When it comes to a fence projects, hiring a contractor is often the best way to ensure a successful outcome. However, finding the right contractor can be a daunting task. This blog post aims to provide you with a comprehensive guide on hiring a fence contractor, from defining your project goals to evaluating potential candidates and managing the working relationship.
1. Finding a Contractor: Start your search by seeking recommendations from neighbors, friends, or online community groups. Research online directories, review platforms, and local associations to compile a list of potential fencing contractors. When looking on sites like Angi's List, Yelp, Houzz or Homeadviser, they only list contractors on top of their search who pay them to do so, not necessarily the best contractor.
2. Experience and Reputation: Check their experience in installing the type of fence you need. Look for reviews and referrals from past customers. Ask potential contractors for references from previous clients and projects similar to yours. Contact these references to inquire about their experiences with the contractor. Additionally, request to see their portfolio of completed projects. This will give you an idea of their work quality and style.
3. Licensing and Insurance: Ensure that the contractors on your shortlist are properly licensed and insured. A valid license demonstrates that they have met the necessary requirements to operate in your area. Insurance protects you from liability in case of accidents or property damage during the project. You can check your local government to verify they are current with their licenses and insurance. For Washington state, check: https://secure.lni.wa.gov/verify/
4. Conduct Interviews and Obtain Estimates: Schedule interviews with the contractors on your shortlist. During the interview, discuss your project in detail and ask relevant questions about their experience, timeline, and approach to problem-solving. Get detailed written estimates outlining costs, materials, and project timelines. A contract should specify all terms, including warranties and payment schedules.
5. Comparing Estimates: Once you have a few estimates, review them thoroughly. The proposal should outline the scope of work, material, project timeline, payment schedule, and any warranties or guarantees. Make sure everything you are paying for is written down otherwise it can be excluded or an additional cost. Be sure each contractor is estimating the same quality materials and best install practices for a apple to apple comparison, (using the same grade cedar or cedar post on pipe vs. pressure treated posts)
6. Permits and Regulations: Ensure the contractor is familiar with local building codes, regulations, and necessary permits for fence installation.
7. Payment Terms and Warranty: Be wary of contractors asking for full payment upfront. Payment terms should be reasonable and outlined clearly in the contract. Read the warranty thoroughly to understand what it does cover and doesn't cover, ensuring they cover workmanship and materials.
7. Communicate and Establish Expectations: Clear communication is key to a successful contractor-client relationship. Clearly communicate your expectations, project timeline, and any specific requirements. Regularly communicate with the contractor throughout the project to address any concerns or changes.
8. Monitor Progress and Quality: Regularly monitor the progress of the project and ensure that the work is being done according to the agreed-upon specifications. Address any issues or concerns promptly to avoid delays or subpar workmanship. It is also important to inspect the completed work before making final payments.
9. Final Inspections: Conduct a thorough final inspection upon completion. Address any remaining concerns or issues and ensure that warranties and guarantees are provided for workmanship and materials. Once final payment is made, this means the work is finished and only warranty items are covered.
In conclusion, hiring a contractor can be a crucial step in achieving your home improvement goals. By following the guidelines outlined in this blog post, you can increase your chances of finding the right contractor and ensuring a successful project outcome. Remember to invest time in research, communicate effectively, and establish clear expectations to foster a positive working relationship with your chosen contractor.