Not all South Florida fence companies
are created equal. In our opinion, more than half of the companies actively working and installing fences in South Florida today are unqualified, inexperienced and unprofessional.
Fortunately, there are a few key-points you can use to effectively evaluate any prospective fencing companies when you are receiving bids on your next fence project.
This article discusses those points, and should hopefully point you in the right direction when you are making your final choice.
Check for license and insurance information
A fencing license allows the contractor to pull permits for fencing projects directly. Along with the license, always comes insurance as it’s required to have by the county when you have a license. Companies that don’t have their own valid licenses will use a third party individuals name in order to pull the permit for your work, this third party is typically compensated for allowing the use of their name and license number.
Furthermore, these companies install fences without any liability insurance and also generally do not notify Florida underground and utility companies of their intent to dig. Meaning that if anything were to go wrong during installation, you’re the one footing the bill.
Always check if your fence company is licensed and insured prior to signing the contract because failure to do so could mean serious consequences.
Pulling permits and adhering to South Florida building code
Every time you install a fencing structure on your property, a permit must be obtained prior to construction. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule. During the permitting process, the fence company will obtain a copy of your properties survey and will request that you fill out fencing permit documents specific to your city.
You also may need a letter of approval from your home owner’s association in order to verify that you meet their requirements for fencing construction within their sovereign area.
If the total value is over a certain amount, you may also be required to submit a notice of commencement with your permitting documents. If upon reviewing your survey the fence company finds that the area in which the potential fence is going to installed upon contains a utility or drainage easement, the fence company will need to request permission from the companies that own that easement in order to submit the permitting documentation.
Permits ensure that the homeowner, the city or municipality and the contractor are all abiding by laws and standards that are important for proper construction. Failure to abide by Florida building code can result in weak fencing structures and ultimately can mean more money out of your pocket in the long run because of instability in the fencing line.
Although permitting can add an additional cost to the fencing installation budget, the added cost is really negated by the peace of mind you have knowing that your fence is built according to law and building codes which ultimately ensures that once your fence is installed, it will stay that way.
Quality of materials used
The best fencing contractors know that skimping on material standards will not only make them look bad but will ultimately come back to haunt them when the materials fail. Every fencing type has grades of quality used to differentiate between low, medium and high.
For example, when choosing to install an aluminum fence on your South Florida property, you can opt to purchase a low-grade option from Home Depot and risk the fence falling apart and risk the fence becoming discolored over time, or you can purchase high-quality aluminum fencing from the best aluminum manufacturer in South Florida.
Contractors make this same decision when deciding who to purchase materials from, the price is always second to maintaining high standards through quality material selection.
Your time is valuable, and so is ours. A good fencing contractor will always have his job scheduling under control and a good fencing salesman will always have his appointments set up with time-management in mind.
If a fencing contractor says they are going to show up at your house to install your fence Monday morning, then they better show up Monday morning and not make excuses. Punctuality is the cornerstone of a properly run business, fence or otherwise.
Every home-owner shops around for several bids prior to choosing a company that fits their budget and quality standards, it’s totally natural.
Now, during this period you have the choice to save yourself a few thousand dollars and go with the company that isn’t licensed or insured, doesn’t pull permits for their work and uses cheap quality materials – or you can choose to go with the company that costs a bit more but follows all the standards of quality fencing contracting.
The choice is with you, but making the wrong one can result in numerous headaches including a company that can potentially take your down payment and disappears with it.
Always choose a company that prides itself on its reputation and not one that will do anything to make a quick dollar.
Scheduling and professionalism
Submitting fencing companies for bids is a lot like interviewing potential job candidates for a role in your business.
Only hire the companies that you would hire on a permanent basis if you needed to. A quality fencing installation company will treat you with respect, give you a good price, follow the laws of your county and ultimately show up on time when it’s the day to install your fence.
Making the right choice when hiring a fencing contractor will ensure a smooth and easy process from the time you give them a down-payment all the way up to the final inspection.
Also, keep in mind that most fencing companies in South Florida have a backlog of many jobs. Some of these jobs are in permitting and some are just repairs, but this means that you are almost never going to be the first priority.
When starting a job with your next fencing company, make sure to get a clear answer about the timeline in which all the steps for your project are to take place.
Having proper expectations are very important when entering into long-term agreements like fencing installation contracts typically are.