When it comes to getting your fence built, there are normally four preferences that every homeowner has regarding how it is to be constructed. First, they want a fence built using the best materials possible so that it lasts a lifetime. Second, the homeowner wants to hire an experienced fence contractor who will provide the best craftsmanship possible. Third, they want the fence built by a contractor who will follow all of the homeowner’s specifications. Lastly, the homeowner wants the fence built at the lowest price for materials and labor.
Trying to nail all four desires isn’t always easy. When a person obtains a range of estimates from different contractors, they may decide on the lowest bid every time. Yet getting the cheapest fence doesn’t always mean you will get a fence using the best materials or quality. Nowadays, anybody who can swing a hammer, navigate the Internet, and has a truck will claim that they are a fence contractor who can do the job. These “jack of all trades” will undercut their prices to win the bid, then spend the least amount of time and the lowest amount of work possible.
You don’t want to have to deal with these types of unprofessional workers. Instead, you want a good quality fence built for your money and a professional company who can install it. A professional fence contractor won’t cut corners when it comes to materials or construction, and will want to be compensated fairly for their labor so they can stay in business while continuing to offer the best quality work.
How to Choose a Fence Contractor
There are certain characteristics to look for when selecting a fence contractor. We have provided a list of aspects to look for in a good contractor, as well as warning signs that you may be working for someone who lacks the necessary skills and experience.
How Do They Communicate with You?
How the contractor communicates to their customers can tell you a lot about their company and how they will keep you in the loop in regards to the project. Does the company offer a wide range of ways to communicate with them? Do they answer the phone on the first ring or call you right back after receiving your message?
● When you call the office, there should never be a generic answer to the call (example, “Fence Company, how may I help you?”). Any true professional company will have someone professionally answer their phone which should include the name of the company.
● Any advertising or point of sale material by the company should include a verifiable address, phone number and website url. Many fly-by-night companies (two-guys-and-a-truck or weekend fence contractors) will not have a legitimate address to be traced if you have any future problems with your fence.
● Never hesitate to check online reviews such as Google and others. These are free services to aid consumers to help avoid unethical companies.
● While it is human nature to select the first company you see. Remember, that a company that pops up at the top of a search result or a phone list, is not an indicator of their ability or workmanship.
As you go through the process of choosing a reputable fence contractor, here are some additional items you should keep in mind:
● A fence contractor which pressures or attempts to get you to make a decision on the spot should make you weary.
● Professional fence companies will have several ways for you to pay. Any contractor that pressures you to pay cash is never a good sign. There are some legitimate businesses which will provide their customers with a cash discount, which should not be confused with the contractor which requires you to pay cash only or even pay the entire amount, in cash, upfront.
● Professional contractors will give you a written estimate for the services you are requesting, if they will not, you do not want to do business with them.
Important questions you should bring up as you’re talking to a fence contractor (take notes):
● What materials do they recommend and why?
● If you are replacing, or repairing your fence, ask what their procedures include.
● What is the history for the contractor staying within the estimate amount?
● How often do they finish on time or within the estimated time frame given?
● What would keep them from finishing your fence project on time?
● Do they provide any type of warranty on the work or products they provide?
● Is there any other charges not included in the estimate (ex. tearout, removal, permits, etc)?
● Will any of the materials you currently have be able to be used or recycled in the installation/repair?
Contact multiple contractors and get at least 3 written estimates.
While there may be times when the contractor is so busy that they can’t pick up the phone right away, they should always get back to the customer in a timely fashion and never be too hard to talk to or be impersonal. You want to listen to how they respond to your questions while offering you all necessary information. You want to hire a fence contractor whose customer service is on point, professional, and you feel comfortable dealing with.
Is Their Website Professional and User Friendly?
Most homeowners now rely on the Internet to find fence contractors. When going to the contractor’s website, you want to look at the layout. The website should have a modern look and be navigable as you should be able to click on a link or tab and be taken to the provided information. Review the company’s background overview, how long they have been in business, the services they provide, the types of products that they may specifically use, and any licensing information that they provide.
Also, check to see if the company has a portfolio of previous construction projects. Some people will use stock photos found on the Internet on their site because they haven’t done any construction work in the past or they don’t want to show the quality of their work. Avoid companies who engage in such deceptions.
In addition to checking out their website, you also want to see if they have a social media presence on other platforms. People who love their construction work will share their reviews and information on their own websites, as professional contractors want to promote such good word-of-mouth. If the contractor has an account on other social media platforms such as Facebook. Check to see how they interact with their followers. When was the last time they made a post? If you reach out to them over social media, did you get a timely response that will show you how personable and professional they are?
What Reviews Are Provided by Previous Customers?
With the Internet available, you can easily find reviews from previous customers who obtained services from the fence contractor. Read the testimonials on the contractor’ website, review sites such as Google. Check out what previous customers are saying and look to see if there is a common topic or concern that each customer has had with the company.
What First Impression Did You Get from the Contractor?
First impressions do matter when the fence contractor comes to your home for the first consultation before working on your fence project. Did the fence contractor show up on time? Punctuality is important as you don’t want to deal with a contractor that shows up late every day when working on the fence construction. Also, what did the contractor look like? Did they look professional as they were clean cut? What type of vehicle did they show up in?
The contractor and their vehicle shouldn’t look disheveled and disorganized. They should be ready to meet with you and have all the brochures and other information ready so the consultation is conducted in a timely and professional manner. The fence contractor should greet you properly and treat you with respect during the conversation and when providing an estimate. Every professional fence contractor will be happy to answer additional questions you may have and to offer solutions to your concerns that will show you how knowledgeable and confident they are. Be wary of a fence contractor who skirts answering any questions and tries to control the entire conversation as they try to lead you down a path that they want you to take.
How Did the Contractor Provide You with the Estimate?
The estimate should always be presented to you in a professional manner. It should be on a written document that provides details about the project, materials that will be used, and the work that will be provided. You should never work with a contractor that offers only a verbal estimate, as they may change the estimate amount at will. Then you won’t have the physical evidence to show the actual estimate for the work and the services that they were supposed to provide. Also, always walk away if the contractor offers the estimate written on the back of a napkin, post-it note or small piece of paper torn out of a notebook.
Once the contractor provides you with the estimate, did they go out of their way to follow-up with you about the possible project? While they shouldn’t be calling you every hour of every day, they should get back to you to find out whether you decided to proceed with the project. The fence contractor should also be willing to answer any additional questions you may have about the project, their estimate, and their company.
Having a new fence installed on your property can be a trying process as you want a great fence built by professional contractors at an exceptional price. Use the above advice to help you narrow down your choices in contractors so you will be happy with the company you select who can finish the project on time and in your budget.
In Need of a New Fence?
Fence OKC would love the opportunity to serve you and your family by providing you with a free estimate on your fence project. Please feel free to contact us by using the form below or call us at 405-778-1545. We have a fence that will fit anyone’s budget.