I entered a contract with the francised owner of Hickory Dickory Decks on July 13, 2020 to rebuild and expand an existing deck. This review is posted to qualify a $450 discount under the contract agreement.
The contract awarded is about $3000, 30% higher than its closest competing contractor (excluding HST). The company won the contract as it is the only contractor that came with a drawing, written quotation and material samples in the negotiation process, which gave me an expectation that a higher price would be worthwhile . However it ended with total disappointment, mainly on 2 issues as the following:
1. Over budget - Extra charges were added during work in progress for an extra step and new footings due to the owner's incorrect grading measurements and structural support assessment. For a company that claimed itself a leading contractor in the field since 1987, this should not have happened had the assessment and quote been done with due diligence.
2. Delay - Before the contract was signed on July 13, the work duration was estimated to be 4 to 5 days, and would be completed before the end of August. I had declined the company's 2% discount offer for the project to be done during the off season between September and November instead, fully expecting the work to be completed by the end of August. The work began on August 25, but was completed on September 28, a span of 5 weeks instead of 4-5 working days estimated. There were no unforeseen factors such as weather and workers issues within the work duration.
After the contract was signed, I was given a customer checklist and warranty checklist to go over them later when I have time. When I went through the lists in the later days, it was too late to revoke the contract as work had already begun. The checklists consisted 2 of 30 items, that would definitely change my decision, if were disclosed before the contract signing, which are:
a/ "We do our best at measuring the elevation in your yard. However, in the event an extra step is required or omitted, the final bill will be adjusted accordingly."
b/ "If you have ordered either glass or aluminium rail or other special order products, you can expect a 2-5 week wait after the deck is built before these products are installed. The payment schedule will be altered to reflect this situation. The deck will be paid in full and the price of the rail or glass will be held back until installation."
The last of the 3 required payments was made on Friday, August 28, 3 days ahead of the payment schedule. Only next Monday, the day I expected the deck to be completed, I was told that the aluminium railing won't be ordered until the deck construction is completed, after which the delivery time from the contractor would be 3 to 5 weeks.
I hope my experience will help your decision process in finding a reputable and reliable contractor.
William Wong, Aurora - Ontario
- Company Response
We appreciate you taking the time to write some feedback & a review for us following completion of your deck project. We feel that the project went relatively well, though the main issue seems to be that certain details were misunderstood between us. We will be taking this as an opportunity to improve & tighten up our communication to avoid a disappointing situation for both our clients & our team who work very hard to bring these projects to completion.
We also appreciate that despite receiving other quotes, you selected us due to our attention to detail in both the design & quote. Your concerns are a good reminder on the importance of very accurate notes to record verbal discussions.
As you mentioned, our checklists were left with you. That was on July 13th according to our records. Work began on August 25th, so there were 6 weeks to review or bring up any concerns you may have had in regard to any of the clauses in our agreements. We will take more care in the future to get those completed in person as we usually do.
As the scope of work changed the cost changed slightly. We charged only 50% of the regular cost of the small landing that was added, which we felt was fair given the change was recommended by us towards the end of the build. This change was accepted & signed off on by you.
We did spend a few more days on site than originally estimated. Exact timing was never promised. We were assuming 4-5 days according to you, which I agree was a reasonable estimate, though it was almost 9 days on site plus a day coming back to put in the custom rails once they were ready.
Despite some hiccups, we are happy to have worked with you. We hope you & your family will enjoy the beautiful backyard space for many years to come.
Steve Hall - for Hickory Dickory Decks - Aurora