If you’re planning a fence installation project for your San Diego home, you’ll need to find the right fencing professional to take on that work. You want a professional who’s licensed and fully qualified, someone you can trust to get the work done on time and within your agreed-upon budget.
But how can you find that person? What should you look for? Read on to learn how to find and hire a qualified, trustworthy fence installation professional in San Diego, California in four simple steps.
1. Know What Qualifications to Look For
For any home improvement work you’re planning, you’ll want to look for providers with three necessary qualifications: the right license, the right experience and training, and the right insurance coverage. Choosing the right contractor will help you ensure the work is performed correctly and will boost your home’s value, even if you’re planning to sell your home as-is without an inspection.
Fence installation is considered construction so you’ll want to make sure your provider has the necessary licensure from the state of California. The licensure process helps ensure providers who hold themselves out as professionals have the requisite skills and knowledge to get the work done properly.
Experience and training is important as well, as it helps ensure that your provider has enough practical on-the-job exposure to the specific work involved to manage complex projects like yours. An experienced contractor is preferable to one with a longer history in business who hasn’t worked on a project just like yours.
Insurance is also crucial. You want to ensure anyone who works on your property building any kind of addition to your home, including fencing, is sufficiently insured for errors and mistakes made doing that work. That way, you’ll be covered for any damage or problems that might result.
2. Decide Between a General Contractor and a Fencing Installation Company
In most cases, you can choose between a general contractor and a fencing installation company. The services and work done by each differ a bit. General contractors have more diverse experience in home improvement and construction, while fencing installation companies have more specialized experience.
However, you’ll want to avoid hiring a general repair or handyperson to complete your fencing project. While the individual may be highly skilled and capable of doing the work, fence installations are construction projects, and handypersons are not generally qualified or legally allowed to do construction.
- Do a Little Pre-Qualifying
Before you even ask a company for references and a written quote, take a deeper dive into their background using online tools and databases.
Check licensure and certifications. California’s Contractors State License Board allows users to search for licensure status online. The site defaults to a search based on contractor license number, but you can simply click the “business name” icon and enter the company or provider name.
Look for independent reviews on third-party websites such as Yelp and Angi.com. Check out the company with the Better Business Bureau website. You may also want to search for the company or provider name on the San Diego Tribune website.
Lastly, don’t neglect what might be your single greatest resource for references: friends, family members, and neighbors. Anyone who’s had fencing work done in the last year or so will have a fresh experience they can share with you. You’ll also want to talk to an experienced local real estate agent and ask for recommendations. This will help you identify both skilled fencing or general contractors you can trust as well as companies you might want to steer clear of, if the experience wasn’t a good one.
- Interview Candidates for the Job
Once you have identified potential candidates, both individuals and companies, it’s time to talk to them to find out if they’re the right fit for your needs. Call up each contractor or provider and talk to someone about the critical points relevant to your project. Plan to ask the following questions, at a minimum:
- Have you done jobs like mine before?
- Will you perform site cleanup after the job is done?
- How many workers will be here at any given time?
- How do you choose your workers?
- How will payments be structured and handled?
- Do you have any references I can speak to about your past work for them?
Ask questions as well about your specific project. Verify whether the contractor will pinpoint utility locations in the area and how long they believe the work will take. You’ll also want to specifically inquire about permitting. Ask if permits will need to be pulled, who will be responsible for the permit process, how much the permit will cost, and whether that fee is included in the contractor’s total quote. While permit fees vary according to location, you can generally expect to pay an average of anywhere from $400 and $800 for fencing project permits.
Clarify their warranty terms and ask if you can see a copy of their standard work contract before you make a decision. Reputable firms won’t have any problem with that request.
Finally, get a written quote or estimate for the work. Make sure any assumptions and contingencies are specified, so that you can later ensure you’re evaluating competing quotes fairly.
Once you have this information gathered, you can more easily make your final choice and be reassured you’ve got the right company on the job.