What To Know

Homeowner's Guide To Choosing A Professional Fence Contractor

An attractive, well-crafted fence makes a statement; it lends charm, grace, and ambiance to a home. A fence muffles noise, adds privacy and security, protects against wind and expands your living area to include the outdoors.

More importantly, a fence is a capital expenditure, which increases the value of home and property. It’s an investment, which continues to pay dividends year after year.

Fencing installation is a process you may not be familiar with until it's time to install or replace the fencing on your own home. And even then, there's a lot to learn about which products to use and what procedures best meet your individual criteria. Therefore, it's vital to know that you can rely on the fencing contractor you choose to give you sound advice about those products and procedures. The key is to find the right fencing contractor for your job.

A top-notch, professional contractor will be only too happy to answer these questions. Being confident you've selected the right fencing contractor will help assure you that your hard-earned money has been wisely spent.

Interview the Contractor

We suggest that you evaluate your contractor as carefully as you would a doctor or lawyer. It is certain that you will want a contractor who employs capable installers. It is also clear that you will need to look closely at the proposal offered, the products selected and the price/value relationship of the entire package. There are a number of indicators that you can look for when going through the evaluation process.

You cannot choose a professional fencing contractor by looking at an estimate and comparing prices. The salesperson should be knowledgeable about other jobs, which shows their amount of involvement in the actual work.

Eight Questions to Ask Your Fencing Contractor

1. What is the full name and address of the company?

Getting the complete address of the company can be an important factor in determining a company's time in business. If a post office box is given, ask for a full street address as well.

Try to hire a contractor that has an office nearby. The likelihood of better service and quicker response time is greater if the company is based near your home. Click Here for info about Creative Fence Concepts and our store location.

2. Does the company carry insurance?

A contractor should carry comprehensive liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance to protect you in the event of an accident. This can be verified by asking to see the contractor's certificates of insurance for both workers' compensation and general liability. Workers' compensation insurance may not be required by law. Check with your local building authorities for specific requirements.

Contractors who carry insurance and follow safety guidelines generally endure higher job overhead costs. These expenses could be the cause of price variations between contractors who follow the standards versus those who ignore them. Those who do not carry insurance will most likely be cheaper, but you have to ask yourself if hiring them is worth the risk.

3. Is the company licensed?

When you pose this question, you are, in effect, asking if the contractor is licensed by your state and/or city. Not all states require contractors to be licensed. A number of cities also require professional licensing. Check with your local licensing authority for details.

A contractor may also answer this question by telling you he has a business license. However, a business license is a tax requirement only and is not directly relevant to the contractor's competence.

4. How long has the company been in business?

Needless to say, longer is usually better. Less than three years may signal an unstable business or one low on the learning curve.

On the other hand, everybody has to start somewhere. References will be helpful to double-check any business, and are especially important when dealing with a new business. The failure rate of small businesses in the first three years is very high.

5. Does the company use a fence system from a reliable brand?

Some contractors may buy pickets from one manufacturer and posts from another to save money. This practice may void your warranty with the fence manufacturer should an issue arise. Click Here for information about the Fencing Products we use.

6. Will the company provide referrals or references from previous jobs?

Ask for photos of completed work, and request a list of customers contracted within the past 12 months. Click Here for a Gallery of our Work.

7. What is the company's workmanship warranty?

Typically, contractor workmanship warranties are for one year or more. Longer warranties are more valuable than shorter ones. The length of the warranty is less important than the intent and ability of the contractor to stand behind their warranty.

Even if problems of workmanship arise after the workmanship warranty has lapsed, a reliable contractor usually will want to stand behind their work.

8. What is the company's track record for solving customer complaints?

In order to find out how your contractor handles problems when they do arise, request a referral from a job that involved a complaint. Ask the contractor if they ever lost a job-related court case. Ask if their contractor's license has ever been suspended, and if so, why.

Also, in talking to the appropriate authorities, such as the Better Business Bureau and licensing departments, find out if any complaints have been filed against the contractors whom you have interviewed.

Evaluating the Contract

Before you get to this stage, you will have received either a job proposal or an estimate. Estimates and proposals can be very different approaches to your job.

To simplify, an estimate will typically offer a single price, a generically described product, a color and no options. This is traditional and legitimate.

Appropriate product literature and samples should also be offered. In conclusion, a proposal is consumer-friendly.

Details, Details!

Most contracts for fencing work are simple and straightforward. The larger or more experienced contractors may have longer, more detailed contracts. Regardless of the form of the agreement, you should read all of the specific items in the contract carefully. Misunderstandings are more often the cause of contract disagreement rather than actual dishonesty or incompetence.

It is in your interest that certain items that are important to you be stated in writing the contract.

Local Information

There are a number of organizations and institutions that you can contact when you need additional help or information about fencing and the contractors who install it. Consider these sources:

* Local Better Business Bureau

* City, county and state licensing authorities

* Local fencing trade associations

We hope this guide will help you in selecting a professional fencing contractor.

Creative Fence Concepts is a Myrtle Beach Professional Fencing Contractor that meets the above criteria. Get in Contact with us Today!