How to Choose a Fence Contractor

Vinyl privacy fence around a backyard in Cedar Rapids, IA

In Cedar Rapids, IA, there are multiple fence contractors ready to install your next fence. But how do you know which fence contractor is right for you?  Of course, you want a quality product at a fair price and installed in a timely fashion, but is there more to be considered?

Before Looking For a Fence Contractor

What type of fence do you want? 

Vinyl, ornamental, wood, chain link or something custom. Not all fence companies are created equally. Many specialize in one or a couple different styles. By knowing what style you would like installed in your backyard, you will be able to narrow down your options for your fence contractor. 

What is your time frame? 

Be reasonable here. The best contractors are also those who have the longest lead times. It is not uncommon for fence contractors in Cedar Rapids to be 4-8 weeks out from time of sale. So, how long can you reasonable wait? Is there anything happening that may be driving the process, like a new puppy or a graduation? If not, adjust your time frames out. 

What is your budget? 

Not all fence companies quote the same price for what may appear to be the same fence. Does it mean the high-priced contractors are taking advantage or overcharging you? Absolutely not.  Larger and more reputable contractors generally have high overhead and operational costs. However, these same contractors often provide more customer service and can be relied on under warranty or repair situations. They have full time sales and project management staff to answer your call and field your questions in a timely fashion.

Does it matter if your fence contractor subs-out the labor or not? 

It may be important to you that the contractor you hire is the contractor that performs the work. You selected them for their reputation and service, and expect that continuity through the installation process. 

How important is safety in your backyard? 

Is it a priority for your fence company to only allow OSHA-standards-trained and practicing employees in your backyard? Will they be wearing personal protective equipment or cut-off jean shorts while operating power equipment?  Will they place cones and wheel chokes around their vehicles or simply park in the street with little concern for safety?

Do you need financing? 

Some Cedar Rapids fence companies have an arrangement with financial institutions to provide 12 months same as cash or other favorable financial arrangements. 

Proof of insurance. 
American Fence Company of Cedar Rapids solid privacy wood fence with lattice

Let’s face it, we typically only ask about insurance after something catastrophic has occurred.  Is it important to you that your fence company provide proof of workers compensation, general liability and auto insurance?  If something happens in your backyard and your contractor is not covered, the injured may seek coverage from your homeowners policy.  

Once you have successfully answered all the questions above, it is time to begin your search for your fence company.  Where to begin?

Selecting Your Fence Contractor

  1. Google matters.  Go to Google and type in the search bar “cedar rapids fence contractor” or “cedar rapids fence company.” These relevant search terms will generate a complete list of the fence companies in the Cedar Rapids area. It is common knowledge that most people who use Google do not look past the first page, and typically focus on the top five results. When searching for a fence contractor, we can expect the same behavior and so do the fence companies in your area. The larger and more reputable fence companies will typically appear at the top of the page while the smaller companies on the next couple pages. Bigger is not necessarily better, but it definitely has its benefits.
  2. Websites.  Visit your local fence companies’ websites. It is always good idea to read the “About Us”, about their financing options, years of service, and their location, and then head to the photo galleries. This is where you will find their true capability in their type and quality of work. A picture is worth a thousand words. Look for the type and style of fence you would like in your backyard. Once you find it, save it. When requesting a quote, share this photo to make it easy to assure you get the fence you are looking for. Remember, websites are not censored for accuracy. Web designers can put any information they want on these sites with no consideration for accuracy or truthfulness, so be a little cautious.   
  3. Back to Google.  Type in the names of the fence contractors you are interested in. Check out their Google reviews. Past customers, employees and associates use this venue to freely share their experience working with a contractor. If a contractor has little to no reviews, you should be cautious. It most likely does not mean they provide impeccable service and materials. It may mean that they are new to the industry and have a short list of customers. Look for fece companies with a solid list of reviews. Don’t worry if not all these reviews are 5 stars.  Successful fence contractors are in high demand. With such demand, they will occasionally drop the ball.  What matters is if they responded to the customer and resolved the situation. 
  4. Take a drive.  Once you have narrowed down your list of fence contractors, take a drive. It is time to check out your fence company’s brick and mortar location. If they have a nice, well organized facility, they will most likely treat your home in the same manner. If you find materials scattered and vehicles run down, be wary.  If their headquarters is someone’s house, please understand you are looking at a contractor with little invested in their business or someone who is just getting started. 
  5. Years of service and experience matters. Your fence will inevitably need assistance at some point. Let’s face it, any business can survive for a while as they live from one customer’s deposit to the next. One hiccup in their operations or a really long winter, that contractor could be gone overnight. Look for a Cedar Rapids fence company with 20, 30 or even 50 years in business. That level of tenure should give you confidence that they will be around to warranty your project.
  6. Engagement. Now that you may have further narrowed your list of potential fence companies, it’s time to make a few phone calls and set some appointments to meet your future fence contractor. These fence contractors should be excited about wanting to come out to your home to meet you and review your project. Be cautious of those that simply want your information over the phone and they will send you a quote.  They are not customer centered and may be too busy for your project.  Look for that Cedar Rapids fence contractor that chooses to proactively engage their customers.  Select only those fence contractors that want to show-up to meet you. 
  7. Professionalism matters.  Hopefully, you have now met your fence contractors candidates. How professional did they appear? Was your sales representative dressed appropriately, polite and answer all your questions? Were they engaging in asking you questions about your needs and priorities? Take a hard look at the proposals.  Which proposals provide detailed information, material specifications, drawings, dimensioned layouts, pricing options, and terms and conditions?  If the experience does not start with a high level of professionalism and communication, it will definitely not get better. 
  8. Price.  Of course, price matters. Every customer can share an experience where they really liked one contractor but they were too high so they begrudgingly went with the low-bid. Never ask someone to price match or share competitive bids in an effort to get a better number. This would be inappropriate. However, communicate with your contractors before making a decision. Thank them for their time and notify them they are not the low bid. 
Tan ornamental picket fencing in Cedar Rapids, IA

If you follow these tips, you’ll certainly be on your way to getting the fence of your dreams from the right Cedar Rapids fence contractor.