Know Your Manufacturer

Know Your Manufacturer

When receiving fence installation estimates, it is common to see vague job descriptions such as “100 feet of vinyl privacy fence.” Seems pretty straight-forward, but the lack of information provided can be dangerous to the consumer. It is extremely important for you as a customer to know the manufacturer's information on the material you are having installed. Not knowing can put you in a financial pinch down the road.

Without the manufacturer's information being provided, you can’t research the material on your own. It’s common for salespeople to upsell their products. This is a very common practice in the fence industry, as many consumers aren’t aware of the different grades and materials available on the market. Often, installers buy the cheapest material available, make big claims for it, and sell it at a large markup. Without the manufacturer's information, your only choice is to trust the installer's claims, although you will probably be purchasing fence panels from Home Depot at a higher price.

The false claims made by salespeople is a very sticky area. Right now, “Made in USA” products are very hot, as they are higher quality and support our economy. It’s common for claims to be made that your aluminum fence is American aluminum, but chances are, it came from China. Without manufacturer information, there is no way to know what you are paying for. Even when information is provided, it’s a good idea to verify that the materials are American made before paying for American products. Again, it’s common for installers to purchase cheaper Chinese made products and sell them at a large markup.

Not receiving the manufacturer's information also means that you are missing out on the manufacturer's warranty. Installers may provide a short craftsmanship warranty, but a manufacturer will often provide a 10-20 year warranty on their products. However, if the installer is using poor-quality cheap materials, they may not want to provide the manufacturer information because there is not one.

Regardless of the company or installer you choose, be sure to get your proposal in writing before committing to an install. Be sure that it is written as a contract, and that you maintain a copy. Check that the contract specifies the manufacturer of the material. That way, if you need to reach out to the manufacturer and find out that they in fact did not produce your fence, you will have legal leverage against the installer of your fence.

How to Choose the Right Fence Company

How to Choose the Right Fence Company

So you want to get a fence in the Central Florida area. One Google search pulls up hundreds of options, so how do you choose? It's hard to make a good decision when so many companies are just looking for a quick buck. Every year we are called out to multiple homes, where we are asked to repair or replace fences that had been recently installed by someone who doesn't care about the consumer. So many times we are told, "I wish I'd called you first!"

We can't install every fence in Orlando, but we can help the consumers make an educated choice when choosing a contractor and fence type. Read below for tips on choosing the right contractor for your job:

  1. Read Reviews- Use credible sources such as Google Business Listings, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), or Angie’s List. Trust the consumers, it is much more likely for good reviews to be faked than bad reviews. A company with one hundred 5-Star reviews and one 1-Star review isn’t bad. A company with 50/50 reviews is. Look elsewhere.

 

  1. Choose a real company- Sure a handyman or independent contractor will be cheaper upfront, but you get what you pay for. Bypassing a company will create issues- you likely won’t get a warranty on the fence, and it probably won’t be permitted. An un-permitted fence probably does not meet local building requirements and can result in code enforcement charges. Un-permitted fences also won’t be covered by insurance if any damage occurs.

 

  1. Schedule multiple estimates- It’s best to shop around. Some companies will try to scalp you, while others are dirt-cheap. During an estimate, do not pay any sort of deposit or down-payment for a fence. This is a common scam. Fence estimates should be free. If the company is charging for the quote, don’t have them come out. Ask questions during the estimate- do they have the answers?

 

  1. Do your own research- Don’t blindly listen to someone who is selling to you. Look for educational resources online and do your own research beforehand. Keep in mind your geographical location while researching. This plays an important part in fence installation – such as not using concrete on fences in Florida.

 

  1. Check for licenses- Once you’ve chosen your company, check if they are licensed. Go to Sunbiz, and search either the company name or contractor's name. If they are listed as “inactive”, they are not currently licensed. Additionally, ask for the company's or contractors' insurance information. If they are not insured and you allow them onto your property, that is a recipe for disaster. If possible, look for a company or contractor who is insured and bonded. The difference here is that the bond works as second insurance and protects the property owner.

 

  1. Get it in writing- Don’t agree to a project when you don’t know all the terms and conditions. Make sure you receive a written estimate that clearly lays out any warranty or material information. Be sure to ask the company what brand of fence material is used- this is important for manufacturer warranties. A fence install should come with both a craftsmanship and manufacturer warranty.

 

  1. Pend payments- Do not pay for a fence (or any project) that hasn’t been completed. Always wait until the project is complete, the inspection is passed, and you are satisfied before paying. The only exception to this is if your project requires custom materials that need to be special ordered. A standard fence project should not require pre-payment.

Once you've chosen your company, visit our Buyer's Guides for wood, vinyl, and aluminum fences.

If you have any concerns with planning your fence project, call Paramount Fencing. Our customer service and installation are superior and proven.  We are ranked number one on referral sites such as Angie's List, NextDoor, and the Better Business Bureau. Our number 1 goal is to educate the consumer regardless if they go with us or go with someone else.  That is what we do, and we will still be here for you regardless.

TO SCHEDULE A FREE ESTIMATE CALL!  (407) 341-2720 Family Owned & Operated Since 2003 Veteran Owned and Operated.

Contractors Beware: A New Fence Scam is on the Market!

In the past several months, fence companies throughout Florida have received emails and text messages requesting estimates for an individual who is sick and preparing to move into a home that they just purchased.  The names, emails, phone numbers, and home location are always different, but the “buyer” take the same approach each time.   Here are the basics:

A potential customer contacts a fence company via text message or email. The individual wants to know if the company call install their fence, and if they accept credit card payments. The requirements are very specific and often complicated.  The potential customer cannot meet in person for an estimate, and claims to be in the hospital with some sort of critical illness.  All they need is a fence for a home they just purchased or are in the process of purchasing. If pressed for further proof of ownership, the potential customer reminds the fence company that they are in the hospital and do not have access to their closing documents.

The potential customer will ask the contractor for a bill including all taxes and fees, and then have a strange request- they insist on over paying in case of any obstacles, and as a “convenience fee” (usually about 10%) for trusting and helping them. They insist on paying via credit card before the work has been completed, or even started. They claim that the fence needs to be installed ASAP.

When that fence company runs the credit card and then provides the potential customer with the actual cost, the customer asks for the overpayment to be returned to them via cash or check. If the fence company did not catch on to the scam in the beginning, they most likely committed credit card fraud, as the potential customer is most likely using a stolen credit card. When the owner of the credit card notices the charge and files a dispute, it comes back to the fence company, and that “potential customer” is already long gone.

Contractors and small businesses beware, this scam could have a very negative impact on your business should you fell for it. Don’t forget, if something feels too good to be true, it is. If something doesn’t feel right, turn the project down and do not get involved. The customer is not always right.