I came across the new company that goes by a similar name (which I apparently can't use according to the review policy at Homestars... it still contains "Fence & Deck" in it) and had received a very competitive quote from them. My wife and I were headed in one of two directions, either get our deck redone in a very nice wood (Ipe) if we could get it done for $10K... or if not, to get our deck done for as little as possible in Pressure Treated. As we ended up on the latter, this put Steve’s company in our final list. However, after some due diligence, I came across the information presented in the below reviews detailing some very negative experiences with his previous company that eventually went Bankrupt.
I was pretty much ready to write Steve off entirely but figured I should at least give him a chance to explain himself, especially since I had taken up a lot of his time with some back-and-forth on the quote (and he always seemed to respond). When I asked him about it, he had no problem speaking and tackling the issue head on. He didn’t exactly accept full responsibility for what happened but he did explain the mechanics and assured me he wasn’t in the same situation again. That helped me at least get some idea of what happened (as there’s always two sides to a story) but not enough to feel comfortable to go ahead with the work as he did ask for a 10% deposit and another 30% once the work began (essentially, I was putting 40% of the contract down as a deposit).
I asked him if he’d consider doing the work piece-meal. Basically, I offered that I’d pay for the demolition once it was done and materials once they were delivered (likely on two separate days). Since I knew my deck wasn’t a big job, I already knew that should he put up any resistance, it would tip me off that something was up since he would either be very untrusting or running the company with next to no working capital. Steve thought it was a reasonable approach and agreed with my plan.
My deck wasn't a complicated job so only one person was assigned to the job. He took about a week and was pleasant enough to deal with. There were some changes he recommended (which he showed me in-person) to the foundation of the deck and he clearly knew what he was doing. He was also trying to be conscious that I didn't want to spend a lot of money so he was trying to solve problems the most cost-effective way possible. If anything, I would've actually gone a little further (which I'm sure he would've been happy to do) but in the moment I left it at the minimum. The work got done without any surprises.
I've had the deck now for close to 6 months now and I don't have any complaints, especially when you consider the competitiveness of the quote. I know it can be concerning given the past history, but I would strongly suggest giving Steve a chance (the quote is free after all) and worst-case scenario, approach any work on a piece-meal basis.