Questions to Ask a Fence Contractor
Updated: Sep 24, 2021
Finding the right Contractor for your fence project can be difficult. However, there are several resources available to consumer to ensure you get the right contractor.
The original post was created by US Fence Guide. The original post can be found here.
The Better Business Bureau is dedicated to promoting and fostering the highest ethical relationships between businesses and the public through voluntary self-regulation, consumer and business education, and service excellence.
HomeAdvisor is a digital marketplace that connects homeowners with prescreened, local service professionals to complete home improvement, maintenance and remodeling projects.
Google Reviews allows past customers to directly share their experience with others
Regardless of how you hear about a contractor, it is important to ask these questions:
1. How long has your company been in business under its current name?
"When you’re getting into the process of hiring a fence contractor, you’ll want to dig deep to get an idea of the potential contractor’s business history.
Ideally, you are going to want a fence company with a positive track record and a professional history of at least 5 years, unless you know the contractor personally.
2. Where are you located, and do you have conventional office space?
Ideally you’re going to want to find a company that is not too big and not too small; that can accommodate residential as well as commercial clients.
Check to see how competent and supportive the staff is: employees of highly-qualified and experienced companies should be able to answer a variety of questions with ease and authority, addressing your needs and concerns without talking over your head or referring you immediately to someone else.
3. Is your company licensed to operate in this state?
Payments to a business, as opposed to an individual, will usually provide some assurance that you’re on the books somewhere, so you can protect yourself from disputes or duplicate charges.
4. Does your company carry insurance, including liability and workman’s compensation?
Make sure your contractor carries both general liability and workman’s compensation insurance.
5. Is there any pending legal action against your company?
Make sure that a thorough background check is completed to verify there is no pending legal action against your contractor. What if the legal action forces them to prematurely discontinue the fence construction?
6. Does your company pull permits?
While it’s important to ask the contractor about the permitting process, it’s also a good idea to verify which local permits you will actually need for the job.
7. Will you contact my utility company to verify the location of buried lines?
Fence contractors should always contact your local utility companies to locate and mark underground gas, water and power lines.
Good contractors will also request a copy of your survey records to verify exactly where your property lines are.
8. When is payment required? Do you require a deposit?
The most important rule-of-thumb is two-fold: first, make sure that you are clear on the payment terms before work begins, and second, make sure that you are satisfied with the job before rendering the final payment.
9. Will you provide a firm written contract?
A written agreement ultimately protects both you as a homeowner and your contractor as a working professional. Most contractors will offer a formal estimate which breaks down a series of fees and potential costs.
Make sure that you read and understand the entire proposal, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification.
10. Do you provide references from satisfied customers?
Most good fence contractors present references as part of their proposal or professional portfolio.
If you haven’t already done so, be sure to follow up by checking ratings and reviews online.
11. Will you use subcontractors for any part of the fence installation process?
Some fence companies may sign a contract with you, but will actually hire out other individuals to complete anything from the entire job to particular parts of the work.
12. Are you members of the Better Business Bureau? BBB Rating?
The BBB attracts conscientious fence companies whose owner/operators are committed to improving the industry and protecting consumers by setting themselves apart from opportunists, unlicensed or unknowledgeable contractors.
Members of the Better Business Bureau should have an A rating or higher.
13. What is your policy for waste removal and cleanup?
Find out if installation includes removal of an old or existing fence, as well as how these materials will be disposed of.
Make sure that you specify removal and/or cleanup in your contract, and clarify any additional costs or fees.
14. What is the width of each fence panel you plan to install?
Most fence companies offer either 6-ft or 8-ft wide panels.
8-ft panels will cost a bit more than 6-ft panels, but you will need fewer of them, and in general, the overall price of installation should be less.
15. How deep will your company set the posts? Will you use concrete?
The depth and diameter of any post hole depends greatly on the style of fence, the terrain, temperature zones and other variables such as wind load or digging conditions.
16. How will the slope in my yard be handled (if any)?
How a contractor handles slopes can reveal a lot about the experience of the contractor.
17. Will the owner or foreman of the fence company be present during the job?
If you have a small residential job, you may want to hire a small, neighborhood business, where the owner or foreman has adequate time to come out and make sure your job goes smoothly and is completed in a timely manner.
Although smaller companies sometimes charge more, they often provide their customers with a more personalized experience.
18. When can you get started and how long will it take?
In most cases, this will depend on the company, the size of the job, the time of year and the type of fence being installed. Make sure that a contract stipulates when the job will begin and end before you sign it.
19. How should the fence be maintained when you have finished the job?
There are, however, specific things that can be done for each type of fence in order to make it last longer.
Just be sure to ask your contractor what he or she would recommend for your particular fence.
20. What is your installation warranty?
Once again, your warranty will ultimately depend on factors such as the fence material, the manufacturer, and the contractor
Make sure you understand the terms (especially if you need to register your product) and be sure to have all the appropriate warranty information included in your contract.
21. How long is your quote/estimate good for?
Just remember that fence materials can fluctuate in price, so an estimate may expire after a certain time has passed.