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.

Fencing on Lakes in Central Florida, Orlando, Seminole County

Attention All Home Owners in Florida.  If you live on a lake or purchasing a new home on a lake in Orange County, Seminole County, The City of Winter Park, or The City of Orlando, be prepared to hear a new term when you are trying to install a fence.  Where is the Normal Highwater Elevation Mark  (NHWE) on your land survey?   Understand, the absence of the NHEM will bring your fence project to a screeching halt.   You will not pass go.  Your fence project will be dead on the water’s edge.

Here is why:   The Normal Highwater Elevation Mark is the base-line from which Municipalities determine the set back of the fence from the water’s edge, both horizontally and perpendicularly? The NHWE, in some municipalities, determines the height, style, and materials that can be used.   Understand, without this mark, you cannot begin the process of permitting.  The application will automatically be rejected.

So chances are if your reading this, you need an NHWE added to your land survey.   The best thing you can do is call the company back who did the original land survey and ask them to add it.   Be prepared, this cost money.  Some land survey companies do not do NHWE, so you might have to have your property completely resurveyed.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  It is important if you are buying a home on a lake to confirm that the surveying company selected includes all necessary marks associated with a titled body of water.   Next, make sure the survey company being suggested by a real estate agent, seller, or title company is qualified to handle lakes.

So how do you determine if your current survey has an NHWE mark? It simple.  Look where the property meets the water’s edge.  You will see words like Edge of Water, Survey Closure Line, Flood Zone ratings, or Elevation Measurements.  These are important and should be included, but don’t be fooled.  These are not the Normal Highwater Mark.  See the two surveys below.   The land survey on the right does not include all the necessary marks

In Correct Survey                                              Correct:

 

March’s Question of The Month Replacement Vinyl Rails

 

Question: Help Please!!!    One of the larger fence companies here in Central Florida Installed my vinyl fence.    Needless to say, a tree destroyed a few sections of my fence during Irma.  I called several fence companies for estimates and was told by one company that the manufacturer no longer sold fence in Florida.  One company said that is not true.  The other company even suggested I needed to start over because 1 ½ x 5 ½ rail was the industry standard.   The best I can tell my fence rails measure 1 3/4  thick x 5 ½ deep.   What is going on?    Kathy C.

Answer:   First and foremost, great question.  The 1 ¾” x 5 ½” is a distinct premium-grade Vinyl rail system produced by Homeland Vinyl Products who is a major extruder of PVC Fence, Deck, and Rail products which are widely distributed throughout North America.   As a result, their manufacture and distribution footprints are massive, especially here in Florida.

There is a reason for that.  Homeland Vinyl is an innovative and research-based company that understands the unique geographical challenges of the U.S. climate, region by region.  As result, Homeland Vinyl has branded itself as an industry leader.  They are responsible for vinyl breakthroughs and technologies such as the ACCU-Shield.  They are endorsed as a Tier 1 manufacture by the Vinyl Manufacture Association and highly sought after by fence companies and distributors alike.  Simply put: Were they go people grow.

So Why Are You Having Trouble Finding 1 ¾” x 5 ½”  Vinyl Rail?  

Bottom line, the company who install your fence and Homeland Vinyl Products parted ways after a multi-year relationship.  This particular fence company/retailer sold to both homeowners and small fence contractors across the State of Florida.  So chances are that vinyl fence you see while driving down the street is a Homeland Vinyl Fence.

This breakup, or what we in the industry call the shuffling of manufactures, has created a lot of incorrect information within our market.   Regardless, it is business and there is nothing wrong with manufactures partnering with fence companies to bring fences to the market.  These type of agreements do a great service in helping homeowners find cost-effective fencing solutions.  The good news is these breakups create lots of new opportunities.

We did reach out to Homeland Vinyl Products at the American Fence Association National Conference in Phoenix Arizona.  They have assured Custom Fence Orlando that Homeland Vinyl Products is absolutely committed to the Florida Market.  So much so, they have already begun the process of opening another extrusion facility right here in Orlando.    They are hopeful that extrusion plant should be up and operational by late this year.

We would like to thank Homeland Vinyl Products for sharing their distributor list and fence companies who carry and sell their products.  So if you are a homeowner looking for a replacement 1 3/4″ x 5 1/2″ vinyl rail, a homeowner needing a vinyl fence, or a fence contractor needing materials, several distributors and fence companies are still selling Homeland Vinyl Product right here in Florida.  See the list below:

Distributors:                        Person To Ask For:                     Location:                                               Phone:
Orlando Steel                        Steve Lyons                                 Summerfield and Ocala                         352.347.8775
Merchant Metals                    Danny Gall                                  Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami                    813.980.0938
Paramount Fencing               Kip Hudakoz                                Orlando Florida                                      407.341.2720

On a final note, several manufacture and extruders are starting to enter into the Florida marketplace.   Heads up and word to the wise.  Not, all vinyl is created equal, nor are manufacture who extrude vinyl.  Understand, the process of extruding vinyl is technical and requires years and years of industry knowledge.  As always, purchase responsibly.  Make sure that the manufacturer is VMA certified.   New extruders pop up every day.   Few will last.

We hope this helps and now you know more then your neighbor knows.

Contributing Author…

P.S. if you sale homeland and would like to be added to the list, contact Kip@paramountfencing.com