We contracted Rick and RBM to build our deck.  Rick was very eager to work with us and to figure out the best plan given our space and monetary constraints.  We had talked to over a dozen contractors, and Rick had the best plan and cost for what we wanted.  Overall we are very satisfied with the work they did: the deck is beautiful (neighbors keep gushing about it), it is sturdy as can be, and a great use of the space. 

The team also helped us with random projects (see below).  The work was all high quality, and very reasonable relative to the costs. 
There were a couple of hiccups and disagreements throughout the process, but we were able to work them all out. We would definitely recommend working with these guys. 

Below are more specific details:

The cost of the deck was divided into materials and a set labor fee for RBM.  After much shopping around, this was the cheapest situation we could find without sacrificing quality.  Also Rick was very knowledgeable and flexible in helping us pick the right plan for our space.  In fact, the design we ended up with would not have been possible/affordable with any of the other contractors we talked

One of the biggest issues we had was that Rick had underquoted the material costs by a decent margin (~1200).  He was very apologetic and it was clear that it was an “honest mistake”.  But nonetheless, we were not too happy about this.  There was some initial tension
over how to deal with it, but eventually we reached an agreement whereby they would help with some additional projects we wanted without charging labor (only materials).  Through this agreement we were able to: get a utility sink installed in the basement, install
wainscoting in the bathroom, add lights and outlets to the basement, and install a faucet on the deck.  Finally, they custom fitted a fire pit and ran a gas line through the house and onto the deck, meaning we now have a fire pit that turns on with a key!  The quality of all these projects was first rate, and it really helped to get these projects taken care of.  Overall, we are very happy with the compensation for the misquoted materials. 

It should also be noted that Rick had to deal with the Manlius inspector, who is notoriously specific and picky.  The consequence of this was that Rick had to use 6x6 posts instead of the standard 4x4, which involved renting an additional piece of equipment (and likely other costs).  We were very happy that Rick did not pass those costs on to us, and still pushed on with the project. 

One last thought about the composite material we used on the deck.  We really like it, but one downside that we were unaware of is that it is often wet.  That is, the dew and rain doesn’t soak into the material, so in the mornings there is usually standing droplets on the
deck.  It’s not a big deal at all, but something that others might want to consider when choosing their material.

Corey W.