If you need to have a fence built, there are four things that you’ll need to consider before the work starts. These are:
- Using the best materials so that the fence is durable
- Finding the best fence contractor in terms of professionalism and expertise.
- Finding a fence contractor that will do the job to your specifications
- Getting the best possible price
Getting all four right can be difficult. Typically, you’ll get quotes and opt for the lowest one. That, unfortunately, could be a mistake. Just about anyone can call themselves a contractor. Those with the lowest prices are often desperate for work—and, because they’ve undercut their prices, they need to get the job done as fast and as cheaply as possible.
Neither of which bodes well for the longevity of your fence or the potential landscape improvement value it might have. It’s worth paying a bit more upfront and knowing that your home improvement company does not have to rush or cut corners so that they can get to the next job.
What to Look for When Choosing a Fence Contractor
The next question that we need to answer, then, is what to look for when you’re choosing a fencing contractor. In this section, we’ll go through what you should look for in a professional contractor. We’ll also go through red flags that indicate that you need to keep on looking.
How Do You Contact Them?
Being able to communicate with your contractor is essential. How they facilitate that communication is a good indicator of how well they’ll keep you in the loop later. How many ways are there to contact them? How do they answer the phone? Do they get back to you quickly?
What to Look For:
- A professional greeting when the call is answered. A professional greeting includes the name of the company.
- An address that can be easily verified and an established website. Companies that are here today and gone tomorrow usually won’t have a well-established site or provide an address. This is so that you can’t find them if they rip you off.
- Reviews online. Check out the reviews online for the company. It’s normal for there to be one or two customers that post bad reviews out of spite. It’s not normal for most of the reviews to be bad, though.
- Don’t just rely on the first few results on the page. A company could be very good at search engine optimization, but that’s no indicator of how good they are at building fences.
- A contractor pushing you to hire them on the spot is a bad sign.
- Someone demanding that you only pay in cash is also a red flag. The company can offer cash discounts but should also provide alternative payment options. Also, be wary of the contractor that wants the full amount upfront.
- Contractors that don’t want to give you a written quote. Without a written quote upfront, there might be a he said-she said issue later if the contractor tries to tack on extra charges.
What Questions to Ask
- What materials are going to work best for your project? Why are these best?
- What steps will be taken in building or repairing the fence?
- What could potentially impact the final price?
- How will they make sure that the fence is finished on time?
- Does the contractor provide a warranty on their work or the materials?
- Have any charges been left off the quote? For example, ripping out the old fence or getting permits?
- Could materials from the existing fence be reused in the new installation?
Never Stick with the First Quote You Get
No matter how amazing the deal is, always get at least three different quotes. That will give you a reasonable idea of what a fair price is. You can then judge if you’re getting a deal that seems too good to be true.
Always Vet Each Contractor Individually
You want to get a feeling for how well you’ll be able to work together. How good are they at getting back to you when necessary? What is their manner like? Do you feel comfortable talking to them?
What is Their Website Like?
A lot of us will use the internet to narrow down a list of potential contractors. Having a website is a basic requirement for conducting business today. The site itself will tell you a lot about the company.
If the site is professionally designed, it should be easy to navigate and look modern. If the site was developed back in the nineties and hasn’t been updated since this tells you something about the contractor.
Red flags on the site are things like typos, outdated phone numbers, and very little information on the company itself. If the company can’t be bothered to get their site polished and perfected, how much care and effort will they put into your fence?
Also check whether or not they are licensed, how long they’ve been operating for, and what products they tend to use. Check their online portfolio and see if you can recognize any of the places they’ve previously worked.
If they’re local, you should be able to match up the photos with actual locations in your city. If you don’t recognize anything, the company might be using stock photos. That should be a big red flag. What are they hiding? Or is it that they don’t have experience of their own?
Also, be sure to Google the company name and reviews. Check the social media page of the company as well. If they’re good, there will be clients who are delighted with their service. These clients will then make their feelings known in a review on social media.
Checking how up to date their social media posts are, and how good they are at answering questions on their social media pages gives you an indication of the level of professionalism you can expect. Are there questions or concerns that keep coming up? That’s a big red flag.
Can You Get a Free Quote on Their Site?
It’s not an infallible way of knowing you’re dealing with a good contractor, but it is an indication of how transparent they are about their pricing. A good contractor should be able to give a basic estimate based on price per yard.
How Long Have They Been in Business?
A business with twenty years of experience is not necessarily going to do a better job than a startup. However, if the company is well-established, they must be doing something right. At least you know that they have experience in the field.
First Impressions Count
The amount of effort that the contractor puts into the first meeting can be a good indicator of how things will go from here on out. If the contractor shows up late or looks scruffy these are both very bad signs.
It’s also worth looking at the type of vehicle that they have when they come to the appointment. If it’s an old beat-up truck that seems to be on its last legs, that may indicate that the contractor’s business is not going well.
How well they are prepared for the meeting is also important. Do they have price lists and brochures ready to go? A professional contractor should have done proper prep work for your meeting.
How the consultation goes is also extremely important. What questions did they ask you? How well did they answer your questions, and how knowledgeable were they? Are they willing to give you real answers to the tougher questions?
Do They Have Employees or Day Workers?
Most companies will hire day workers to bulk up numbers for bigger jobs. That said, if the owner is the only permanent employee, that’s a red flag. Why can they not afford to employ someone full time?
What Type of Estimate Did You Get?
You asked for a written quote, so it’s worth looking at that quote and how it’s been done. Is it scrawled on some random piece of paper, or does it look professional? It’s simple enough to fill in an estimate using a computer, so there’s no reason not to have a comprehensive quote.
On the quote, you should be provided with project details, what the costs of materials will be, and how long the project will take. A professional quote is itemized so that you can nail down what each item on the list will cost you.
The next thing to check is what kind of follow-up the contractor does. A professional contractor should phone within a day or two to see whether you want to go ahead. They should also want to clear up any other questions you might have.
The contractor should contact you once or twice as a follow-up, giving you enough time between contacts to ensure that you’ve had time to think. If they’re hounding you to take up their offer, run.
With the advice that we’ve given you above, you should be well on your way to finding the right contractor for your project. You should also be able to narrow down potential options a lot more easily.
Do You Need a Fence to Be Built?
At Capital Fence in Poolesville, MD, we put our clients first. We are more than happy to give you a free, written quote on your desired fencing. We’ll provide you with all the information that you need to make your final decision.
We’ll gladly answer any questions that you might have, so give us a call today and find out how we can build the ideal fence for you.