You wouldn’t pick your heart surgeon or childcare service based solely on an internet source. You would perform due diligence to make sure you found the right person for the job. Your new patio may not be as critical as double-bypass or your little angels’ safety but you still want to hire a builder who will deliver quality construction, caring customer service, and a fair price. The best patio installer for you is one who will openly communicate to make sure you understand the process and the reasons certain procedures are followed. He or she will answer all your questions and go the extra mile to ensure you are satisfied with the job.
It is a good rule of thumb to engage a contractor boasting a longstanding presence in the community. They will have built a reputation for fair dealing and a determination to maintain their good standing among their neighbors. Locating these good corporate citizens is easier in smaller communities, but a Google search can provide a starting point. Your state or local contractors board or construction trade association may also have lists of builders in good standing from which you can compile a roster of candidates.
Licenses, Bonds, and Insurance for Patio Builders
Most jurisdictions require patio installers to have a license and for those licensees to obtain a building permit before starting construction. You can be confident that your licensed contractor is experienced and knowledgeable about both running a business and performing the work, maintains the required insurance, and has undergone a thorough criminal background check.
Just Ask about Patio Contractors
Scout your neighborhood and friends’ homes to find patio covers similar in size and design to what you have in mind for your backyard. Ask the owners if they are happy with the workmanship and cost of their shade structure. If so, get the name of the builder. Once you have 10 to 15 potential installation partners, go back online to check out their portfolios. This will give you a sense of the types and styles of patios each company is adept at building and give you additional inspiration for your project. This should help you narrow the field even further, to eight or 10 choices.
With your finalists selected, obtain at least three estimates for your project. Take care to compare apples to apples. Especially when it comes to the siding material and brand you want to have installed. Note that the lowest bid is not always the best bid. A price significantly below the market rate should raise a red flag.
There are thousands of licensed contractors in Florida; there is no way to consider them all when contemplating your siding project, but there are ways to cull the field. The best siding contractors often are those who focus on siding as one of only a few specialties. Have you heard the expression about being a jack of all trades and master of none? It is true in the construction game. You shouldn’t expect a contractor who is great at landscaping or masonry to understand the nuances of siding. On the other hand, siding connects with several other construction trades, including roofing, windows, and framing. An installer with experience in any of these other areas may be able to give you a holistic appraisal of your needs.
Ask each to provide an estimate. We suggest you only ask once and set a deadline. It is our experience that contractors who do not follow up, procrastinate, or otherwise fail to respond to your request for a quote will take a similarly lackadaisical approach to your project in general. You can expect 3 to 5 responsible bids and can meet each finalist in person. A face-to-face meeting will give you a “feel” for the company and where you fit in terms of priority. You can confirm that you will feel comfortable working with the company and its crew before signing the contract.
Speaking of the Contract…
Make sure everything you and your contractor agree to is included in the contract: start date, completion date, material list cost, payment schedule, etc.
May We Suggest a Shortcut?
We hope this guide has convinced you that vetting your patio cover installer is an integral step. It is, however, time-consuming and not a lot of fun. When you choose one of Renaissance Patio’s extensive line patio roofs, pergolas, gazebos, sunrooms, patio covers, and screen rooms you not only will treat your family to the most durable, attractive, useful living space extensions on the market. You also can expedite the contractor-selection process. We work with a trusted network of authorized Renaissance Patio installers across the country. Contact us, and we will put you in touch with a pre-qualified, responsive, and highly skilled contractor in your area.