Did you know that about 50 percent of homes in America have a backyard fence? If you’re wanting to join that number, you may be asking “how do I find the best fence contractor near me?” There are a few questions you’ll want to ask when you start the hunt for a fence contractor, however.
There are a number of factors you’ll want to take into consideration when you’re looking for a fencing contractor. Read on to discover what you should look for and how to narrow down your shortlist.
Why Hire a Fence Installer?
Before we dive into the things you need to consider when hiring a fence installer, let’s talk some about why you should hire a contractor in the first place. Building a fence is a huge job, and you may not want to take the time and effort it will take to do it. Not only can a fence contractor take the work off your plate, but they can also get the job done more quickly.
But perhaps even more importantly, depending on where you live, you may be required to pull permits to build a new fence. This process can be confusing and time-consuming, especially if you’ve never had to do it before. A fence contractor will be familiar with the process and will make sure it gets done right the first time.
Evaluate Your Needs
One of the first things you need to do before hiring a fencing contractor is to evaluate your needs in a fence. You may want to start by deciding what material you want to use for your fence. While wood is a popular option, you can also go for metal or even vinyl, depending on your style and budget.
It’s also a good idea to take a look at the land the fence is going to run on and think about any potential problems it may pose. Are there hills or slopes, and does the fence run through any areas that might flood? Do you have a pet that you’ll need to contain in the yard, and what do your neighborhood regulations say about fence height and material?
Ask for Recommendations
Once you have a better idea of what you need for your fence, it will be time to start asking around for recommendations. Chances are some of your friends and neighbors have had fences put up sometime in the last few years. They can be a great resource for finding out what it’s really like to work with certain contractors.
Ask around and see who worked with which contractors and what their experience was like. Did the work get done on time, and how has it held up in the time since the fence was installed? Was the price what they were quoted, were the contractors easy to work with, and what sort of warranty did they offer?
Look into Their Services
Before you get too deep into making a list of contractors, it’s a good idea to check what services each one offers. Not every fencing contractor offers the same services – some do maintenance and repair, while others only handle design and installation. Some contractors will install gates, and others don’t cover those installations.
You’ll need to decide ahead of time what services you want from your contractor. Do you need a fence, and do you want your contractor to maintain your fence after it’s installed? Keep those needs in mind and make sure to only pick contractors who cover those needs.
Now that you have a general list of fencing contractors to start with, it will be time to start narrowing down a bit. You’re going to want to build a short list of about five or six contractors who you think might be good options. One way to start narrowing down your options is to read reviews online.
As you’re reading reviews, it’s important to keep in mind that disgruntled customers are more likely to take the time to write reviews. One or two bad reviews may not mean that a company isn’t worth working with. However, if you see the same themes popping up over and over again, that’s probably worth paying attention to.
Check on Experience
Once you’ve read the reviews and narrowed down your list some more, it will be time to start making calls. One of the first questions you need to ask is how much experience your fencer has. Everyone has to start somewhere, but you don’t want your fence to be the first one somebody ever stands up.
In addition to asking about overall experience, it’s a good idea to ask about specific experience related to your job. If you have any particular challenges in your fence, such as steep slopes or specific material needs, check if a fence contractor has dealt with similar jobs in the past. If so, ask how they managed those challenges and if you can talk to previous customers on those jobs.
Look into Material Specialties
As you’re talking to your shortlist, it’s also a good idea to start focusing on what material you want your fence to be made from. Some materials, such as wood and chain link, are standard, and most contractors will be able to install them. However, more specialty materials may require a contractor who has experience working with that material.
If you want a fence made with stone, wrought iron, or vinyl, it’s a good idea to ask if your contractor has worked with those materials before. You may also want to check if you want a specialty wood design, such as a horizontal fence or another unusual pattern. Ask if you can see a sample of their previous work with that material so you can get an idea of the styles they’ve worked with.
Ask About Qualifications
Fencing is one of those trades you do learn more on the job, but there are certain qualifications that are still very important. Many contractors learn fencing through trade schools, which can teach some specific techniques and safety procedures. These programs use a mix of classroom lessons and hands-on learning opportunities.
When you’re talking to your shortlist, ask the contractors if they’ve had any formal training. It’s also a good idea to check if they have a specific certification or if they belong to a professional organization. You don’t necessarily need to rule someone out if they don’t have a certification, but it can be an extra plus for some of your top choices.
Check on Insurance
Another important question is whether your potential fencing contractor has insurance. If a contractor gets hurt on your property, they could hold you responsible for their medical bills and lost wages. Even if the injury isn’t your fault, it can be hard to prove that there wasn’t some sort of negligence that led to the injury.
Liability insurance protects both you and your contractor in the event of an injury. If they do get injured, that insurance will cover the costs related to that injury. You always want to make sure your fencing contractor has liability insurance before you hire them.
Get an Estimate
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to your final three potential contractors, it will be time to start getting estimates. It’s a good idea to get at least three estimates for your fencing project. One won’t give you any point of comparison, and two won’t let you know which one is the odd man out.
As you’re reviewing your estimates, it’s important to pay attention to what’s included. One estimate may look lower than the others, but it may not include the fees for pulling the permits and so on. Make sure that the estimates you’re comparing are equivalent and that they include all the services you need.
Ask About a Warranty
A fence is a major investment, and you want to make sure that that money will be protected for years to come. You want your fence to have a warranty in case something goes wrong with the labor. In general, you can expect most fencing contractors to offer a warranty lasting for a year after the fence installation.
Talk to your contractors about if they offer a warranty and, if so, what the terms are. Do they require a certain level of maintenance in order for the warranty to be valid? Does the warranty cover failures with the material, problems with the labor, or both?
If your contractor doesn’t offer a warranty, it’s a good idea to go with a different contractor.
Look into Permits
One of the other things you need to consider when planning your fence project is what permits you’ll need to pull. Depending on where you live, you may need to request one or more permits from your city. This process can be complex, expensive, and confusing if you haven’t done it before.
When you’re talking to your shortlist, it’s a good idea to ask them if your area requires permits and, if so, who will handle that process. Ask if those costs are included in the estimate you got or if you’ll have to pay an extra fee. It’s also a good idea to check on the timeline of the permitting process so you’ll know when you can expect your fencing project to start.
Ask About the Timeline
On the subject of timelines, you’re also going to want to talk to your fencer about when you can expect your fencing project to happen. During peak seasons, your contractor may not have as much availability to get to your dress right away. A complex fencing project may also take more than a few days, depending on your situation.
Ask your contractor when they can start work on your project and when they expect to be able to complete it. If you have a specific deadline for your fence to be done by, you should discuss this with your contractor at this point in the process. It’s also a good idea to leave some wiggle room around that deadline, since there may be unexpected delays, such as problems with materials or rainy weather.
Find the Best Fence Contractor Near Me
Getting a fence installed can be a fantastic improvement to your home and an investment in your outdoor space. Make sure you ask about potential contractors’ experience and the materials they specify in. You’ll want to compare estimates, check on warranties, and get a contract before work begins. If you’re saying, “I want to find the best fence contractor near me,” check out the rest of our site at Butte Fence. We go that extra yard to make sure you get a fence that will last you for years to come. Contact us today and get the largest inventory, best service, and quickest installation in Idaho.