BBB ON HOMES Do research when searching for fence contractor
Adding a fence to your home can be both appealing and functional. Nothing makes your house look old and dingy like a worn-out fence that is literally standing on its last leg.
If your fence has only one wind storm left in it, then now’s the time to hire an expert and replace it.
An attractive fence can even add value to your home, but if the fence is not installed by a quality fencing contractor, it can be an eyesore.
The Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas offers the following tips for hiring a fencing contractor:
Know about different fence options. Knowing what type of fence you want before talking to a contractor can ease the process. There are multiple fence materials to choose from, and knowing the pros and cons of each one, and the price differences, can really ease the decision making process.
Determine the purpose of the fence. Before you start searching for a fencing contractor, you must first decide the purpose of the fence you are installing. Whether it’s for privacy, to keep your children and pets in, or to keep your neighbor’s children and pets out, your reason can determine the type of fencing materials you choose. Determine if the fence is for the front yard or the backyard, and make sure you are not violating any local codes. It’s also important to be courteous and inform your surrounding neighbors that you will be installing a fence.
Do your research. Ask friends, family members and neighbors with fences you admire to recommend a fencing contractor. Look for a reputable fencing contractor at BBBHouston.org. Be sure to read their reviews or complaints.
Get at least three estimates. Don’t automatically choose the first fencing contractor you find. Get at least three estimates to compare fencing contractors. The written estimate should include the cost of the labor and materials, what the contractor is responsible for, and the length of the job.
When you are comparing contractors, be sure to consider the work being done, the quality of the fencing materials, and the cost of the job. While on your property, the contractor should check out the sloping of your yard and obstructions, such as trees, that will affect the fencing. Be wary of contractors that quote an unusually low estimate; you will most likely receive what you pay for.
Check for insurance. The fencing contractor you hire should carry liability and workers’ compensation insurance in order to protect you from being liable in case there is an injury on the job.
Request references. A reputable fencing contractor should have no problem providing a list of references you may contact. Contact a few of the references to ask if they were completely satisfied with the completed fence. Find out if the contractor was easily accessible throughout the process. If possible, visit the references to see their completed fences in person and check out the quality of the contractor’s workmanship.
Get everything in writing. The fencing contractor should provide a contract that specifies the details of the agreement. The contract should include the materials being used, an estimated start and completion date, the total cost of the job, and the payment schedule. Be wary of contractors that ask for the full payment up front or a large percentage for a down payment.
The Better Business Bureau is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Visit www.bbbhouston.org or call 713-868-9500. Leah Napoliello is senior director of Investigative Services with the BBB of Greater Houston and South Texas. Send questions to Leah Napoliello, Better Business Bureau, 1333 West Loop South, Suite 1200, Houston, TX 77027, or e-mail email@example.com. Include your mailing address and phone number.