Custom or Standard?

In this blog I wanted to share my thoughts on standard and custom designs.  Financially it seems that the standard projects are resulting in better returns, no surprises, conveyor principle etc.  Standard projects also take up a lot less of my personal time and energy, as our system and staff can handle these quite easily.  To be honest, when I meet with our potential clients, and it seems like they want a simple (what I would call "simple") deck, I do not try and convince them to do something custom or out of the ordinary.  If clients want a relatively standard, functional deck - we will do our best to build it to the highest quality standards and make the process as worry free as possible.  I do not think that everyone "needs" a unique deck.  As I see it, there are different personalities and different sets of priorities in life.  

I would say 20-30% of the clients do want something unique and they want to express themselves through their outdoor project.  Financially these are not the best projects for us as they almost always involve us doing something we have never done before and since all the risk is on us, a lot of the times things take slower than anticipated.  However, the end result is pleasing to me personally.  I consider it a blessing to enjoy the work of my hands or imagination.  I like to create.  If we look around, there is a lot of variation in nature, everything is so unique in so many different ways, each one of us is also unique.  it is my belief that God likes uniqueness and takes pleasure in creating something "good" and that we are created in His image and that we express ourselves best when we follow that image.  

So, here is our little secret, if you want something unique, chances are we will be investing a lot more of ourselves into your project for the same unit rate.  Or to phrase this differently, more of our hours per $1 spent by you.  Having 80% of our projects as highly "custom" would be very tough given our annual turn over, but as it is right now and the current level of my personal involvement.  So if you've read this post, you know something that not all of our clients know.

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