When choosing a fence contractor, remember that the contractor with the lowest price may not be the best bargain in the long run. Be sure of your contractor and the quality of his/her product. You will certainly save money and be happier in the long run once the work is completed.

Determine your fencing needs:

• Provide security
• Retain children or pets
• Enclose pools or tennis courts
• Beautify your property
• Screen an unsightly view
• Reduce traffic noise
• Provide privacy from street or neighbors

What the consumer should know:

• Not all materials are the same
• Chain link fence materials come in galvanized steel or vinyl coated steel
• Wood fences can be constructed from several types and grades of lumber
• Cedar is the material of choice for the Pacific Northwest climate
• Ornamental fences can be constructed of iron or aluminum
• Vinyl fences are often used around pastures and can also be used in decorative situations

Be certain your written contract contains the specifications of the materials your contractor intends to use. If lumber is to be used, you contract should specify the type, grade and dimension of the wood. While clear cedar is the most beautiful, it might not be worth the cost to you. We usually specify “tight knot” cedar fence boards. If chain link is your selection, the gauge of the fabric and size of the posts should be specified. Lastly, the number and size of gates, maximum spacing of posts and whether the posts will be set in concrete should be specified.

The company behind the fence:

Advertising: Unbelievable discounts are just that…UNBELIEVABLE. Read the fine print. You may get a discount on the material, but then find yourself paying an inflated price for labor and outher items. Without profits, a business can’t continue to operate…a reputable contractor deserves a reasonable profit…without it, he can’t remain reputable, or stay in business.

References: Ask the contractor for references and check them out. Look at the fences build in your area. Most contractors attached small identifying signs to the fence they build indicating a pride in workmanship. Check to see how long the contractor has been in business or at their present location; ask if the installeras are employees or if the contractor hires independent crews to do the work. The use of employees usually leads to better quality control.

Make sure your contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. Contractors in the state of Washington should be registered with the Department of Labor and Industries. You can check the Contractors’ information at the L & I website. If that is not available to you ask the Contractor for a copy of his license and to see a copy of insurance coverage.

Know your rights and responsibilities. Who clears the property line for the fence installation? Who cleans up the work area after installation? Who is responsible for the location of the property line? Don’t be afraid to ask questions!