The fence contractor you hire is just as important as the fence material you choose. In order to make the right choice, you should thoroughly vet your installer and their company. Think of your initial estimate as an interview. You don’t always have to go with the first contractor that appears after your Google search. Take the time to get a few different estimates from your local fence contractors. We’ve created a list of the top 22 questions you should ask your fence installer before getting started. Feel free to download and print off the PDF checklist we’ve created to help you through the estimate process.
Questions for Your Fence Estimator
1. What are your credentials and experience in fence installation?
Find someone who has been installing fences for years. Also look for fence companies that are members of the American Fence Company and have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau.
2. Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
Check that your fence builder has a license to install fences. It’s also important that they are insured and bonded so that you are not responsible if something goes wrong.
3. Do the fence and labor come with warranties?
Trex comes with a 25-Year residential warranty, but you, as the homeowner, needs to register it. It’s also a good idea to make sure your fence contractor provides a warranty for the installation and labor, in case something goes wrong.
4. Do you have referrals or reviews from past customers?
It’s easy to find reviews of fence companies online, but they can sometimes be misleading. Ask the estimator if there are any recent customers you could contact to learn about their experience with the company.
5. What are some of the recent projects you’ve completed?
It’s helpful to be able the scope of the fence company’s work. Ask for pictures or a location where you can visit that they’ve recently installed a fence.
6. Can I review a copy of your standard contracts?
When you sign a contract, it will be specific to you. But if they have a standard contract, it’s good to look it over and ask questions about things you don’t understand.
7. Do you take care of permits?
There’s a lot of paperwork that you need before you can even start building your fence. Find out if your contractor collects city permits for you, or if you need to get them yourself.
8. Will you take care of marking utility lines?
Fence companies don’t actually mark utility lines, your city or gas company will do that for free. But it’s important to ask if that’s something the contract will take care of or if you need to do it yourself.
9. Do you subcontract out any of the work?
Some fence companies will use subcontractors to do the work they can’t always complete. Using a subcontractor isn’t good or bad, but you should always be aware of all the people you will be working with.
10. Have you ever installed Trex Fencing before?
Believe it or not, there are some fence contractors that have never installed Trex Fencing before. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean they can’t do it! Trex Fencing is easy to install and we have install specialists ready to guide them through the process and answer any questions they might have.
11. What are the steps of your installation process?
It’s important to understand your fence installer’s process so you know what to expect and how long it will take.
12. How deep will you set the posts and will they be in concrete?
You want to be sure that your fence will be installed correctly. It’s important that the posts are installed below the frost line and in concrete, if necessary, for stability. You don’t want your fence builder cutting any corners.
13. Will my fence be stepped or sloped?
If your yard has any kind of a grade, your fence won’t be a straight horizontal line. Ask your fence builder if they plan on stepping the fence or sloping it. Find out more about the difference between stepping and sloping here.
14. How tall will be fence be?
Trex Fencing can be built as small as 4ft and as tall as 12ft. However, most cities have regulations on how high a fence can be. Your fence installer should be familiar on local city codes and together you can decide the height that works best for you.
15. What would I need to do before the fence can be installed?
Your fence builder might need you to clean up your yard, remove your exsisting fence, gather permits, mark utility lines, get approval from your neighbors, or secure kids and dogs inside. Communicate with them, so when they show up to work, there are no delays.
16. Do I need to be present while my fence is being installed?
There are some parts of the installation process that might require you to be home in order to answer questions or make decisions. It’s important to make a plan with your contractor to be around when they need you.
17. Will you take care of site clean-up?
Building a fence is messy. Find yourself a contractor that cleans up after themselves. You shouldn’t have to do it for them.
18. Is there someone I can keep in contact with throughout this process?
It’s always good to have contact information for someone who knows what’s happening with your fence. If you have questions, concerns, or you want to change your plan, be sure that you know who to talk to and how to reach them.
19. Can you provide me with a site plan?
In addition to a written estimate, your estimator might be able to give you a site plan which is a discriptive drawing of the fence plan. It can be helpful to have a visual, and to reference it while your fence is being installed.
20. Does your estimate include all reasonable costs to build this fence?
You should know exactly how much your fence will cost when you recieve your estimate. Occasionally things will go wrong and additional charges might be necessary, but a good contractor is upfront with all their prices and fees.
21. Are there any deals or discounts you can offer me?
It’s always nice to save some money. Find out if your fence contractor has any promotions or if there are things you can do to keep costs low. Sometimes you can recieve discounts by installing out of season or paying the full cost up-front.
22. Will you confirm with me before making any changes not specified in our contract?
Communication is key. Find yourself a fence company that will be transparent with you ever step of the way. And if something goes wrong, they’ll let you know. That way you’ll know exactly what to expect when your fence is finished and the final bill comes due.