Think about the last time you purchased a car. Chances are you didn’t go to the yellow pages, choose a dealership at random, and buy your car from the first lot you visited. Many times, though, this scenario describes the way homeowners find a fence company, they look in the phone book and call the company with the largest ad or the first one listed on the internet. But much like purchasing a car, finding a qualified fence company requires research and comparison shopping.
ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS
Will they call the utility company to stake out buried lines?
Reputable fence companies will schedule as required by the State of Pennsylvania to have your property marked to identify underground utility lines.
Are they responsible for sprinkler heads?
Homeowners are usually responsible for marking or pointing out sprinkler heads and underground sprinkler lines, but always ask the fence company to be sure.
What are the requirements if I own a swimming pool?
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If you own a swimming pool, there are special requirements that you will need to be aware of. This can be found on your city’s website in the permits and inspections area.
How deep do you set your posts?
Posts should be set 2 to 3 feet deep and should always be set in concrete. As the fence height goes up, the posts should be set deeper for stability.
How far apart are the posts set from each other?
Generally, posts are set 7 ft apart for wood and vinyl, and 10 ft on chain link fences. Sagging can occur over time if posts are set too far apart.
Ask for an estimate
Invite fence contractors to look at the job and ask for an estimate in writing. In the quote also ask them to specify the time it will take to complete the job. Ask what their backlog looks like, how soon can they start and how long will it take to complete. Make sure the contractors are quoting on the same specifications such as linear feet, like materials, posts, wood, stain, gates, etc.
Execute a contract
Execute a contract specifying the work to be done, total cost, payment schedule, start date and estimated completion date. Make sure the contract specifies that the fence company is responsible for cleanup and the removal of your old fence.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A QUALIFIED FENCE COMPANY
There are a number of qualifications which can set a professional fence company apart.
Be sure that the prospective fence company you are considering is fully insured, having both workers’ compensation and liability insurance. Your selected contractor should be able to provide you with a copy of his or her insurance policy.
Better Business Bureau:
Contact your local Better Business Bureau to ascertain if any complaints have been filed against your potential candidate. www.bbb.org