When comparing contractors many customers use price as the primary determining factor. Many variables will affect the total price of a deck including the cost of labor, materials and the general health of the economy in your area. In short the contractors will probably charge whatever the market will bear. Find out what system the contractor uses to determine a price for a deck project. This is usually a function of the size of the deck, the expense of the materials selected, and the relative complexity of the design as it relates to the cost of labor. You will want to establish a budget for the project to give the contractor some guidance in determining your deck design. Most deck contractor’s prices for a similar project should be in the same ballpark. If someone is unbelievably higher or lower than everyone else you will want to find out why. You may have to pay more for an experienced builder or to reserve the best construction crew. Find out how and when you are supposed to pay? Most deck contracts work off of a progressive payment schedule which will require you to pay a certain percentage up front as a down payment and allow you to pay the remainder at different stages throughout the project. Pricing is an important factor, but don’t let it dictate your decision. Remember you get what you pay for.