To the Marshalls Register,
I have just had a Marshalls approved installer experience that I would like to share with you.
It all started with a moment of weakness in mid September 2014 when I agreed for a cold caller to do my drive, I had agreed a price, and to our surprise within an hour they had started the job. Day one was removing existing slabs and preparing and leveling the ground. Day two was laying the blocks, three quarters off the drive was laid by 2.30 pm of the second day and fortunately for us this was when trading standards stepped in to stop the job due to a follow up on fly tipping.
The only good thing about the job at this stage was that no money had changed hands and thanks to our local trading standards representative none ever did.
Trading standards recommended that we should look into the Marshalls Register of Approved Contractors, which we did.
I contacted five installers from the list, four appeared and three submitted a quote. Only two of the quotes where within our price range. We decided to go with the higher of the two quotes, not only because he was most local to us but because what he explained to us sounded like what we would like after our initial experience, plus his quotation was broken down and far easier to understand.
The installer we chose was James Black of Adept Home Improvements Gourock, his input and enthusiasm made him the right man for the job. He suggested a change to our original choice of walling for the boundary walls from a red clay Dornach facing (to match our conservatory) to Marshalls grey tumbled Marshalite walling in order to create a better contrast between our choice of block paving. The paving we chose was Driveline Elise (Brindle). James also suggested using Marshalls Argent paving within the borders to bring the drive and walling together, we agreed to his suggestions.
As the job progressed James was most accommodating with any suggestions that we made and helped tremendously with his own input of ideas.
I would like to say James and I got on amicably well. When James started I always tried to envisage how the finished job would look at the end. The finished quality was way more above and beyond my greatest anticipation and expectations.
I am so grateful to the cold callers for forcing me into the situation of having to get a proper job done, I am grateful to Trading Standards on recommending the Marshalls Register of Approved Contractors and most of all I am grateful to the Marshalls Register for introducing me to James Black from Adept Home Improvements. I cannot contain myself about our new drive, I want to tell and show everyone just how good it turned out.
Your customer satisfaction card does not do James justice as it only goes up to 5, not nearly enough for this project, this is my main reason for writing and to say that my new drive is a worthy example to display in your next brochure. Please come and see for yourself sometime!
As you will no doubt gather, I am very pleased with the finished article, and to say I am ECSTATIC would be to say the least in one word.
The above may sound a bit over the top, but so is my new driveway.....and worth every penny!
I am yours faithfully
"I had my front steps to the house replaced by Adept Home Improvements recently and I am very pleased with the work they did. The work was carried out very efficiently with the minimum of disruption. I would certainly recommend them to friends."
We had been wanting to do our drive for some time and had some various quotes. We were told that tar replacement was the only option at huge expense by a big contractor. We had seen James and Jims work at a neighbours and could see their meticulous quality.
We heard excellent reports on value!
We asked James for a quote. We had a rough idea but James showed what could be done with a skilled eye. He came up with the idea of steps, from a blocked drive to a new patio in front of the house which got the best view.
We were immediately struck by his "can do" enthusiasm to tackle our steep drive, remove big shrubs and landscape the front garden.
He produced detailed plans and costing by email over a weekend with 3 options. These included replacing the existing patios with sandstone and blocking. He gave us the Marshall's catalogue and we noted that he was an approved contractor.
He knew the available colours and stones well with good advice on what would match the house.
We thought about the plans and asked about a turning bay extension. We had previously been told this would require a retaining wall which would increase the costs. However James could see a way to get the levels correct across the whole project and came back with a plan and costing.
We then asked about LED lights embedded in the steps and patio and once again this was "no problem". Then came a suggestion for light posts around the driveway from James to enhance the whole effect with remote control sensors from the car for winter nights.
We agreed the budget and they just worked exceptionally hard to complete the job as efficiently as possible.
James project managed the whole project with diggers, lorries, machines and an array of highly qualified tradesmen arriving with experienced efficiency. James and Jim worked 12 hour days in all weathers. They are completely honest and trustworthy. We left them the keys to the house when we were away with complete confidence. They were very tidy outside and cleared up methodically as the project progressed.
This is where it pays to get the proper skills for a job like this. We have a friend that has had a driveway done by a local non approved contractor and she has had to take action for poor work.
James' ground preparation is "everything" with deep compacted hardcore on a membrane before the sand and blocks. The blocks are also properly anchored with edging.
James' mastery with the blocking was displayed with an edging of black blocks laid like a roman floor mosaic around the whole drive and set off with diamond patterns at the start of the drive way. On the patio Indian sandstone slabs have been laid in a clever pattern with a circle to add visual interest and the LED lights cut into the circle. The front door steps have been refashioned with the slabs and improved by James.
His masterpiece however, is the sweeping steps curving up with a widening sweep and inlaid LEDs on each step on alternating sides to give visual interest. He also came up with the idea of "cobbling" the edging blocks to make it more interesting in the detailing. Again all James ideas.
He created a new flower bed edged by cobbled blocks and lights to complete the new effect. The attention to detail throughout is obvious. All the blocks and slabs are carefully cut to fit the odd shapes and curves required. There are no unsightly gaps or fits.
They finished off the whole project when we were away with landscaped turfing done with meticulous skill. They even came back at night to water the turf to make sure it took.
Mike Walker, the Marshall's assessor travelled up from Newcastle during the project and gave them an excellent report.
In summary, with James and Jim from Adept you get years of meticulous experience, visionary design ideas and they don't rip you off. They are indeed Adept!
They are honest and reliable tradesmen with clear and justified pride in their work. We can't recommend them highly enough and we are glad we did not accept previous higher quotes from other local companies.
The only outstanding task is to invite them to our next Bar B Que!
We have already recommended them to a friend who has them starting on her drive this week.
Dr James Douglas, Fort William.