Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Fence Company Comparisons

Selecting the right contractor for your project can be challenging and frustrating, but if you have a plan; the decision can become more obvious.  Here are some questions you should be able to answer before you decide:
 
  • Does the company have a current State Contractor license?

This is important because contractors must prove to the State of MN that they have adequate insurance, that they are bonded and it means they are serious about being in this industry for the long term.  A link to look up a residential contractor is provided here: https://secure.doli.state.mn.us/lookup/licensing.aspx

This is a easy way of weeding out the non-licensed contractors right away.

  • In-House crews or sub-contractors?
Subs tend to have the best interest of themselves in mind; not the homeowner. Subs are paid by the job and not by the hour, so the faster they work, the more money they make. But speed does not necessarily equal quality. Workmanship is everything! 

  • Warranty on workmanship?
Anybody can warranty materials for 5, 10, 20 years, but the labor is what costs money. A board replacement or a gate adjustment are minor material costs, but the labor can be $300.00 or more. A one year labor warranty is the same as nothing. It says to the customer that if a board falls off next summer, the new board is free; but the trip charge is $300.00 (does that sound like a good warranty?) Better contractors who build durable projects, will warranty their labor for 5 or more years because they know that it will last. 

  • Small down payment?
Most consumer advocacy groups (BBB, Angie's List) advise paying no more than 30% as a down payment. Be cautious of contractors who want more than that. Remember, this down payment reflects your commitment to the job but the contractor hasn't performed any work yet.  
  • Cancellation Policy
Some contractors will keep all or a portion of a customer's down payment if a customer cancels or changes the scope of a project.  It is critical to understand the company's policy before agreeing to a contract.

  • Scope of work?
A detailed, written proposal is critical to helping you make an informed decision.  The details should include the following:
  1. Total Linear Footage
  2. A schematic of the fence lines
  3. Height of Fence
  4. Style of Fence
  5. Specific Brand, or Grade of Materials
  6. Installation Methods and Process
  7. Removal of Existing Fence and Haul or Recycle
  8. Warranty Information on Labor and Materials
  9. Installation Crews (subs or in-house)
  10. Project Costs, permits, and surveys
  11. Terms of Payment, financing
  12. Lead times in writing
  • Years in Business?
Occasionally contractors use the language "50 years combined experience" or "building fence since 2002".  These vague assertions do not reflect a commitment to industry standards or a customer base.  What homeowners should look for is a company that has a long history of service and stability in the fence industry.  


You can always hire a nice guy with a "nice price", but do your homework first.  Information gives you power to identify potential problems and will help you make a more informed decision.  If you follow these steps, you may find that choosing your next contractor is easier and a good way to get the best value.

Thanks for reading! 

FenceManDan@gmail.com 
www.midwestfence.com

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Happy Holidays from all of us at Midwest Fence

 


Image result for christmas decorations on fence

From all of us at Midwest Fence, have a happy and safe holiday season!

Fence Man Dan

Midwest Fence 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Book Your Midwest Fence Now & Lock the Price for 2021

 To  no one's surprise, our construction season is winding down on a very unusual year. However, we are still installing and will continue to install until the cold temps shut us down.  

Even though our construction calendar is full for 2020, we are booking jobs for 2021 right now.  With a small down payment, you can lock in 2020 pricing now and secure the work dates, but time is running out!  

Remember, we have interest free financing for up to 12 months and a discount program also available.  

If you have already received a proposal or if you need one, please take the opportunity while you have it, and place your order for a new fence project; or that fence repair job that has stared at you all summer. We can help. Call or click today, and stay safe.

Free Estimate Click Here
Midwest Fence Web Site

Phone 651-451-2222

fencemandan@gmail.com

Thanks for reading!
Dan

Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Driven Post Dilemma


There is a new approach with which some fence companies are experimenting.  It involves installing fences on small steel posts that are driven into the ground.  It effectively eliminates the standard concrete footing and is fast and cheap, but homeowners may be surprised to learn the consequences of this short-sighted method.

The image shows a steel post inserted into the ground and then a PVC post sleeved over the top (other fence products may be installed similarly).  The benefits of this method are heavily weighted in favor of the contractor: it is faster, cheaper and has easy clean-up.  


But the long term consequences of driving steel posts are substantial: 
  • the posts can become loose, wobble and lean 
  • the steel posts are undersized to support a normal lateral load (like wind)
  • not suitable for rocky, sandy or loose soil 
  • not suitable for wet ground conditions
  • not recommended by any fence manufacturers 
  • possible warranty issues  

Concrete set posts, on the other hand, are a tried and true method of installing fences in MN.  Some advantages are:
  • Provides more strength and stability
  • Keeps the fence plumb and straight
  • Prevents lateral movement and wobble
  • Greater wind load capacity
  • Industry standard and practiced throughout the country
  • Preferred method of fence manufacturers
  • Proven to withstand MN weather
  • Suitable for all soil types
  • More predictable performance that homeowners and contractors can rely on 
Experimental methods are a good value if they satisfy short term and long term needs.  As shown above, the driven post method is a risky approach and can lead to problems for which homeowners are not prepared and can't afford.

For more information and to sign up for a free estimate, go to www.midwestfence.com

Thanks for reading,
FenceManDan