Excuses. It’s one of the worst things you might expect from deck contractors. And who wants to get an unreasonable answer after a couple of follow-ups? It’s time for you to find the best deck builder for your home.

Here are the three tips you must follow.

BOOK AN APPOINTMENT

As you scout for the right contractor, a search engine is your best friend. It gives you the top-rated lists of contractors nearby your area. It provides reviews from the companies’ previous clients. The client’s testimonials serve as a concrete basis before you come up with your final decision.

But if you plan to do the first stage of the project virtually, you must change course. Although a free quote service is convenient, you’ll never know the true character of the people you’ll be dealing with until you see them in person.

Don’t be lazy and book an appointment.

When you meet your contractors, you’ll see if they are punctual, respectful and patient. You want them to come on time on your first day. You want them to be respectful to you despite a limited budget. And you want them to be patient when you’re undecided on some parts of the project. You expect them to have professional traits during the entire project.

You’ll never know these things if you only speak to them online.

When you meet them, you can ask important questions. In an online set-up, you may not get full details from a customer service representative.

Ask the same questions to the contractors you’ll meet. It will help you when it’s time to compare your notes.

CHECK PORTFOLIO AND SWATCHES

The deck building process needs a solid plan. It guides your contractor throughout the project. It’s your role to determine the materials, special features and outcome of the project. It’s the basis of your contractor for alternative materials to use to match your budget.

When alternative materials become necessary, you need to see a visual sample. Your contractor can describe the material vividly, but it’s more concrete if you see it in photos.

A professional deck contractor will have a portfolio on hand and swatches — even on your first meet-up. Visual samples can avoid guesswork.

REVIEW THE CONTRACT

Before signing the contract, review it. You can ask your contractor to give you the time to check the details listed in the contract. It’s a way to test if the contractor pays attention to your conversation.

Contractors must explain the project in a simple manner, but it must be detailed enough to show how meticulous the contractor works on paper. If the contractor takes the time to put the information on paper, it’s a good sign of hard work until the project ends.

The first stage of hiring a deck contractor may be tedious. But it won’t give you much of a headache and you can avoid communication hiccups if you follow these tips.