment isn’t forthcoming. It’s superior court for this amount of cash—so you need a good lawyer. Before you get to court it will likely run 5-$15,000 in legal prep work. The proceedings may be delayed by a long docket or delays by the other side.

For the homeowner it means liens that put pressure on his credit and eventually a large judgment that could mean foreclosure or forced sale.

Who needs it!

Clients need to know that when you find a deck contractor willing to do a job for the cost that other deck contractors tell you they pay for materials—something is wrong. They will either use stolen materials, illegal labor, unpaid labor or simply never show up after taking a deposit, or complete the job part way after getting as much money as possible from you.

They may simply be bad business people—which means their warranty should be discounted due to the fact that they likely won’t be around to honor the warranty they offer on your deck or fence.

They may be using sub standard details or materials. They may not know how to build for durability.

We insist that all our builders be up front about the costs involved in projects. Its just part of fair dealings with clients. Sell your service and professional ability. When our builders quote a price—that’s the price, with everything included in the contract.

Sure, if the client asks for changes or more work to be done, we’ll offer a change order that outlines the additional cost so that the client can budget for it.

This maintains a non-combative atmosphere of mutual respect and is more likely to get you referrals in the future.