Building a deck involves a substantial monetary investment. It can often be as expensive as buying a new or used car. You never want to buy a lemon. You should approach these major purchases with the same amount of caution and attention to detail. Don’t be afraid to test drive some decks before making your final decision on a contractor. Ask for some references in your area. Take a couple of hours out of your weekend to visit a few of their past customers. This will allow you to gain first-hand information of how things went and see what the final product looks like. Inspect the details of their craftsmanship. Find out when the deck was built and see how well it has held up with time. Ask if there were any problems dealing with the contractor, especially, how easy it was to communicate with them and if the project finished on time and on budget. You may also want to ask your contractors if they are members of the Better Business Bureau or listed as preferred contractors on Decks.com. These valuable sites offer published documentation of the level of customer satisfaction on their previous projects.