Friday, December 27, 2019

You may or may not agree with this, but its how I see it.

1. Hire someone reputable even if they are no the cheapest. Me personally, I don’t take money upfront and I don’t give money up front. If someone insists on a down payment for materials, I would choose to pay for the materials directly from the supplier. Always do some due diligence up front, don’t just depend on reviews online. Go look at projects they have done in times past and don’t be afraid to knock on the door and ask the folks about their experience. 

2. Warranties and guarantees verbally or in writing a lot of times are just gimmicks and really aren’t worth anything. The reality is that if a contractor decides he is not going to follow through, your only recourse is to spend money taking them to court, which you may or may not have enough evidence to prove and who wants to do that. Use top notch materials and a top notch installation and you won’t need much of a warranty. 

3. Try not to risk it. Me personally, on all my fences I warranty the workmanship for life because that’s how I am. A few dollars isn’t worth someone being unhappy about hiring me to do their fence. I try to make sure that my customers don’t have any risk when they hire me to do their fence. I supply everything with no money down, I use better grade stuff and do make extra efforts in the construction in hopes it will be the last one they ever need. This is how I would want it done at my house anyway. If perhaps I miss something and yes it happens to the best of us, I take care of it quickly.

4. Get a couple or 3 quotes. When it comes to prices for things like fences, which is what I am most familiar with, quotes can be all over the spectrum from really high to really low. I have found as with any type of job or material, you really get what you pay for. A company or contractor who is very reputable and experienced is going to be in high demand and will not be the cheapest a lot of times and it is usually more expensive to have someone come in and fix what somebody cheaper did not do right the first time.

5. Some truths about charges and costs. Usually, there are a few variables in how much a contractor charges. The variables depend on volume, time and cost etc.., there just too many to list. In my line of work which is fencing, arbors, pergolas, those type of outdoor construction stuff, most good, decent and reputable contractors try to charge the costs of the materials plus $1,000 per full day or somewhere around $80-$100 per hour and even a minimum of around $300 if its a small job, etc. This sounds like a lot of money but after a guy pays some good and decent help, pay indirect expenses associated with operating a business, your government takes about 25% of whatever is left over to support those who don’t want to get a job. When it is all said and done and everyone gets paid, the contractor honestly wants to make a decent living for his investment in tools and equipment, expertise from years of experience and his hard work.

At my own house I look at things this way: how long do I want things to last. If I want it to be the last time I do it, then I am going to only hire the best and use only the best materials. When it comes to installing fences, I would rather build the most top of the line fence for someone. However, not everyone has the budget for top of the line neither does it meet their individual needs. So in this case, I try to find a solution that will fit their budget and accomplish their needs too. After all, this is how i would want someone to treat me.

If you have questions about wood privacy fences, wrought iron or chain link fencing, give me a

Mike Downs
 (903) 814-8118

Friday, November 29, 2019

For best results, go the "Zero Risk" route

We have been a Sherman, Texas fencing company since 2002 having grown up around my families' Denison, Texas fencing company. After years of serving the local community I have come to realize what most customers want: the best fence materials for the money, the best installation and the best service with no risk involved. Here are a few things that I do to remove the risk to my customers.

  • Do not give money upfront.
  • Insure the job will be properly supervised.
  • Insists that the posts will be set 3' deep.
  • Always do your due diligence before you hire a Sherman, Texas fencing contractor.
1. Do not give money upfront or wait until a considerable amount of work is done before issuing a draw of payment. I take no money down and usually I do not take any kind of a draw until the customer is completely satisfied with the terms that we agreed upon initially. One of the biggest ripoffs I see with sherman texas fence contractors that I come across are contractors that get into a customers' trust zone by cunningly devised words and a lower priced fence than what a reputable fencing company would charge. After the customer feels comfortable with the contractor and the lower price, they ask for half down for the materials. Most of the time they never come back or they do part of the work and then disappear not responding to phone calls or messages. I have even seen where they will not perform with what was agreed upon by using inferior, cheaper products. In most cases the victim is a lady who is in a vulnerable position.

2. Insure the job is properly supervised, preferably the entire duration. Problems arise when an installation crew is dumped out or left to themselves with no governance. I do the work myself or on the job supervising my helper. I am quite particular of how I want things to be done which is why I do them myself most of the time except for when I am really backed up in the spring time and I hire a helper to lighten the load. In many cases employees and crews do not feel that they are being paid enough for the hard work that they perform, no matter how well they are being paid. With no supervision they are more apt to cut corners especially if they are paid by the foot or per the amount of work they do. Hourly or daily rate installers tend to drag their feet more but either way supervision is of utmost importance. Back in my early days when i would hire people the biggest problem we had when installers would not take the extra time to things like clean the excess dirt out of the holes or set the posts to the right depth because it was more work. I have also seen where contractors promised they would use cedar and ended up using pine or an inferior type of cedar that does not have the same durability characteristics that cedar has resulting in a poor quality fence. The sad thing is that the trusting customer does not know the difference between cedar and pine/fir most of the time. I had a widow that I had given a quote to back in the spring of 2019. Because of the durability and quality aspect of construction it was a bit more than the local sherman texas fprivacy fence contractor she had heard of on facebook and so she chose that route giving them money up front. Afterwards she called me crying wanting to see if there was anything I could do to resolve the issues in which their nails/screws were bleeding down the fence like Tammy Faye's mascara, they used pine 2x3's which will rot and bow in 6 months and her gates sagged and dropped as soon as they got wet.

3. Insist the posts to be set extra deep. I like to set all of my posts 3' deep in the ground. Most sherman texas fencing companies claim that they set their posts 2' deep per the engineer spec, after going out and repairing and replacing their posts I often find they are  only set about 14-18 inches most of the time. The reason I like to deeper on my posts is the fact that north texas has some of the worst dirt known to man when it comes to a foundation or a footing as the first 2' of the dirt is worthless. I have dropped tools down in some of the cracks and could not find them they ran so deep. In the past I have had customers want me to come out and fix leaning fence posts by digging around them and pouring concrete, which will not work for the long haul. The post is the life of the fence and it must be set deeper than the engineer spec. Even after they are set deep there is some responsibility on the side of the homeowner int terms of proper drainage by shedding water away and by using irrigation such as a soaker hose, drip lines or sprinklers.

Notice how our north texas soil recedes and causes the post to heave in dry months.

4. Always do some Due Diligence before you hire a sherman tx fence contractor, don't just take their word or anyone else's word for it. It's always better to try before you buy, so to speak but in this case the best way to do so is by looking at other fences they have done and talking with former customers. I would recommend looking at some that are 5 plus years old. Ask the customers they have done work for if they felt like they performed and done what they say they would do and if they were 100% completely satisfied. They way i do it is this: if you are not satisfied, I will either make it right or I will not charge you a dime. Look at some of their google reviews and don't just look at the good reviews, look at the ones that are negative. As of today, the only negative google review that I have as a sherman texas privacy fence contractor is a 3 star rating from a really young couple that I never did any work for, all I did was give them a quote and then they told me to do it. I took the time of purchasing all of the materials and obtained the building permit. When I showed up at their house they had someone come in and slap a fence up without giving me the decency of a cancellation or anything. I expressed my frustration with them and they expressed their's by a 3 star review. Since being the #1 rated fencing company in sherman texas, I could probably count on 2 fingers how many unhappy customers I have had and it was something that was beyond my control and fell into the category of not knowing specifically what they wanted.

As a Sherman Texas fencing company I pride myself in accepting all of the risk to ensure my customers feel comfortable with their decision to choose Mike Downs Fencing. It is a privilege for me to serve Sherman, Denison, Pottsboro, Van Alstyne, Gunter, Gainesville, Whitesboro and surrounding counties and I look forward to serving you. Cedar privacy fences, cedar board on board fences. Metal fences. Wrought Iron fences. Fence Staining.

If you would like to talk about a new fence, feel free to call.
Mike Downs Fencing
(903) 814-8118

Friday, November 15, 2019

Fencing in Van Alstyne, Tx

It was a pleasure to build an affordable, middle of the road budget cedar fence in Van Alstyne,  Texas for The Carnley Family. The Carnleys had a brand new pool installed after which I came in and built the fence for privacy, however on the back side The Carnleys didnt want to obstruct their view so they opted for 4 ft tall black chan link fencing. 
On this particular fence, I installed heavy pipe posts (instead of tubing posts from the big box stores) and I set them 3' deep in the ground with a wide auger.  If you are looking for a fencing company and Van Alstyne Texas please keep in mind that the soil in North Texas in some of the world's worst on any kind of a foundation or footing and it is extremely important to make sure the post are set deep in the ground.
 The carnally's also selected number 2 and better grade Cedar pickets to save a little money on the budget. These pickets are a decent choice if you are on a budget I buy a whole lot extra in order to cull out a lot of the badd ones so that you get a good wiat's for less money. A lot of contractors will not take the extra time to cull out badd lumber. I cull out pickets that have soft knots and large splits. I also call out those that have waning. Waning does not take stain very well. Van Alstyne Texas fence companies and contractors who are quite particular, like myself want things done the way I would want it done at my own house.
We chose  Premium rough cut Cedar 2 by 4 rails since they last longer, look better, and do not warp like the cheap ones do.  I also installed a 2 by 6 treated pine rot board along the bottom of the fence in order to keep the Cedar pickets from rotting as well as the weed eater from tearing up the Cedar pickets.

Testimonial from the homeowner, Cliff Carnley;



Thanks Mike for everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Drive by this fence in van alstyne tx and see it for yourself!

186 Glen Circle Rd S
186 Glen Circle Rd S, Van Alstyne, TX 75495

If you are needing cedar fencing, fening companies, fencing contractors near van alstyne tx, reach out to 
mike downs fencing 
(903) 814-8118. Or 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Fence Stain: What Really Matters

The world's best stain will:
Last a long time in outdoor conditions
Be very reasonable priced
Look really professional and compliment the structure
Protect the structure in outdoor conditions
Not be harmful

My proprietary mix will last 3x longer than anything in the stores.
My prices to come seal/stain your fence starts at per square foot: $.10 to bleach it and $.35 to seal it and stain it for side by side style fences and a little extra fro board on board styles.
My customers really love the color as well as the look of the wood when it is complete.
I go back every 4 years or so and most of the fence does not need to be reapplied except the sides facing the south or west.