You need to ask your fencing contractor a few questions.
Even before you engage the contractor, ask friends and neighbors for advice.
They will know who is good and you may also find out who to avoid.
Have a list of questions ready to ask. Remember you are the boss in this relationship and if you are not happy with the answers then reconsider using the contractor.
Seven questions you should always ask your contractor would be:
- References Please
- Do I Need A Permit?
- Are You Insured?
- How Much Is All Of This Going To Cost?
- How Long Will It Take?
- Are You Using Treated Wood?
- Hey! What About Maintenance?
While some of the questions are more formal than others, it is still good to keep them in mind.
Let’s have a look at each one in a bit more detail.
Always, always ask for a reference from a contractor, especially if they do not come from a friendly tip.
If a contractor is top-class and has a line of top jobs behind them, then they will only be too happy to obtain a reference for you. Follow up on the reference and maybe even take a look at their previous jobs.
If you are unsure about the contractor, it may be a good idea to look elsewhere.
Do I Need A Permit?
Another question to ask at the beginning of a project.
Many fence types do not need a permit but plenty of them do. If you are putting up a fence in a residential zone or one that borders another person’s property, you will at least need to check-in with the building official of the local council.
A fencing contractor can obtain a permit on your behalf or you can do the paperwork yourself. They should be familiar with local regulations.
Ask at the local office if you are unsure.
Are You Insured?
If you employ a contractor and something happens to them, or one of their employees, on your property, then you could be liable.
Ask the fencing contractor do they have insurance and insist on seeing the paperwork before they begin the project.
If it is a big job consider what could happen if they go out of business.
Many insurance policies cover this eventuality.
How Much Is All Of This Going To Cost?
A critical question to get an answer on before work begins.
Make sure every cost is tied down.
Ensure they itemize all costs, so you know where the money is going on the project.
You do not want to be hit by some unseen spending towards the end of the work.
Do not agree on anything until all is are clear and you know how much money you will be spending.
How Long Will It Take?
Another good one to ask early.
If you can get a finish date or at least an approximate one, then you know what to expect.
Write it into the contract so the contractor can’t squirm out of any promised dates.
Contractors have been known to disappear to work on another project after beginning the first one.
When this happens it will delay the construction of your fence and have a finish date in the contract will work in your favor.
Is the Fencing Contractor Using Treated Wood?
Don’t assume the right wood is going into your fence.
Ask the contractor what type of wood they are using and if possible choose the timber yourself from the fencing supply company.
All wood used outdoors should be fully treated against the weather, termites and fungi.
Pressure-treated wood, where chemicals are fed in during manufacture, works best and lasts the longest.
Do your research on this one as it will be too late when the contractor is gone.
Hey! What About Maintenance?
Another good one to ask before they begin.
The fence will need caring for in the years to come.
Find out from the fencing contractor what you will need to do to keep it looking good.
On a large project, the contractor may offer a maintenance agreement, which may be useful for looking after your investment.
Ask for a warranty on the job, in case the fence starts to fall over in a couple of years.
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