Fencing Contractor Tips
Choosing a Reputable Fence Installer:
- Does the contractor maintain a commercial place of business?
Seek a fence installer with experience and references. Be aware that many contractors pose as professionals, yet they work out of their homes or garages. This type of contractor may not be available to service your product once it is installed. Research your installer as closely as you research the product that is to be installed. Feel free to contact your local area Better Business Bureau to obtain a report on the potential fence installer, fence contractor or business.
- Does the fence contractor install and service his fencing using his employees or does he subcontract out to others?
Choosing a fence contractor who utilizes his own employees is important because an employee is governed by the company who employees him. This type of working relationship is more beneficial due to the fact that most reputable fence companies will train all employees "in house" and have total control over all shipping dates, materials used and days and times in which jobs are scheduled. There is better communication in selecting a fence company that installs its own jobs. The fence installer you select should be able to give you a complete time table for your job. Fence contractors who "sub" out their work do not always have good control over the sub as the subcontractor schedules his own work at his convenience. Many times a sub will perform several jobs at one time. Depending on how they rank your job will depend on where you fall amongst their work schedule.
- Does the contractor back up his work by a written guarantee?
It is the norm of the fence industry to provide a residential customer with a written one-year labor warranty.
- How long has the installer/company been in operation?
Find out if the installer has the experience needed in your specific product and make sure they specialize in fence installation. Be advised that a "jack of all trades" may not possess the proper knowledge needed to tackle the installation of certain types of fencing.
- Is the potential fence installer licensed, bonded and insured?
- What is a license and why is it important that your installer possess one?
A reputable installer, company or contractor should always be licensed in the cities that he works in. A license acts as work permit. It means that he has filled out the proper paperwork and paid the cities fees in order to legally work in your city. It is just another step in dealing with a reputable person. The city screens its candidates and makes sure that they do not have previous violations.
- What does it mean to be bonded and insured and why is this important to me?
It is important to seek a professional that has the proper coverage and that has taken the time to be accredited in your city. Choosing a contractor who is licensed in your city means that they do not have any outstanding violations.
- Does the individual you are considering possess knowledge of the fence regulations and codes which are in place within your city or township?
All fence regulations must be followed in order to avoid potential hazards.
- Are references available upon request?
For your own protection, take the time to speak to existing customers and also take the time to view the potential contractors' work.
- What type of work ethic does this installer possess?
Can you get a specific time frame as to delivery of materials, days and times of installation, length of time for installation? Some fence systems may be installed the same day whereas other fence systems take two separate days for installation. Make sure you get a thorough explanation as to the time frame expected to install your particular type of fencing. For your own protection, make sure you get all the details.
- Be leery of an installer who is asking for all the money up front.
Most reputable installers will seek half down and the balance upon satisfactory completion of his work. Other individuals will seek 30 percent, upon post setting, with the balance becoming due upon satisfactory completion of his work. Work out the terms of payment or payment schedule prior to commencement of work on your project!
- Does this fence installer use concrete to set the fence posts?
If yes, how long does he allow the concrete to "set" prior to returning to finish the job? It is standard practice in the fence industry to set all chain link posts, ornamental aluminum, steel, iron, wood fence systems and vinyl in concrete footers. The exception to the rule is if these fence systems are to be utilized in situations where the fencing will be mounted between pillars. Many split rail fence systems are tamped in dirt footers but even in this setting the gate posts are generally concreted. Assess your situation carefully and select the method which best accommodates your setting. It is obvious that a fence system installed in concrete footers will hold up longer than one that is not.
Visit the American Fence Association's Contractor Search to find a certified contractor in your area!