Business Operations

Lessons Learned for Deck Builders

Deck builders across the country are taking note of some of the biggest lessons they’ve learned and logging them away for the
future.

How pros have done business better during COVID

Deck builders across the country are taking note of some of the biggest lessons they’ve learned and logging them away for the
future.

Planning is Vital

Mark King, founder of Minnesota-based Infinite Decks, stressed the importance of preparation, especially when it comes to partnerships. “Preparation and planning is key!” King said. “Working with a quality lumberyard that allows me to pre order materials for
upcoming projects so the material is ready when we are has been a saving grace!”

Don’t Assume

When it comes to knowing the market, never assume you know it all, says Christopher French, founder of French’s Custom Outdoor Concepts in San Antonio. “I learned not to assume I know the market. When this all hit, I was just starting a project that was bank funded,” French explained. “The lockdowns went into place over the weekend and the customers had to cancel the loan. Thankfully that project went off without a hitch and then the rest of the year showed extreme growth. We went from a one-man show to now three separate crews still working on jobs sold in mid-2020.”

Communication is Essential

Brendan Casey of Casey Fence & Deck found that most of the lessons he’s learned relate directly to communication in addition to shifting
market focus. “As builders, we have learned several important things: communication is KEY. Order materials as early as possible and stay
in close contact with your suppliers to know what they have in stock. Lastly, this has forced us to streamline and focus on what generates
the highest profitability while maintaining our reputation as a company that will stand behind our contracts and projects regardless of the
situation,” said Casey.

A Higher Interest in Home Improvement

Like most in the industry, Thien Nguyen, founder of N.C.-based Dirty Durham Decks, noted the obvious uptick in home improvement
upgrades since the pandemic hit. “I’ve learned that there is a higher interest in home improvement services during quarantine.
People are spending most of their time at home now and are looking for ways to renew and improve the space they live in. This could mean building a new deck as well as buying new living commodities like furniture and appliances for the house. I project a higher demand in home improvement services and products for the years to come,” said Nguyen.

Make Lemons out of Lemonade

“We have not only learned to make the best of a bad situation, we have found ways to work smart, improve efficiency and trim costs,” said
James Carey from On The House. “In the early stages of the pandemic we weren’t clear what the future would hold. We needed to immediately find ways to interface with our business prospects without the ability to enjoy our traditional in-home visit.

“Like the rest of the world, we discovered the power of videoconferencing. We immediately began promoting virtual design consultations.
It has been one of the best things that has happened to our business in ages. We have discovered that necessity is the mother of invention.”

526 Media Group

Publisher of two monthly magazines for LBM dealers and distributors—The Merchant Magazine, founded in 1922 to serve the western U.S., and Building Products Digest, formed in 1982 to serve east of the Rockies.

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