Fences are not merely used for aesthetic purposes. They are primarily used to provide security to our home, protect our privacy and delineate our property boundaries. Hence, constructing your fences is serious business and must be relegated to experts. Apart from ensuring quality work, it may also involve permits because it must comply with local fencing policies. Moreover, safety in construction must also be observed because its construction may strike into public sewage, pipes and even electricity laid underground. Because of these, finding the best fence contractor is no easy task. Homeowners and property managers are also faced with typical problems like if a contractor is duly licensed and insured and can provide the best quality work. While there is no standard way of finding the best fence contractor, here are tips to make it easier for you to find one.
Get referrals. While the most evident way to get referrals for any service is through your friends and neighbors, it becomes problematic if none of the people you know knows anybody contracting fences. In which case, you can opt to get referrals from people who are always in touch with such contractors such as hardware stores and home construction supply depots. Getting referrals is one sure way to find fencing contractors and get immediate feedback as word of mouth advertising, whether good or bad, is prevalent in this industry.
Check the web. Almost all business now has on online presence. And most reputable companies have great websites. To find fence contractors, simply search the internet and get the contact numbers of the available fence contractors that are near to your home. Reviewing the sites of said companies is also important to check on their background including their portfolios and references. At this point, it is advisable to get at least three potential fence contractor for comparative purposes.
Solicit for estimates and proposals. Once you have identified your prospective fence contractors, you should contact them and ask for proposals. At this point, it is worth noting that serious fencing contractors will visit your property in person before making any proposal. This is because, fence makers not only need to measure the site but also needs to see your location, land topography, obstructions, property line among others. They also recognize the importance of designing your fence in accordance with your home design, neighborhood theme, local ordinances, personal preferences, and needs. It goes without saying that you should avoid contractors who haphazardly or casually give estimates and proposals over the phone without even seeing your property.
Get multiple proposals. Since you are comparing prospective contractors, solicit estimates and proposals from all of them. If possible, get multiple proposals based on specified alterations, preferences or changes. For instance, changes in materials used would necessarily have corresponding changes in the contract price.
In line with making estimates, you should also give your fair share to make it easier for contractors to make estimates such as leashing dogs, clearing obstructions, making property accessible, revealing other issues or concerns and predetermining the type and design of fence you want. Knowing what you want helps in getting more accurate estimates because the type, design, and materials of the fence and gates affect the cost estimate of the contractor. Issues like the allowable height of the fence, applying for city permits to construct a fence and calling utilities to mark sewages, canals, cable lines, and other underground obstructions also adds to the cost of the fence construction.
Check the background of the contractor. Checking background is the typical way of establishing the reputation of anyone including fence contractors. In particular, you should check on the portfolio or previous works of the fence contractor in order to give you a first-hand glimpse of the work quality and capability of the contractor. While websites would often feature or showcase past jobs of a contractor, it would be better if you see them personally especially if it’s just within your neighborhood. Thus, you may ask contractor of the addresses of their previous works and even get feedback from people who contracted them. There is no better way to get a hint of a contractor’s quality than from the people who have had first-hand experience dealing with them. Aside from their work per se, you will also gain information on how they work e.g. if they are easy to communicate with, if they are fast, if they accommodate minor request changes or if they are stress-free to deal with.
Part of checking background includes checking the number of years the contractor has been in business. This helps you gauge their experience in doing fences. Constructing fences involves skills that can only be learned through experience. However, a relatively young company may not necessarily be mediocre if you check on their principals and staff. In which case, you can opt to call your local Chamber and Better Business Bureaus to verify how long has the company been engaged in fence construction. And while at this, you can opt to include checking of its history of criticisms or complaints and as well as its resolutions in order to help you better assess the contractor's business dealings.
Work Timeline and schedule. Constructing a fence is a major work and can be a hassle for your daily activities. Thus, it is worth knowing in advance how long the contractor can do the work and when it will be finished. Good contractors with extensive experience can also estimate time of work more effectively than second-rate contractors. However, you should also give them some leeway due to certain fortuitous events such as strong rains or calamities that can cause delays. Note also that construction is most in demand during spring and summer hence, the contractor may take more time to get back to you in case of back jobs.
Warranties/ Insurance. You should ask what kind of warranties and insurance does a prospective fence contractor offer. In particular, know if their warranty covers the materials, labor or both. In most case, a good fence contract provides manufacturers’ warranties for materials defects. If the deficiency lies on its own craftsmanship, however, the fence contractor should provide the warranty.