Are you ready to hire a fence contractor but not sure how the process works? Consider the following tips for making the best choice possible.
Get a Free Fence Estimate
Most fence contractors offer free quotes. It is important to seek out fence contractors that are established, insured and have great reviews. It is always advisable for you to meet the estimator in person. You’ll get a better feel for the type of person they are and the company they represent. A reliable and knowledgeable representative will measure the fence and discuss options. They should also bring to your attention any issues that may not be immediately evident as you plan this project. Expect to receive a consultation about the various materials available. Some of the topics discussed would cover, neighbors, terrain, materials, electric gates, height, etc. Other topics might include lead time, a completion timeline as well as insurance, surveys, permits and HOA requirements, if applicable.
You should find out whether your city or HOA requires special permits before you can install a fence. For example, the cities of Lakeway and Georgetown require permits to put up fences. Be sure to also check your city’s website for specific permit and inspection requirements for pool fencing if required. In Austin, most fences do not require a permit. However, fences taller than 7 feet may require a permit or at least neighbor consent. We recommend talking to all your neighbors prior to any fence replacement or installation.
Make sure that your quote includes removal and disposal of existing fence if necessary. Most companies include this in their quote, but you should ask anyway. We also suggest asking if the price quoted is a final “turnkey” price with no additional fees or charges. You want to know what your total out of pocket expense will be. Obviously, changes you make or other unsuspected changes to the original quote may change the final price. This should be discussed as these changes are contemplated. The fence estimator can also list what your neighbor’s share would be if they’ll be sharing the cost. Many neighbors will share the cost of the common fence. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
An experienced fence contractor is advisable as there are many “jack of all trades” types, that are offering any kind of service you want for less but use lesser quality materials and inexperienced installers. Get your quotes from reputable companies and choose the one you feel the most comfortable doing business with. Find a company with great reviews and with a website that shows examples of their work. Remember, a new fence is an investment in the value of your home.
A knowledgeable fence contractor will ask for your survey if available, particularly if this is new fence construction. If the property boundaries and corners cannot be determined with the available information we advise to have the property surveyed with points placed along the line, particularly on large lots. Although this can be an added expense, it will give both you and your neighbor’s peace of mind that the fence will be placed properly. Moving a misplaced fence is certainly more expensive than the cost of a new survey.
Your contractor should also schedule to have utilities located to minimize the chance of breaking or cutting any underground lines. It’s the law. Utilities that are typically located include power, gas, cable and internet fiber lines. Digging without locating can be very risky as vital services and everyday conveniences can become disconnected not only to your home, but to entire neighborhoods and sometimes even entire subdivisions.
Check for Insurance
Reputable fence companies should carry Liability insurance. Although it’s rare, someone can get hurt on your property during construction including neighboring kids, pets, etc. Verify before you hire!