Your property is a huge investment and it is only natural that you want to protect and beautify it. Having a fence installed is an essential step in security and a large investment for an owner. Choosing the right fence contractor for the job is vital to prevent complications from developing at any point during, or following, the installation.
There are seven basic approaches that can protect you, your property, and your investment.
Before interviewing any fence contractor you can learn a great deal about the individual or company that you are dealing with through your first encounter. Here are a few things to be concerned with:
● When you call the office, there should never be a generic answer to the call. Any professional company will have a professional answer to their phones which should include the name of the company.
● Any advertising should include a verifiable address. Many fly-by-night services will not have a legitimate address to be traced to.
● Never hesitate to check listings with the Better Business Bureau. This is a free service to aid consumers.
● While it is an initial jerk reaction for individuals who are looking at listings to select the first company they come to. Keep in mind that a company that is listed at the top of a search or a phone list, is not an indicator of their ability.
Red Flags for Interview
As you work through the process of finding your contractor some additional items you should keep in mind include:
● A contractor which requires you make an immediate decision should make you nervous.
● Anytime a professional 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.
● Any professional contractor will give you a written estimate for the services you are requesting, if they will not give you one, you do not want to do business with them.
Some other details to bring up as you speak with your fence contractor, or potential contractor include:
● What materials do they recommend and why?
● If you are replacing, or repairing your fencing ask what their procedures include.
● What is the track record for the contractor staying within the estimate amount?
● How often do they finish on time?
● Is there any type of warranty on the work they provide?
● Will any of the materials you currently have be able to be used or recycled in the installation/repair?
Always speak to multiple contractors and get their written estimates.
1. As you make your plans for your fence you will need to make an assessment of how much you are willing to spend for the materials and labor. Once you have made these decisions you will need to share the information with the fence contractor and then confirm that they will be able to work within these guidelines.
2. Determine where you want your fence to run. Will it incorporate the entire land or only a portion? Do you want to include different types of fencing, such as one close to the residence and a different form further away.
3. Look at magazines and other properties to get an idea of what you want, give the pictures to the fence contractor to develop a clear idea of what you want. Never be shy about asking for design ideas or help.
Establish Timeline and Contact Person
As you move forward, you will want a definitive timeline of when the work is expected to be completed. Determine if there will be any discounts for delays or inability to reach the set goals.
On large jobs there are often multiple people that will be accomplishing the work, find out who the direct responsible is, in the event of any problems or questions.
Some contractors will provide a guarantee on their work. Ask about any guarantees that the company provides for the job.
Depending upon the materials you select for your fencing, there may also be a warranty on it. Many manufacturers of automatic gates often offer extended warranties of up to 7 years.
You will need to ask what the company policy is regarding the work. Some companies require full payment up front, others partial payment, or at the end of the job.
Will they finance? Do they accept credit cards, and which ones?
As spring rolls around there is always a long list of things that need to be addressed to get taken care of for the new year. House repairs and maintenance, even lawn care. People often forget about the needs of their fence. No matter what the materials are that you choose to use in the fence structure, whether it is automated or manual, there are a few things to do which will extend the life of your investment.
Your first step is to always do a thorough inspection of the entire fence. You need to look for any areas that are compromised, which may include rot, damage, leaning, and weak points. This includes the posts, pickets, wiring, and gate closure or function. Be aware of any places where the screws, wiring, or nails need to be replaced or tightened.
Once you have performed your inspection you will need to make the necessary plans to repair or replace any areas that are no longer stable. Addressing larger sections and posts may require professional assistance to prevent damaging other sections.
If your fence includes brick and mortar you will need to look for any cracks that have developed or any locations where the stone or brick has come loose. Depending upon the size of the crack, you can often fill this in yourself, however, larger problems should be taken care of by a professional.
We do not recommend adjusting or repairing any electrical features, such as lighting affixed to your fence. This might turn into a dangerous exercise and it is easier to have someone with experience take care of this.
When it comes to gates you need to pay close attention. Depending upon the type of gate you have installed, it may require the hinges and/or wheels to be lubricated. This will aid in keeping the gate functioning smoothly and in the case of automated gate systems it can prevent causing damage to the mechanical devices attached to it, which could lead up to substantial costs in the future.
It’s also important to check the pulley system which moves your gate. The wiring should not be frayed in any way.
If you have elected to use a sliding gate you should take the time to assess the area the gate is being drawn across. Surfaces that are paved should be repaired if there are cracks or holes, and dirt locations should be kept as level as possible. An automatic gate will also require you to clear any debris or obstruction along the path which it is being drawn across. You may need to trim trees or bushes to prevent interference with the proper function of the gate.
Your fence plays an important role in the security of your property, it was a considerable and worthwhile investment and providing some basic spring maintenance will keep it beautiful and functional for years to come.