Are you ready to amplify your home’s curb appeal and improve its safety? If so, a new fence is in order.
From durable vinyl fencing to ornamental iron fencing, there are many different kinds to choose from. At the same time, there are also lots of local installers who claim to have the tools and knowledge to install it for you.
The only caveat? Not every fence company is created equal. Before you invite a team onto your property, you want to make sure they’re capable, professional and well-regarded in your community.
You don’t want to wonder, “Is this the best fence company near me?” You want to know.
As you do your research, it helps to hold interviews with each of the potential installers on your list. Today, we’re sharing a list of 10 questions to ask each prospective hire. The answers you receive can help direct your search and lead you to the most qualified, reputable team in your area.
Why Should You Partner With a Professional Fence Company?
You know you want to install a fence, but sorting through the myriad different types can be a challenge. At the same time, you’ll also need help choosing the style of fence that’s best suited for your property.
You could make these decisions on your own, but it pays to have a professional fence company on your side. When you team with the right installers, you can make sure that the finished project is exactly the way you envisioned. You can also make sure that your fence is installed within your preferred timeline and budget.
To help bring clarity to your project, there are several different design considerations to keep in mind as you begin brainstorming your new fence. Let’s take a look at a few of the top ones.
The Initial Factors to Consider
The fence company you select can help you choose the perfect type of fence for your needs. Still, it helps to have a basic knowledge of all of the available types.
First, consider the kind of material you want to use to build your fence. Today, three of the most common types include:
- Aluminum/Ornamental Iron/Steel
All three of these materials are sturdy and durable, though vinyl has recently taken center stage above the rest. Vinyl fencing looks and performs as great as wooden fencing, but it has distinct advantages. Specifically, this material is:
- Five times stronger than wood
- Available in a range of colors and styles
Once you’ve narrowed down your materials list, you can start considering the style of fence you’d prefer. Some of your top choices include:
- Decorative fencing
- Ranch rail fencing
- Picket fencing
- Privacy fencing
- Semi-privacy fencing
As their names imply, these styles provide varying levels of privacy. If you’re installing a new fence to block your view of a neighboring property or turn your backyard into a private retreat, then privacy fencing would be ideal.
Conversely, if your primary goal is to showcase your property with an ornamental touch, then decorative fencing is a better option. Take a look at examples of each material and style so you know which ones you like, along with those you don’t.
Gathering Initial Quotes
Before you begin comparing the intricacies of each company, go ahead and request written quotes from each one on your short list. A simple Google search for “Fencing contractors near me” can yield a range of local business options.
Try to get quotes from at least two to three different fencing contractors in your area. This way, you can quickly identify any outliers that charge far beyond what you budgeted.
As you crunch these early numbers, keep in mind that the old adage often rings true. In many cases, you get what you pay for, and professional fencing is no different. That said, resist the urge to choose the lowest bidder based on numbers alone.
Instead, look for the one that scores high in the following categories:
- Relevant experience
- Quality materials
- Client satisfaction
- Company stability
- Installer reliability
While you don’t have to forego your budget altogether, prioritizing the factors above can help you find a team that meets all of your criteria and can get the job done for the right price.
Where to Start Your Search
Of course, one of the easiest and most effective places to begin your search for a fencing installer is to ask your friends and family members. Check to see if anyone in your circle has installed a fence recently, and which company they used.
If they had a great experience, they can provide recommendations on companies they suggest. Likewise, they can also tell you which companies to avoid if their experience didn’t go so well. Along the way, remember that each person’s story is different. Weigh these anecdotes against the research you’ve already done before eliminating a company from your list based on personal feedback.
What is the Best Fence Company Near Me? 10 Key Questions to Ask
Whether you’re considering installing a new fence or repairing an existing one, it’s important to do your due diligence first. Below are 10 questions to ask any potential team before hiring them and partnering with them for your project.
1. Do You Have an Office Space I Can Visit?
Look for a fence company that has a physical showroom you can visit. This way, you can see for yourself the types of products they carry. Plus, a brick-and-mortar presence usually indicates that a company is well-established and plans to be around for the long term.
Ideally, it’s best to find a company that’s big enough to support any residential or commercial need, but isn’t so big that it’s lost its personal, hometown touch. A smaller team might be able to offer a more personalized level of service, but a larger one often has a wider net of resources and can establish economies of scale. In some cases, this could allow them to set a lower price point.
When you pay each prospect a visit, take note of every detail.
How clean is the facility? How accommodating and knowledgeable are the staff members? If the team is highly qualified, they’ll be able to answer your questions with ease. They’ll do so using terms that you can understand and will take the time to make sure the response was satisfactory before moving on.
2. Is Your Company Insured?
Immediately after inquiring about a business license, your next question should be whether the company carries general liability and worker’s compensation insurance.
Why are both types necessary? General liability insurance helps protect the fence company from any damage that the installers might cause to your property during the course of the job. For instance, if they tear up your yard, they’ll be the ones required to foot the bill for repairing it.
While general liability insurance protects your property, worker’s compensation insurance protects the team members who work on it. This form of insurance provides coverage for medical services and treatment if an installer gets injured on the job.
Before agreeing to work with any fence company, ask to see copies of both forms of insurance. Make sure they are up-to-date and still active. You can also make copies of this documentation for your personal records before signing a contract.
Agreeing to start work without taking care of this step could leave you responsible for paying an exorbitant bill if any kind of property damage or physical injury occurs during the project.
3. How Long Has Your Company Been in Business?
First, check to see how long the company has been in business under its current name. The representative you speak to should be able to answer this question thoroughly. If you found the company by searching online for “Fencing contractor near me”, then click on their website to learn more.
Look for a team that has a longstanding reputation in your region. This way, you can make sure they’re familiar with the types of properties in the area. They’ll also understand the local climate and weather patterns, and can recommend fence materials that will work well for your region.
Once you have a general idea of the company’s timeline, do a little more digging. Hop online and take a look at the “About” page on their website. Here, you can usually find more in-depth information on the history and background of each installer. You can also find out more details about each company by checking their social media profiles, as well as their listing in local business directories, such as Google My Business.
At Butte Fence, we have more than 25 years of experience serving the Treasure and Magic Valleys. We also have a robust presence in Southeastern Oregon and Northern Nevada. After opening our Boise branch in 1995 and our Twin Falls location in 2007, we’ve grown to become one of the most trusted and well-regarded fence companies in the entire state of Idaho.
4. Can I Read Testimonials From Past Clients?
Personal word-of-mouth recommendations are an excellent place to start, but it’s best to expand your research.
Ask each team if you can read testimonials and feedback from past clients. Most of the time, reputable companies will post these directly on their website so you don’t have to dig around! Take the time to read through them and look for pertinent details, such as response times, employee professionalism, and quality of work.
The same social media pages and business listings you checked to learn about the company will also contain reviews from past clients. In addition to these online resources, high-end fence companies will also include photos of previous installations, as well as contact information for references, in their proposal.
5. Are You Licensed to Operate in This State?
It might appear to be an obvious question, but it’s critical to verify that any company or contractor you hire has a business license to perform work in your state.
Why does this matter? Allowing an unlicensed installer to perform work on your property could open up a wide range of potential problems. Not only could you be forced to shoulder the burden if any accidents or injuries occur on the job, but you could also be liable for any poor-quality work they perform.
If possible, look for a team that allows you to make payments to the company itself, offering a variety of ways to pay. This is one sign of an honest and transparent financial operation. On the other hand, it can be a red flag if any installer asks you to pay with cash or a personal check, even if they are licensed.
This could mean they plan to keep the cash and avoid reporting it on their taxes. While that might not always be the case, it’s best to err on the side of caution. If a transaction feels shady, go with your gut and continue your search elsewhere.
If you have any doubts about a contractor’s legitimacy, you can check their license status by contacting the National Contractor License Service (CLSI).
6. How Does Your Payment Process Work?
Some companies will allow you to wait until the end of the project to provide payment in full. Other teams will require an up-front deposit before they begin, and some might even establish a payment schedule that allows you to gradually fund your fence installation over time.
While policies might differ, you need to know what’s required before you agree to start work. Ideally, it’s best to look for a company that doesn’t require any form of payment until the job is done, final inspections are complete, and you’re fully satisfied with the work.
Make sure you completely understand the payment terms before agreeing to partner with a company. Whether you pay a deposit or not, you should never have to pay for the project in full before it’s finished. Rather, you should be 100% happy with the final product before rendering your last payment.
If a contractor requires complete payment up-front, consider this a red flag and a sign of a scam. Agreeing to these terms could mean losing valuable money in exchange for a low-quality product, or worse — no product at all.
One more note: Never agree to a verbal quote or estimate from a prospective installer. All quotes should be provided in writing, with every line item detailed so there are no questions or surprises down the road.
7. Will You Pull Permits and Contact My Utility Company?
Before your beautiful new fence can go up, there are myriad behind-the-scenes technical details to take care of, first.
In some cities and counties, homeowners are required to obtain local permits before beginning a new construction or renovation job, which can include fence installation. Your local permit office can guide you on these procedures, as well as any associated fees.
Understanding permit requirements is critical, because your homeowner’s insurance may refuse to provide coverage for accidental damage if you failed to secure the correct permits before starting the job. Any reputable fence contractor you hire should be well-versed in your local permit requirements and will be able to pull the appropriate ones for you.
In the same vein, the contractor should also know to contact your utility company before beginning work. Your utility providers will need to visibly mark any underground gas, water or power lines to ensure they do not dig in those areas and obstruct service. Most of the time, this service is provided by your utility company free of charge.
In addition, many fence companies will also request a copy of your survey records to ensure the proposed installation location is fully on your property and doesn’t interfere with a neighboring property or a public right-of-way.
If you do not have survey documentation available, the fence company should be able to put you in contact with a local surveyor in your area who can provide one for you.
8. What Kind of Fence Materials Do You Offer?
You could find a great local fence company, but if they only specialize in wooden fences, you’ll be out of luck if you prefer vinyl.
Today, most companies will keep a wide variety of fence materials in stock, including:
- Vinyl fencing
- Ornamental iron fencing
- Wood fencing
- Concrete stone fencing
In addition, they’ll be able to install these materials in a variety of styles to meet your needs. Whether you want a full privacy fence with a solid infill or a traditional picket fence, find a company that can do it all. Most will have virtual galleries on their website that allow you to see their handiwork and range of capabilities.
Each installer should be able to guide you on the materials and style that would work best for your project, taking your personal preferences into account.
In addition, they should explain how to maintain your fence so it keeps its appearance. While vinyl and aluminum fences are usually easier to maintain than wooden ones, there are steps that can make any fence last for years. Finally, the team you choose should also be able to fully explain how they will handle the installation logistics, such as using the step method to install on a slope.
9. What Is Your Cleanup Policy?
Nothing takes away from the beauty of a fresh, new fence quite like a pile of debris sitting nearby.
If you’re looking to replace or repair an existing fence, ask each potential installer to explain their policies on removing the old posts. Will they dispose of the unneeded materials themselves, or will they leave that job for you? What about screws, nails and other dangerous tools that could be left in your yard, posing a risk to any person or animal that walks around in that area?
If you’re responsible for the task, it’s important to contact your local sanitation company to double-check curbside trash pickup procedures. If any of the items you’re removing are hazardous or restricted by the company’s policy, your contractor will need to remove them. Or, you can take them to your local landfill.
If contactor waste removal is part of the job, ask if it’s included in the price or will incur an extra fee. While some companies might charge extra to remove your existing fence, most will not tack on a charge for removing any waste they create during installation.
10. Are You a Member of the American Fence Association (AFA)?
Though it isn’t a requirement, membership into the American Fence Association (AFA) reveals that a fence company is well-established in the industry. This is an important affiliation that speaks volumes about their professionalism and quality of work.
In addition to the AFA, also ensure that any company you hire is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and holds an A rating or higher. Together, the AFA and BBB are two indicators of any fence company’s conscientiousness and commitment to excellence. Before they can join either organization, companies must pass rigorous certification programs that test their education, technical skills, industry knowledge, and more.
You can find out if your contractor is AFA-certified by checking on their website.
The Right Solution For All Your Fencing Needs
When you’re ready to transform your property, the right fence can make a world of difference. However, this isn’t a temporary project intended to last for a few short months.
A premium fence can last for decades, but it all hinges on the right installation team. If you’re asking, “What’s the best fence company near me?”, there are plenty of steps you can take to identify the top ones in your area. By asking the 10 questions above, you’ll be one step ahead and can move forward in confidence.
If you’re an Idaho resident or business owner, we’d love to answer these questions and more. Request a quote for your custom fence today and let’s connect!