So, you have a fence to build but you’re looking to hire someone to do it? Whether it’s because you’re short on time or lack fencing experience, there are some things to keep in mind when you hire a fencing contractor. After all, proper installation is key to building a fence for the long run.
Luckily for you, we asked Bekaert Fence Pro Van Medley to share his tips for hiring and working with a fence contractor. And he gave us five great tips! Plus, a ton of questions you can ask when you reach out to the contractor.
Know what your end goal is.
Before you first call a fencing contractor about your job, you need to know what you want. “You want to have a fairly good knowledge of what your end goal is and the overall fence you want before you call a contractor,” Medley says. “Think about things like where you want the fence and what the fence will be used for.”
Eventually, when you find a contractor you like, you will have them do an on-site visit. “Knowing what you want allows the contractor to make recommendations when they visit you,” Medley shares. “For example, maybe they see where you want to build your fence but the terrain isn’t ideal. They can direct you on where to move the fence.”
When you have your goal in mind, a good contractor can help you plan your fencing project for the best end result. You can also map your fence with the Bekaert Fencing Calculator to get an idea of the size of your project. When done, email your fence calculator project results to yourself and share it with potential contractors.
Check the contractor’s credentials.
Before you hire a fence contractor, you need to see their credentials. “Check if the contractor has experience building the type of fence you desire,” Medley says. “For instance, a contractor who specializes in barbed wire may not have experience working with electrified smooth wire.”
Secondly, Medley advises looking at their previous work. “When picking a contractor to work with, never hesitate to ask them for photos of their work. Maybe even ride out to a job they’ve done in the past to look at it. I encourage you to do this if you’re newer to fencing. It will help you visualize what the fence will look like on your place.”
If a contractor will not show you their work, Medley says that is a red flag. “A fence contractor is usually proud of the work they do and wants to show it off. So, they should be more than happy to share photos or take you to a job site. If they’re hesitant to share their past work, that is a big red flag to me.”
Use the Contractor Locator on the Bekaert website.
If you want to take the guesswork out of hiring a qualified contractor, use the Bekaert Contractor Locator. It shows you pre-qualified contractors within a certain mile radius from your location.
The team at Bekaert has developed The Contractor Advantage Program (The CAP) with landowners in mind. Bekaert assesses each contractor that wants to join the program through a thorough process.
“Our goal as we vet these contractors is to make sure we’re getting expert fence contractors out to your place,” Medley says. “The process includes a phone interview with them, they submit pictures of their work and then we do an on-site evaluation of their fencing.”
Working with a contractor who has qualified for The CAP will ensure your fence is built by one of the best.
Ask questions, including the specifics of the fence.
Before hiring a contractor, make sure you understand how they build a fence. Some specific questions to ask that Medley recommends are:
- What type of braces do you build? (Read our article on common bracing problems to learn more about braces.)
- What is the length of your braces?
- How deep do you set your post?
- What type of products do you use?
“You want to make sure that the wire they use has a good coating on it for longevity,” Medley advises. “And to make sure that when using wood posts that they are treated wood posts.”
There are also some general questions to ask including:
- When are you able to start this project?
- What is your timeframe for a fence like this?
- Can I get a written estimate?
- How is your quote developed? Do you charge by the foot or hour? Does it include materials and a set percentage?
- Do you have liability insurance?
“That last one is super important,” Medley advises. “You’re going to have equipment and people on your property. So you don’t want one of their employees to get hurt and liability to potentially come back on you.”
5) Sit down with the contractor and chat about expectations.
A lot of things go into a fencing project. That means, when you’re working with a contractor, you need to discuss who is handling what, so nothing is missed.
“When you’re getting ready to hire a contractor, I like to sit down and write out exactly what the contractor’s expectations and responsibilities are and what is expected of the landowner. That way, there is no confusion.”
Some questions Medley advises asking during this conversation include:
- Who is responsible for marking the new fence line?
- Does the landowner or the contractor tear out the old fence?
- Is the landowner responsible for disposing of the old fence?
- Who will supply the fence materials?
- Who is going to call the utility company?
“Always have this conversation beforehand,” Medley says. “That way a contractor doesn’t show up and move in all of their equipment and you don’t have the supplies they thought you were getting.”
Need more advice on hiring a contractor?
If you have questions about hiring a fencing contractor or how to use our Contractor Locator, Medley and the Bekaert Fence Pros are available to answer them. Submit questions at fencing.bekaert.com/en/contact-us and a member of The Bekaert Fence Pro team will respond within 24 hours.
Are you a fencing contractor? Bekaert wants to bring you business while providing our customers with qualified, value-driven contractors they can trust. To inquire about joining The CAP, email us at CAP@beakert.com or fill out our contact form.