Fencing contractors will save you precious time and a considerable amount of of exertion when it comes to putting up a new fence on your property. For ambitious projects, or if DIY just isn't your specialty, employing a professional can often be an ideal solution.
How to Choose
But if you're shelling out, you want to make sure you pick the right person - or company - for the job. Follow our top tips to finding a fencing contractor, and you'll soon be putting your feet up while they do all the hard work.
First up, you'll probably want to hit the internet. A quick search for "fencing contractors" and the name of your town will usually bring up a lengthy list of candidates in your area, but don't just call the company at the top. Take time to look at contractors' websites. Do they look professional? Are there photographs available of their recent work?
A good website will usually give you an idea whether the contractor is experienced in the type of project you need them for. Many fencing contractors will proudly share customer feedback on their website, and if you know someone who has recently had a similar job done it's useful to find out who they employed and what their experience was.
Peace of Mind
If you haven't had any professional work done on your home for some time, you might not be aware of Checkatrade - a website where you can search for all types of contractors by trade, by area, and by site rating. Members of the website leave reviews and score contractors on different aspects of their work, including whether they came in on budget, above, or below - all really useful information for you when it comes to choosing who to ask for a quote.
The Fencing Contractors Association website is another great resource available to anyone who needs a fence built. The FCA is an organisation focused on standards and training in the industry, and their website includes a search function you can use to find contractors who are members of the FCA.
Whether you use it as a starting point in finding a contractor, or to check out the credentials of a firm you're considering hiring for your project, the search facility is a quick and easy tool to use. You can search by location and the type of industry assurance required, and in addition you can see whether the member has also joined the FCA's Certified Contractors Scheme.
Getting a Quote
Naturally, you'll want to ask prospective fencing contractors for a quotation before you decide who to employ. In most cases it's a good idea to get at least three quotes, so that you can get an idea of reasonable rates for the type of job - and like all labour costs, these can vary from area to area.
That said, you might not necessarily want to choose the company that gives you the cheapest quote. Be particularly wary if one quote comes in considerably lower than the other two. They may plan on cutting costs by using lower quality materials - higher quotes may seem less attractive, but a good quality fence that's built to last will save you money in the long run.
Look at the breakdown of costs and materials in prospective fencing contractors' quotes. If there isn't a breakdown, ask for one. Brits can be reserved in these matters, but this is no time to be shy. A good contractor will be happy to answer polite questions, and besides - if the job is a large one, good communication is key to ensuring that your contractor knows exactly what your specifications are.
Requesting a quote? This is also an ideal time to ask fencing contractors for evidence of any professional qualifications listed on their website or online profiles and - essentially - their insurance documentation. If they've got these, they'll be only too happy to put your mind at rest.
What are relevant qualifications? This can vary. The Fencing Industry Skills Scheme/Construction Skills Certification Scheme (FISS/CSCS) is based around ensuring that contractors have the right training and knowledge for their areas of expertise. Alternatively, the contractor might have an NVQ in their chosen area, or have undertaken an apprenticeship.
When deciding which quote to go with, think about your experience in talking to the contractor so far. Did they provide a quote within a reasonable timescale? Is it easy to establish a rapport with them? The right fencing contractors for the job will be reliable and open to communication - they want the project to go smoothly as much as you do.
Spread the Word
Finally, if your fencing contractor did a great job, pass it on. Tell your friends, considering leaving online feedback, or write them a quick letter of recommendation. Customer testimonials have never been more important, and they'll appreciate it.