Cedar Deck

A Word to Our Customers About Scheduling

We at The Fence and Deck Centre have been in business since 1979. Scheduling has been a problem since the very first day. Unfortunately, a deck or a fence is not a manufactured item. It is custom built, and can’t be pre-fabricated. Wood, believe it or not, is a semi perishable item. It can’t be stockpiled 2 months in advance without discolouring or cracking.

In order to keep up with the volume of work, we have as many as 30 installers during the peak season, plus a bookkeeper, 3 or more sales people, a delivery driver and an operations manager. With that many people Murphy’s Law will always show up.

A related problem is that we are a highly seasonal business. No one wants a deck built in February. Hence, we need scads of skilled people during the season, but have literally nothing for them to do from the end of November til mid-March. Consequently, it is very difficult to get skilled office staff for just 7 months. It’s pretty hard to train people in all the subtleties of the industry when you and they know they’re gone by October 1.

On top of all that, especially since we work outside, we have a million things to cope with that you just don’t see in a large manufacturing facility or a busy office.

When we give you an installation date, it is estimated to the best of our ability.

On any given day, however, we have to contend with:

  • late or missed deliveries (amazing how often a 3 hour late delivery driver shows up 30 seconds after the crew leaves to get lunch, and then radios to his office that we weren’t there! And he does this after he leaves, without dropping the material of course)
  • short shipped deliveries from suppliers (can’t they read our purchase order?)
  • Traffic: we don’t have to remind you how bad gridlock is getting in Toronto
  • Rain or Snow, Heat or Cold, sunlight or darkness, wind or humidity. Hey, it’s Canada. Sometimes we have that all in one day!
  • out of 20 or 30 workers, we will have someone sick, sad, depressed, or unhappy. On the other hand, they may be so happy they feel that they just have to go smell the roses. Sometimes someone will have to take a day off to go to the dentist, the doctor, their child’s school, the park, the movies, or the mall. They may have a sick wife, child, friend, relative, or mistress who needs attention. They may or may not tell us in advance.
  • With any number of vehicles on the go (our own support trucks, plus our crew trucks), we may have a vehicle breakdown, a flat tire, a missing or broken tool, an empty gas tank, no windshield washer fluid, or a driver who needs his morning jolt of Timmies (from his favourite location, the one with the cute counter person, which is always in the opposite direction to your project!)
  • In the office, there might be a lost file, a damaged photo copier, crashed computer, dead phone lines, a power outage, no internet, a broken coffee machine, unexpected visitors, too much important gossip (one of our major suppliers is pregnant: you’d be amazed how much time that has taken up), or a visit from Mr. Murphy
  • cell phones can mysteriously break, only to start working again right after work

The actual job itself can take longer than planned for many reasons:

  • The customer could make changes or additions to or from the original plan
  • Human Error
  • a complicated design just takes longer to build than anticipated
  • neighbours come by and chat up the crew
  • Someone could leave their man-eating dog outside
  • the homeowner falls into the hole we just dug
  • somehow the crew misses the coffee truck and thus has to leave the site for a caffeine jolt
  • the homeowner’s supply of water, pop, and snacks somehow dries up
  • the homeowner’s swimming pool beckons
  • the outdoor receptacle blows a fuse and no one is home. Of course the neighbour balks at lending a dollar’s worth of electricity
  • Old man Murphy, again

Please bear with us this season, when you thought we’d be done in two weeks and we’re not. We have learned not to artificially rush a job, no matter what. It only creates chaos, and that opens up room for misunderstanding and poor workmanship.

Your satisfaction at the end of the day is far too important to shortchange you on your dream project.