If you’re looking to have a fence installed around your yard, listen up! In today’s article, we interview Eddie Clark, CFP of Accent Fence. He offers some awesome tips on selecting the right fence contractor in Atlanta. In this two-part series, we’ll investigate what to look for before choosing someone to work with. Eddie was a branch manager for a wholesale fencing manufacturer. When the company went out of business 17 years ago, he started his own fencing business – Accent Fence of Atlanta.
To make sure that you choose a trustworthy fencing company to work with, consider the following questions:
- Are they a member of the National Association?
- How long have they been in business?
- What does their online reputation say about them?
- Can you trust them?
- Do they work for builders as well as doing residential installations?
- What kind of workmanship warranty do they offer?
Let’s take a look at why these questions are so very important:
Are they a member of the National Association?
“The danger of this industry is the ease of entry,” Eddie said. “Anyone with a post-hole digger and a truck can be in business this afternoon. So, for example, I am a member of the American Fence Association. Most knuckleheads won’t want to pay to be part of this association. When a fencing contractor is an active member, it shows a commitment to the industry and that this is more than a job to them.”
He continued, “There are additional credentials to look for. For example, I am also a Certified Fence Professional.” Is that important? Notice what Eddie shared: “Less than 2% of fence installers ever achieve this certification. It takes a lot of time to be qualified to take this comprehensive test. In fact, more than half fail on their first try. It also requires re-certification every 3 years. Next, there is being recognized as a Blue Ribbon Contractor by the association. When you are selective like this, chances are really good that you’ll get a great contractor.”
The lesson? Be selective. Remember that anyone can call themselves a fence installer. However, only 2% of the installers out there have received recognition as a Certified Fence Professional. You deserve the best contractors working on your home, don’t you? So, don’t settle for anything less.
How long has the company been in business?
A company’s warranty is only as good as how long they’ve been in business. You want a company that’s been in business for a minimum of three to five years. Why three years minimum? “Most businesses die within the first three years,” Eddie said. “So a company that’s still in business after five years is a good sign. However, make sure that they have the same business name, same owner, and same phone number for the whole time they’ve been in business.”
Remember that five years of experience isn’t enough. You don’t want a bankrupt business working on your home under a new name, do you? Instead, you’re looking for a business with a trustworthy track record.
What does their online reputation say about them?
Look for contractors with good reviews on portals like Google and Kudzu. If you can, talk to the customers and look at the fence to prove to yourself that it was installed professionally.
Can you trust them?
Online reputation is one thing. Spending time with the fence professional when getting a quote is quite another. Does it sound like they know what they’re talking about? Are they able to explain their process and methods for installing a backyard fence in detail? “If they can’t explain to you what they’re going to do in an easy-to-understand, logical manner, why would you ever want them to install your fence?” Eddie asked.
In short, listen to your gut before signing on the dotted line.
Do they do work for builders as well as doing residential installations?
Why should you care about this? “Most fences will not need to be replaced for 15 years,” Eddie said. “That means if a contractor only does residential installations he does not need to focus on customer service. A residential fence installer can do poor to medium grade quality work and still stay in business because they don’t count on repeat business. They make their money and then disappear. On the other hand, if a contractor does work for home builders, then they must do good work or they will be replaced quickly!”
So, if you want a reliable contractor, choose a company that does work for repeat customers like home builders.
What kind of workmanship warranty do they offer?
Eddie told us that traditionally the workmanship warranty on a new fence is one year. He continued, “If there’s going to be a problem with the installation it shows up quickly, usually within 6 months. We’re not talking about warped boards because that’s the nature of wood. We’re talking about poor workmanship by the installer.”
Eddie went on. “Now, some salesmen will offer you a five-year warranty on workmanship to differentiate themselves from the competition. However, as explained already, this really has no value. It sounds good in theory. Remember that most fence contractors will not even be in business five years from now! So, if some smooth-talking salesman tells you he will give you a five-year warranty on workmanship, try this instead. Ask him what the price is with only a one-year warranty on the labor. They’ll tell you it’s the same price. You will quickly learn that this is a meaningless warranty.”
That concludes Part 1 of this series on how to select a good fence company in Atlanta. We want to thank Eddie of Accent Fence for his time and the great advice. We hope you have found this information helpful. In Part 2, we’ll examine a few shortcuts fencing contractors might take that you need to protect yourself from.
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