Before you call a random fence company, I want to help provide you tips for hiring the right fence company. Over the last few years I have seen plenty of fences that just make me shake my head…and you think I cannot do this because I am a female?
Okay maybe I should introduce myself, so you understand what qualified me to share with you these tips. I am Chynna, co owner of Emerson Home Exterior Enhancements. Not only do I build fences but proud to be voted as Houston best female fence builder both in 2019 and in 2020. That is not to say I did not have my learning curves and battles; I did! However, my Dad whose been building fences since he was a teenager was smart enough not to hand me a crew and say “Go” and I won’t say I am Houston best, but my quality of fence speaks for itself. Now that you know who I am let me help my fellow Houstonians avoid BAD CONTRACTORS by creating a cheat sheet to help you choose the best fence company.
When I was in high school cramming for a test, I wanted to know only what was on a need to know basis. This left a lot to chance and that is not what I want you to do.
Here is just one example of a nightmare you don’t on your hands https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ylxevo9Z-ds
Why Choosing A Fence Company Can Be Scary?
In the past three years, the BBB received about 293 complaints about fence contractors, finding the right fence company can seem frightening just as it is with other jobs you probably have to do around the home. Projects that are constantly in the back of your mind and you keep reminding yourself you need to get these tasks done but you keep putting them off!
Why? For most people I assume the answer to this question is the same, everyone has heard horror stories of hiring an unknown fence contractor, having a terrible job done, being disappointed, ripped off, left high and dry in the middle of a fence project or having a bigger mess to clean up in their backyard then before their fence was installed, It’s scary hiring someone you do not know to build your fence, as soon as you start thinking of hiring someone, instantly a flood of nagging doubts rush to your mind. Like "who can I trust?" That's why price should never be the only factor you consider especially in Houston. Where we are from (Missouri) Fence companies must be licensed and undergo certifications, when we relocated in 2017 we were floored to realize anyone with a truck who can sap two board together can be a fence contractor This not only alarmed us, but should alarm you too! so let me help...
Finding The Right Fence Contractor
Finding the right fence company who can build you a quality fence on budget and on time with the beauty and durability you should expect regardless if the fence is wood or another material might be harder than just letting the fence rot. BUT there are plenty of good, reliable, and skilled fence companies in Houston besides just us but for every good fence company there are a dozen more that you should avoid. Use this cheat sheet to save yourself money and a headache. Here is how to separate good fence contractors from the pack.
My first suggestion is to not hire the first fence company you run across, collect at least three quotes from different fence companies, for a busy homeowner this can seem to be a daunting task, true, it can be time consuming but by getting different quotes it will help you make a better choice. Be engaged in the process, schedule a time to meet with the fence rep when you know you'll be home. this may be a burden but it wont be the burden of having to replace a wooden fence that was improperly installed on your property. If the fence company is worth their weight in gold they will work early or late appointments into their schedule and ASK QUESTIONS!! Don't be shy, this is an investment into your home and if they are bothered by these questions, then that's a sure sign your not dealing with a reputable fence company. Also make sure to shorten the fence consultation by prepping for the fence rep:
keep your dogs inside
unlock all gates
clear foliage around problem areas.
Assuming your home to meet with the fence rep when they are taking measurements, stay nearby so if they have a question or need anything your there. Also let them know upfront if you are just price shopping. At Emerson Home Enhancements, we are fair with our prices, but the majority of our customers know up front that we are not the lowest priced fence company in Houston. However consider this, if a fence is built correctly it will last you 20 to 30 years seeing that you maintain it, going with the cheapest guy in town may shorten the fences lifecycle to 5 to 7 years, so which was cheaper in the end? Exactly, so while the price is important its no indicator for experience, reliability, skilled, or honesty. Consider one other factor besides price to base your choice from.
Questions To Ask A Fence Company
When you meet with a fence company don't hesitate to ask questions, it is better safe now than sorry later when you did not investigate all the information upfront. I have created this cheat sheet from years of having customers ask me the very same question. A fence contractor should be willing to spend the time building a relationship with you not just building a fence. Ask these questions and weed out the good fence companies from the bad ones.
Does your company carry insurance?
Is there any ending legal actions?
Does your company pull permits? It’s important to know in Houston if you’re in the flood plain you need a permit of if you’re having over an 8 foot fence or concrete or masonry fence.
When is payment required and what is the deposit?
Will you provide a written guarantee?
Do you provide refences?
Will you use subcontractors?
What is your policy for removal of previous fence?
What is the width of each fence panel your installing?
How deep will you set the post? Will you use concrete?
Will the owner or foreman be on site?
When can you start? How long will it take?
How should my fence be taken care of?
What’s the policy if I am unhappy?
How long is the quote good for?
Asking these hard questions when selecting a fence company does not guarantee you have a quality fence contractor as the company may be reputable but the fence contractor installing your fence may be new to the industry. We always make sure either my Dad or I am on site so that we can be a customers point of contract and make sure that our crew is following our specific specifications.
On wood fences we use a three brace system, this means regardless if the fence is southern yellow or cedar they have a top, middle and bottom brace. We also use screws not nails and each fence post is pressured treated and installed in a full bag of concrete. These lessons came from building fences in Missouri and while Houston is not the best environment for wooden fences, Missouri is worse, we have snow on top of rain, heat, and humidity. Most shoddy fences wouldn't last two winters where I a m from and most fences down here start having problems far too soon because the fence contractor slapped two board together and called it a wrap! The last thing you want is someone who takes your money and runs or build a fence that looks like the poor woman in this video.
Another way to find a fence contractor is to look at a newly built fence you pass by and stop to ask who built their fence, we do not tag our fences, perhaps in the future we should but we get a lot of customers by referrals who searched their neighborhood and inquired. Also, the fence company does not need to just deal with fences, perhaps you know a landscaper or handyman who does this or maybe they know a quality fence company. It never hurts to find out. Remember companies thrive and die by customers reviews, if no less than a handful of customers are recommending them and saying positive things chances are you will not like the fence, they build for you.
Check Fence Company References
In addition, check referrals both off and online, we have a handful of customers who don't mind receiving a call from a prospect, this five minute call verifies that what you read online is true, don't just look at online referrals. In fact knowing how important referrals are there are seedy companies that a business can pay to write fake reviews and remove negative ones. How do we know, well I wrote a 1 star for a national oil company as when I had them change my oil in the truck they screwed up and didn't tighten the bolts up. My engine oil poured out on Hwy 6 and angry I left a bad review that disappeared in 48 hours, wanting to know why I turned to Google to discover that a company can enlist this service, so much for transparency.
When you call a reference ask these 5 probing questions.
· Did your fence go as planned?
· What challenges did you have working with _____fence company?
· Was your fence completed on time and on budget?
· What was their working style? Were they self-driven or did they need micromanaged?
· Would you hire them again?
Whomever you choose to build your backyard fence be courteous! When you receive great work leave a review for the business and when you get bad service let others know. Do a little research on the BBB and see if you find________fence company reviews that say “scam” or “bad” or “rip off” Above all you want to ensure there is no lawsuits pending and that everything they guarantee is in writing. I hope this checklist has helped you plan your next fence projects. I
Looking for a Quality Fence Company in Houston
If you are looking for a quality fence company in the greater Houston area contact Emerson Home Exterior Enhancements. You can reach us at 281-545-7740 or visit us online at www.ehehomes.com
We are fully insured and offer the longest fence warranty within the area. Our cedar fences have a 3 year guarantee and yellow pie come with a 18 month guarantee, ensuring if their is ever a problem your investment is safeguarded. When you call our staff will be happy to answer any of your questions or schedule your free fence consultation. In addition to wooden fences we also offer wrought iron, PVC vinyl, aluminum, compost and pool fences.