Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions that we hear from a lot of our potential customers. At the end of this section, there is a list of some questionable practices of some other companies to look out for. You can skip ahead to that section by clicking HERE.
How long have you been in business and how many backyard projects have you built?
Decathlon Construction opened its doors on March 12th, 2003. We have over 2000 backyard projects completed.
What kind of references can you provide? Are you part of the Better Business Bureau?
Upon receiving an onsite quote, you will be given a reference list with over 200 past customers. We have been a part of the BBB for 9 years, with zero complaints over that time. We have an A+ BBB rating.
How large is Decathlon Construction? Are you a franchise?
We are not a franchise; we are a family owned small business. You can reference the “About Us” section if you would like to know more about our company’s history. All in all, we have about 20 people on our team.
What forms of payment to you accept?
We take and much prefer personal check, but we also take Visa and MasterCard. We do not accept American Express or Discover. A check is preferred because of the ever rising fees that credit card companies charge the vendor, which in the case of small businesses, is much higher than a very large volume outfit.
What are your payment terms?
On a typical job, we do 50% at the start of the job (after material delivery), 25% after the framing of the project is complete, and 25% at the completion. On very large jobs, we sometimes add one more draw. If you use a Credit card, the full balance is due the day we start.
Why are your terms different for a Credit Card?
We have to pay a fee, 3-5% depending on the card, on the total amount when a card is used. Charging it all up front gives us extra cash flow to compensate for the fees we must pay.
How long will my job take?
If you are ordering a basic patio cover/concrete project, you are looking at 1-2 weeks of real time. If there are additional needed inspections or masonry work, we can let you know how much longer it will be.
We have a Home Owners Association, and our city wants a permit, do you handle that?
Yes, we handle all the red tape. If you give us a blank copy of the HOA application, and a survey of your property, we will handle it all for you.
Does my job require a permit?
That depends on the job and the city. We can answer that for you during the onsite visit. Every city has different rules and ordinances.
I have no idea how to cover my existing space, and neither did the first couple of guys that came out to look at it. Is this a problem?
Many of our jobs begin with the customer saying “Nobody else could cover this space”, or “I have no idea how we can cover this space”. We have been around the block a few times. Odd shaped areas are usually not as big of a deal as you might think.
Your stuff looks better than the other things we see online, but I can’t put my finger on it. Why is this?
There are several reasons why our pictures stand out. Scaling is a big issue, using the correct size posts, beams, and things like gables for the job. Our jobs flow better and transition better. Our trim transitions much better from the underside. Our team is highly experienced and takes pride in their work, which shows in the product. I can explain more about why your job will look better as a Decathlon job during an onsite visit.
How does your pricing compare to other companies?
We are hands down the best value on the market. If a company is charging less than us, it is because of a tangible difference in the job making it cheaper, or they are leaving out several things that you will end up adding on at the end. Many companies charge in the same range as we do, but we can give you a better product and better service for that price.
What is your lead time before you can start my job?
We are busy year round, but the lead time does tend to be less during the winter. Typically, we are around 5-7 weeks out from starting new jobs.
Your lead time to come give me an estimate and to start the job is longer than other companies. Why is this?
I would rather lose a few jobs that do not want to wait, than to water down the product and add inexperienced crews and team members in order to get more done faster.
How long has your team members been with you?
In short, many years. Our least experienced team member has been here 4 years, while our longest has been here almost 10 years. A big part of giving you an excellent product is having team members that love their job and take pride in their work. We work hard to keep these guys around.
Do I need to be home while you build my job?
No, most of our customers are not home while we work. We only need access to the breaker panel, which is usually located in your garage, in case we trip a breaker, other than that you can go about your business as usual.
Are your crews in house or do you use sub contractors?
It is a combination of the two. Our carpentry crews are all in house. Some of the items, such as electrical, are technically sub contracted. However, any sub contractor we use has been part of the team for many years, and Decathlon Construction is more than half of their workload. We do not have any of the issues associated with sub contractors.
What are some of the things that other companies don’t do
that we need to look out for?
There are quite a few things, but we have listed out 10 of the most important ones here:
- Undersized beams are very common. Many companies do not know where to even get a 6x12 piece of cedar, but that is our standard beam size. You will see a lot of undersized beams, which sag structurally, and also do not look nearly as stout and aesthetically pleasing.
- Many companies don’t use flashing. This is a big and common no-no. If it’s not flashed, it *will* leak. It is not a question of if, but a question of when, and usually that answer is soon. We fully flash and counter flash every masonry connection.
- Many companies do not bolt to the wood frame of the house and instead use the brick veneer. This will cause cracking all through the brick, and eventually the cover will start to pull away from the wall. Cities require a wood connection, but they can’t actually see it to inspect it, so you need to trust your contractor.
- Piers are a critical part of the structure that many companies leave out. About half the cities in the Dallas metroplex do not do a pier inspection, so you need to trust your contractor to put in the proper piers to support the structure. These are large holes in the ground filled with concrete. If you are talking with a contractor that says you can build a shingled cover right on top of your 4” slab without piers, throw that quote to the discard pile.
- Many crews at other companies do not speak any English. Communication is everything. It is a requirement to work here that you speak English.
- Inexperienced workers are common at most companies. Our men have been part of our team for many years, and love and enjoy what they do. Our team’s advantage in morale and experience pays big dividends in the final product.
- Some processes of stamped concrete apply the color after the concrete is dry. This requires the sealant to be re-applied very often. We trowel the color into the concrete while it is wet so that once we seal the concrete, it is 100% done with no maintenance required.
- Customer service is generally very poor in this industry. We take great pride in being able to provide an excellent customer experience during your job. You will be notified before materials are dropped, before our men get there, and if you have questions during the job they can be answered by a number of different people. We believe the process is as important as the product.
- Quotes you get will often times be one price for everything instead of being broken down. From us, you will receive a detailed and itemized list of what we are doing, and what each piece costs. Giving you one big number with shady details is not transparent and leaves you wondering exactly what you are getting, and guarantees you will need to add extras to get what you expect.
- Many companies will have no pictures, or just a few. Some companies have printed pictures from our website and used them in their presentation. Also, many will not provide you with references. During the onsite quote, you will have access to almost 300 11x17 inch fully laminated photos of jobs we have built. You will receive a 220 customer long reference list. Do not buy from someone with no pictures (or someone else’s pictures), and no references.
Thank you for reading through our FAQ! If you have any questions not answered here, or have any other concerns with other companies you do not see in this list, please feel free to ask us!