A quality fence will add value and appeal to your property. It's important to have fencing erected by experienced professionals and there are ways to ensure you hire a reputable fencing contractor and not a rogue operator.
Your residential or commercial fence is an investment worthy of diligent research prior to commencement of the work. As with any building or trade project, it's a good idea to get quotes from several contractors, and to steer clear of shonky dealers who massively undercut competitors in return for cash-only payments.
Dave Ward from Awards Fencing outlines questions you should ask any fencing contractor before signing the contract.
- Is there a warranty covering the product, including after-sales service?
Your fence looks great and you have paid the contractor, but what happens if you notice a major fault several weeks later? If the work isn't covered by a warranty the fencing contractor has no obligation to undertake repairs. A warranty is an important legally binding document enforcing repairs or compensation in cases of faulty workmanship, weather damage or other issues as disclosed in the contract.
Make sure you fully understand the cover your warranty provides, including a reasonable time-frame for reporting issues that need attention. A fencing company that doesn't provide a warranty shouldn't even be considered for the job.
- How long will my fencing project take to complete?
A reputable fencing contractor will be able to provide an estimated time-frame for completion of the entire project. This estimate, although just an approximation, will provide a valuable guideline if the fence is urgently required to meet a pressing deadline.
All going smoothly, your fencing project could be completed ahead of schedule. However, it's a good idea to factor in a little extra time for possible delays caused by bad weather or council approval processes.
- Do you supply direct from the manufacturer?
A fencing contractor that deals directly with the manufacturer will be able to save money by cutting out the middleman. After paying less for materials, the savings can then be passed on to you, the customer.
- Can you provide testimonials from previous customers?
Researching your fencing contractor will also include investigating the opinions of previous customers. If your contractor is well known you will be able to locate and speak to previous customers in person, giving you an accurate appraisal of the work carried out. Online testimonials and reviews, although often helpful, can also be deceptive; sometimes written by company employees or by people from competing businesses.
- How long have you been in business?
A long history of quality fencing work is a sure sign of experienced trades-persons and a trustworthy company. Years of service excellence will naturally attract the most capable workers who understand every facet of the business and take pride in a job well done. Rogue operators come and go, but quality fencing stands the test of time.
- Are there existing jobs where I can inspect your workmanship?
A reputable fencing company will be proud of their work, and display photos on websites and social media. If they have been in business for a while, there will also be examples of their work all over town. Physically examining the work will not only give you assurance regarding quality, but possibly provide new ideas for your own fencing project. A first-hand look will help you decide on the fencing materials and style that most suits your needs.
- Are you a member of the Master Builders Association or other industry organisations?
This is a question you might like to ask at the beginning of the hiring process. Industry organisations require a high standard of professionalism and service from their members. An affiliated fencing company that meets the desired quality standards will gain credibility as part of the Master Builders Association. The strict standards ensure you are dealing with a well-respected company.
- Do you have insurance?
It's highly recommended that a business should have public liability insurance. A company without public liability insurance is operating without proper consideration for safety of employees and customers. If a fencing company doesn't have insurance, it's an immediate red flag and a reason to look elsewhere. There is every chance a company without public liability insurance is cutting corners, ignoring safety and is not a legitimate fencing contractor.