9 TIPS FOR CHOOSING A VINYL FENCING CONTRACTOR
It can be overwhelming when it comes to finding the right contractor – especially when it is to install your new vinyl fence! Especially in the Saskatchewan market, there are so many vinyl fencing contractors to choose from. That is why we believe the integrity and quality of the company should be examined. We have spent the last few years hearing the concerns of individuals that were looking for a fence contractor. A couple of these were:
- How do I know what kind of quality I will get?
- I can’t seem to get a contract to answer their phone!
- I’m still waiting for the contractor to come back for warranty issues!
These concerns and issues should not be! We have come up with the following 9 tips to help you choose the right vinyl fencing contractor:
1. DO THEY HAVE WCB & LIABILITY INSURANCE?
Safety first! A contractor that takes their business seriously will take precautions to protect his/her employees and customers to the best of their ability. These are also great indicators to the seriousness of the contractor. These regulations provide the assurance to the customer that the contractor is a regulated company that takes the wellbeing of their employees and customers serious.
2. DOES THE CONTRACTOR GET UTILITY LOCATIONS
This is sounds like such a minor thing, but is a huge indicator of the quality of contractor. Underground lines pose a serious safety issue to both the contractor and homeowners. We have been told stories of other contractors hitting underground lines and causing astronomical damage and costs – just because they couldn’t be bothered to call for locates. Having the foresight to take care of these matters shows a high degree of professionalism, as well as a respect for the safety of their employees and customers.
3. ASK FOR REFERENCES
Getting references and following up is a great step to getting a good understanding of your contractor. During the project – or when the project is over – is too late to realize the contractor was not a good fit for your project. Not only the quality of workmanship, but the customer relationship will be revealed by talking to past customers of the contractor. Side note: make sure the reference is an actual past customer and not a friend or family member 🙂
4. RESEARCH THE CONTRACTOR
While references will give you a good idea of what your contractor is like; it can still be a bit unpredictable. Researching the contractor to see if they have a website, pictures of their past work, product information, how long they have been in business for, how many years experience they have, and what their warranty is. We have been called to many houses where the customer did no research, and was spending money on us fixing the job. Do your research!
5. ASK FOR A CONTRACT
As much as we would love to believe that a person’s word is solid, we have all been in a situation that is not so. Professional contractors should be producing a contract that clearly outlines the scope of the work, price, pay schedule, warranty, responsibility of contractor, responsibility of customer, and legal responsibilities if things go sideways. If the contractor has no contract, consider one that does. No contract = no liability to the contractor.
6. ASK FOR PROJECT TIMELINES
We’ve all seen it happen. Contractor shows up and rips half your project apart only to leave it hang without any indicator as to when it will be done. You’ll get a good feel for this as you go through your references. To some people time is not an issue. But if you’re looking for promptness and diligence it will definitely be a question to ask.
7. ARE THEY GIVING INVOICES OR DOING CASH JOBS
While it may be tempting when a contractor says he’ll give you a deal if you pay cash it is not a good indicator of the integrity of the company. If the company is going to break the tax rules and skirt around legislations; what is going to keep them from not doing the same with your project? Will the company remain honest to you, if they are not honest to the professionalism and responsibility they have as a business? Cash may be KING, but an honest contractor is pure GOLD!
8. ASK ABOUT POST PROJECT RESPONSIBILITY
There is a phrase in the construction industry that goes “taillight contractors”. This refers to contractors that you only see their taillights once they have been paid. It is important to have a full understanding of the contractors responsibility post project – do they perform a walk through with the client, follow up with client on warranty issues, or even answer their phone when their clients have questions after the job?
9. DON’T ALWAYS GO WITH THE CHEAPEST
It is so tempting to make a decision based on price. Just remember that the cheapest price is not always the cheapest! What do I mean? There are only 2 factors that dictate the price of your vinyl fence:
- The fence material – The quality of the material is very important. We have seen material that is low cost – and even looks really good – but is cheap. The quality is cheap, and it will not last. This is where additional costs down the road to replace it or fix it will cost you far more than the initial investment.
- The fence install – It seems more and more contractors are advertising vinyl fencing along with the other million services they provide. The concept of vinyl fence install seems easy, but – like anything – there is a skill and education that goes into doing it right.
When contractors discount, they are either providing you cheaper product or less of an install. Ask about the product they are using, and how they will be installing. Your vinyl fence is an INVESTMENT, do you invest your money in the cheapest thing?
Remember, not all contractors are created equal! Make sure you do your part to ensure the contractor is qualified and a good fit for your project.