While all our clients get the best deals on fencing panels and parts, not all elect to install the fence themselves. Some opt for hiring outside contractors to save themselves the hassle. If you go this route, here are some questions to ask before you hire.
Questions to Ask About a Contractor's Experience and Credibility
When hiring a fence contractor, it's crucial to gauge their level of experience and credibility. Your property’s a substantial investment, so you should choose a reliable, experienced contractor to ensure the job is done correctly.
To establish a contractor's experience and credibility, here are some crucial questions you should consider asking:
1. How long have you been in the fencing business?
How long contractor has been in business likely corresponds with their knowledge and expertise. You're looking for a contractor with a substantial history in the fencing industry. Decades in the business mean they've weathered various industry changes, worked with various fencing materials, and overcame diverse installation challenges.
2. Are you licensed and insured?
Asking about licensing and insurance is vital. Licensed contractors have met the state or local criteria for professionalism and knowledge, ensuring they have the requisite training and expertise. Insurance provides a safety net for potential property damage or injuries during the project.
3. Can you provide references or show past projects?
This question is about the contractor's credibility. It's one thing to claim expertise and quite another to demonstrate it. Asking for references or previous projects allows you to assess the quality of their work firsthand. Contractors who have done quality work in the past will be more than happy to share references or show you their portfolio.
Questions About Project Specifics
A clear picture of your fence installation project's specifics is equally important as verifying the contractor's credentials. The project details determine the amount of materials required, the project's duration, and its overall cost. Understanding project specifics can also help prevent misunderstandings and miscommunications, ensuring your expectations align with the contractor's plans.
Here are some key questions that you can ask your potential fence contractor to understand more about your project:
1. What type of fence do you recommend for my needs?
Use this question to gauge the contractor's expertise and ability to understand and cater to your needs. Their answer should consider factors such as the purpose of the fence (privacy, security, aesthetics), local climate, your budget, and maintenance requirements.
2. What is the projected timeline for this project?
Knowing the projected timeline helps manage your expectations and plan accordingly. While the duration will depend on the complexity of the project and the contractor's workload, it's vital to have an estimate.
In the answer, the contractor should provide a clear timeline with a start and end date. They should also discuss any factors that might cause delays, such as weather or supply issues. A vague timeline or unwillingness to commit to a schedule may indicate a lack of organization or overbooking.
3. Will you handle any necessary permits or surveys?
This question is key to understanding how the contractor manages the legal and logistical aspects of the job. Certain permits may be required depending on your location and the type of fence being installed. A survey might also be needed to define property boundaries accurately before installation.
Listen for a clear 'yes' or 'no' to this question. A reliable contractor will typically handle permits and surveys as part of their service or clearly explain if they cannot and why.
4. What is your procedure for handling underground utilities?
This question is critical to ensure the safety and integrity of your property. It's important to identify and avoid underground utilities, like water and gas lines, before beginning any digging.
The only correct answer to this question is that the contractor, or the homeowner, should always call 811 - the national "Call Before You Dig" number in the U.S. If a contractor suggests any other approach, it's a major red flag, signaling a disregard for standard safety procedures.
Questions About Aftercare and Warranty
The aftercare of your fence and the warranty provided by the contractor are vital aspects to consider when installing a new fence. Aftercare ensures your fence remains in good condition and serves its purpose effectively, while a warranty offers protection from future issues that might arise due to materials or workmanship. Both are crucial for maintaining the longevity and durability of your fence.
Here are some pertinent questions regarding aftercare and warranty that you should ask your potential fence contractor:
1. What maintenance will be required for my new fence?
This question gives you an understanding of the upkeep your fence will require. The contractor should provide a comprehensive response, outlining the maintenance schedule and specific tasks you'll need to perform. It might be a red flag if they gloss over this question or suggest that no maintenance is required at all.
2. Do you provide a warranty for your work?
A warranty provides assurance that if anything goes wrong with the fence due to the contractor's workmanship, it will be fixed at no extra cost.
A reputable contractor will confidently affirm they offer a warranty, specifying its duration and what it covers. You should listen for a specific timeframe and clear terms.
To read more about Fencing Direct’s materials warranties, visit this page:
Ordering extra materials is a good practice. They can save you from trouble if there's a miscalculation or an installation error.
3. How do you handle post-installation issues or complaints?
A good contractor should articulate a clear process for handling complaints or issues, indicating their willingness to resolve any problems promptly. If a contractor avoids this question or doesn't seem to have a process in place, it may suggest poor aftercare service.
With this slate of questions, you’re sure to find a fencing contractor who can build your new fence at a fair price with great results. Just be sure to order your materials direct from Fencing Direct and save!