How to Hire a Fencing Contractor During COVID-19
When putting up a fence, you have the option of doing it yourself or hiring a fence installer. Generally, if you don’t have the expertise or confidence to take on the DIY project yourself, the recommendation is to hire a professional fence contractor to get the job done right. Most often, hiring a fence installer turns out to be more cost-efficient in the end, considering a well-installed, high-quality fence will serve you a long time without any repairs.
However, not all fencing contractors are equally professional and affordable; in addition, the current pandemic makes you wonder if the company in question will follow all the social distancing measures and other safety guidelines during the process. You’re left wondering where to look for fencing contractors in your area and how to choose the best one, right? Below is a guide that will answer these questions so you can hire a contractor at the price you want while ensuring job quality and safety.
1. Research fence contractors in your area
There are a few ways you can start researching fence installers in your area, and they include:
Most businesses have their own website now. Doing an online search is the easiest first step in your research process. Just enter the search term “fencing contractor” in your browser to pull up a list of fencing contractors. There are also “task-specific” websites where you can read reviews, view photos of their work, and get more information about the business. Some of the most popular ones are:
Another great way to find a fencing contractor is by asking family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers, especially if they recently had a fence installed. Plus, you’ll be able to see the actual fence and decide if the work has been done well.
Sound antiquated? Not exactly. While you can still order a print version, the very hip YP.com is also a solid resource for finding local business. You might even see some helpful local coupons. This site also has articles with contemporary business info covering vast topics.
Look in the classified ads of your local newspaper/publication for advertising from local fencing contractors.
2. Prepare for interviews: get estimates, timeline, warranty
Before you make contact with the contractors you have narrowed down, you’ll need to do some prep for the call. You might get someone on the phone right away; more likely, you might have to set up a later time.
Either way, you want to be prepared for when you get in touch with the person who can answer your questions—which means you need to develop a list of questions. With the right questions, you can make sure you cover all of your bases and avoid any misunderstandings once the work is already in progress.
The most important items to discuss are the estimated costs of the project, the timeline, and if the contractor offers a warranty on their work. Most reputable and professional fencing contractors will offer a warranty. Typically, the purpose of the warranty is to show a customer how much faith a fencing contractor has in their work. Even if there is an additional cost for this warranty, it is definitely worth it.
Also, make sure that the estimate and the warranty are covered in writing, along with the timeline for the project and the material costs.
Some other questions to ask a fencing contractor before hiring them:
- Does the contractor have a proper insurance and licensing?
- How many years of experience do they have in the industry?
- Who will be performing the work—the contractor or a subcontractor?
- Who is responsible for getting the necessary permits?
- How does the contractor handle finding the location of utilities in the area?
- How does the contractor handle obstacles, such as trees or rocks?
- Is everything included in the final cost, such as gates and other hardware?
- What will the dimensions of the fence be?
Finally, discuss virtual payments and any precautions you’ll both take to ensure your combined safety while the contractor is on your property.
3. Contact a few fence contractors
Once you have found several contractors to choose from, contact them to narrow down your choices. This will also be the time to schedule an on-site consultation, or, in light of the COVID-19 situation, opt for a video chat to explain what fencing services you need. A video chat is useful because it allows the fence installer to guide you so they can get the necessary information. You might be asked to walk your property while on a live chat, or possibly send in a video so they can assess your yard and other variables. You can also ask ahead about a possibility of virtual payments and what precautions you can both take to ensure safety should the work begin. While scheduling a few onsite estimates/video consultations will be time-consuming, it is worth the effort you invest.
4. Ask for references
Be sure to ask for some references from past jobs. Then follow up on that and contact past clients, and if possible, visit the site to check out the craftsmanship of the contractor.
Some questions you can ask the references:
- How well did the contractor communicate with you during the project?
- Did the resulted work match your expectations?
- Did the contractor complete the project on time?
- Were there any unexpected costs added on after the project started?
- Did the contractor take your concerns into consideration while working on the project?
- Did the contractor leave the work areas clean: each day, and after the job was complete?
Hopefully, you already read reviews to get you to this point. Now would be a good time to refresh that search to see if the reviews match what you are hearing from the references. In fact, if you see anything in the reviews that sticks out to you, make a note of it an ask the contractor about it when you talk to them initially, and also cover that topic when speaking with the references the contractor provided. Sometimes, all else looks good but you may be reluctant about one factor—and it might not be a deal-breaker at all if you dig down and find out the whole story. Everyone’s needs and yards and tastes are different and that can impact many variables on a job that may have no bearing on your circumstances.
5. Choose and hire a fencing contractor
Finally, once you have all of the information you need, it is time to choose a fencing contractor to hire for your project. Keep in mind the projected timeline and other information you learned during the interview process, not just the price estimate.
When agreeing for work to be done, protect yourself by having a contract that lists information such as cost, payment plan (if applicable), timeline, and who is responsible for what during the project.
Finding and hiring a fencing contractor that fully understands your needs and can deliver what you expect is crucial to the success of your outdoor project. To ensure that, you need to interview each prospect and agree on estimates, as well as check with any references to see what other clients have experienced when working with this contractor. The more information you have on hand, the better prepared you are for any unforeseen circumstances.
How AVO Can Help
If you’re struggling to find a reliable fence installer in the New England area, we are happy to provide you with an AVO-approved installer in your area. While we do not install fences, you can rely on us to work with you on the design and planning of your fence project.
Free Design Consultation
Each fence project is unique, and needs to take into account your property, local codes, utility, and the materials you’d like to use. Bring your sketches or ideas to AVO, and we’ll work with you to make sure you purchase the right materials—and the right amount of materials—for the project.