How to Avoid Getting Scammed

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A guide to choosing a reputable fence contractor in the Central Florida market

Let's be honest.  Let's be real.  Most businesses in the Central Florida marketplace are flat-out disappointing.  We’re often forced to settle or accept substandard customer service, product, workmanship, and even scams.  Rarely are customers left satisfied.

As our owner always says, “Don’t trust all that you hear, but trust 100% of what you see”, which is especially true when it comes to the fencing industry. It’s impossible to drive through any given neighborhood and not find that 80% of the existing fences are falling, warping, wiggling, or discolored. Is this what fences are supposed to do? Should I need to replace my investment every 5 years? These issues bring up many questions, but there’s only one answer.

We noticed potential customers in the Central Florida Market place were starved for information. It did not matter if it was fencing or some other service. All the customer wanted was information. Information beyond what a company’s marketing materials could provide or what a likable sales person could present. What they wanted was a real conversation with a real person who understood their industry, service, and products. Simply put, they wanted the ability to make a well-informed decision.

That is often difficult to come across in todays market, so we have made it our company’s goal to educate the consumer so that they do not make costly mistakes. This article will cover red flags in the industry that may lead to subpar products or loss of money entirely. Follow these crucial steps when choosing a contractor to help yourself make the best-informed decision possible.

  1. The first step that many people skip is checking the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, or other trusted sites. It is quite common for companies to use fake reviews on Google or Facebook to help boost their ratings, and the 5-star reviews may drown the 1-stars, but don’t let that blind you. Read those 1-star reviews and take them into consideration. Some sites, such as the BBB, allow the company or contractor to reply to their reviews. Do they own up to their mistakes and try to make it right, or do they argue with the customer? A company who argues with their customer is a red flag.
  2. Look for reviews from customer’s neighbors. It is common to see reviews from neighbors about messes left on lawns, or landscaping that was destroyed. If a company does not respect a neighboring yard, they won’t respect yours.
  3. Look for reviews of bad communications with the company. You may see some that say, “the salesman was responsive and attentive until we signed, and now we can’t reach anyone!” That is a surefire red flag. It is common for fence companies to ask for large “material deposits” (50-60% of total bill), and then disappear, leaving the homeowner out thousands of dollars.
  4. Ask questions about the materials being used. Many companies will advertise high quality products and provide economy grade materials upon installation, leaving homeowners paying a huge markup for a fence that will need replacement in 3-5 years. A reputable company should be able to provide you with manufacturer and warranty information. Look online for reviews on the material quality before you sign a contract.
  5. Check that the company or contractor you want to work with are licensed. Go to Sunbiz, and search either the company name or contractors name. If they are listed as “inactive”, they are not currently licensed. Additionally, ask for the company 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 a second insurance and protects the property owner.
  6. Sunbiz will show you how often a contractor has closed and re-opened as another company name every year or two. That is a sign of a scam company. It makes them more difficult to trace. Additionally, look for a contractor with a storefront or physical address.
  7. Lastly, watch out for bogus awards. “Best of Orlando Fences 2018” a company will boast online. It looks great, but is it real? If legitimate, the company should appear when searching the award name online. Chances are, “Frank’s Fencing” is not the number one rated fence company in your city.

When in doubt, 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.

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Fencing Industry

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2020 has seen many industries impacted by COVID-19, and the fencing industry is no exception. As a family owned and operated company, we have had to make difficult choices. We have been fortunate enough to be included in the essential worker category to continue providing security and protection for our customers. The fencing industry has taken many hits during this pandemic such as tariffs on materials, port closings causing delay of materials, and banning travel on some of our vendors causing delay on deliveries.

 

Lumber:

There is a severe shortage of pressure treated lumber across the United States. This is causing issues for the construction and fencing industries. The shortage is largely due to the spike in DIY home improvement projects and working conditions in factories due to COVID-19.

Most pressure treated wood comes from Brazil. Exports have slowed down due to shipping ports being closed. American umber mills have also been closed or are working with reduced staff. The demand has been higher than the supply, and it’s estimated that it will be like this for a while.

Pressure treated wood prices have skyrocketed between the months of June and July due to the lack of supply, and prices are expected to continue climbing.

 

Vinyl:

Vinyl product manufacturers are facing the same issue: working at reduced capacity. Our vinyl manufacturer is 32,000 panels backordered, putting vinyl shipments out 6-8 weeks from their ordered dates.

There have also been PVC shortages. PVC is a plastic polymer that can be used for many applications. Many manufacturers began using PVC to make PPE for frontline workers during the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. PVC is being used to make face masks and face shields.

Prices on European PVC exports have risen 8.5%, Indian PVC export prices have increased as well. Plant closures across the US has greatly slowed down vinyl production and distribution. The shortage of available vinyl products is causing prices to raise across the board, imported or domestic.

 

Aluminum:

The construction and automotive industries have been heavily hit by COVID-19. American made metal manufacturers are affected by the virus, as well as external factors, such as the Asian metal market. China is already the world leader for steel, and in 2017 they produced more than half of the world’s aluminum.

The construction and automotive industries are facing tariffs on imported materials, as well as long waiting periods to receive supplies.

 

We at Paramount Fencing remain open, and in the attempt to keep everyone safe and healthy, we have implemented social distancing during our estimates, not to take away our number one goal of educating and assisting each homeowner to help make a well-informed decision. While more businesses are re-opening their operations, we will continue to push through our daily processing of obtaining fence permits and ordering of materials to complete your installation. As of now, most of the local county administrative buildings are still closed to the public and taking longer than normal to approve the fence permits. We appreciate your patience in this matter. We will work diligently to advance with the installation of your fence as we obtain permitting, HOA approvals and materials.

Hurricane Preparedness and Fences

Well, Central Florida Hurricane Season 2019 is Here.   This year could be a boom or a bust.  NOAA predicts a normal hurricane activity; however, warmer than normal Golf water temperatures coupled with a heavy monsoon season in Africa could spell disaster.   Are you prepared?   Most people will answer yes, but wait.  Did Y’all forget about your fence?

So here are 5 helpful hints that just might save that fence, money, and your life as a storm approaches.

1. If you have a pool, purchase an orange safety barrier from the home improvement store prior to the storm.  It is impossible to find after a storm. Understand, if you cannot secure your pool.   You will receive one of those nice cancellation notices from the insurance carrier.  

2. If you have a wood gate, take a small piece of 2″ x 4″ and screw it with 3″ screws to both the gate and hinges post, at the top, at the bottom. If possible, open the gate fully and screw it to the fence structure itself.

3. If you have an Aluminum gate, just bungee cord it.

4. If you have a vinyl gate, take it off at the hinges and put it in your garage. Check all post caps. If they’re not glued down remove them and store indoors.

5. Regardless of what type of fence you have, go to the home improvement store and buy several ninety-degree angle brackets. Take those brackets and secure the last component of the fence, runner or post, where it meets the house.  It could be the difference between your insurance viewing that fence as a structure of the house or a detached structure.

These five tips will be the difference an insurance adjustment fight or the insurance company viewing that fence as a temporary or permanent structure.  Don’t just take believe what you read.  Listen to an industry insider insurance agent explain what you should know about your fence and hurricanes on WDBO News 96.5, Ask The Expert Weekend, The Poolfanatic, guest hosted by Kip Hudakoz.  Remember 40 minutes could save you thousands.    Click Here To Listen

National Water Safety Month

Image may contain: plant, tree, pool, table and outdoor

Hey - Florida and Orlando. Beautiful fence and relaxing pool, right? Well, that depends.

May is National Water Safety Month. Yes. It's pool safety month too. #fencesafetytip.

Just a reminder. If you have a swimming pool, inspect your fence or pool screen enclosure. Make sure all gates and doors are self-closing and self-latching and open outward away from the pool.

Check those latches and make sure it functions and it latches correctly. That latch should be 54" higher than the bottom of the gate.

Don't be lazy. Walk that fence line or pool screen and make sure you don't have any damaged planks or pickets or loose screens. Look for gaps more significant than two inches below the fence or space wider than four inches a small child can squeeze through.

According to TC Water Features make sure to check the drain and grates in the pool too. If it's broke, get it replaced. A foot can get stuck allowing a child never to resurface.

If you have any questions or in doubt, contact us we will be more then happy to answer any questions, ship you a new latch or inspect it for you.

Remember - laziness creates statistics. So share this post with as many people as you can. Even if you don't have a pool in your back yard.

You never know. The second it takes to share, just might save a life.