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