You walk outside after a storm, and there you see it. Among the fallen limbs and other debris, you find your fence lying on its side. As cleanup begins, you may also be solicited by contractors who want to repair your fence. Sometimes called “pickup truck bandits,” these unlicensed contractors have been known to scam unsuspecting homeowners. You may find yourself with shoddy workmanship, or worse, they may take your deposit and never complete the job.
While it may be convenient to hire them on the spot, it may be worth your while to do a little homework first. As the homeowner, you are ultimately responsible for work done on your property. It can even affect the resale of your property down the road.
Rob Greene, the owner of Martin Fence Co. in West Palm Beach, advises you always ask for a copy of their licenses and insurance certification. They should not be offended. In fact, they should welcome your request.
What are some of the signs?
- They ask for an abnormal amount of money upfront.
- You or your neighbors have never heard of the company before.
- You can’t locate reviews or other information about them on the web.
Questions you should ask a fence contractor:
- Ask for a copy of their license and insurance certification.
- Ask if they plan to pull a permit for the job.
- Ask for references from other happy customers.
Look for contracting businesses with a physical presence in your area, such as a valid business location. Read online testimonials, check their ratings, and talk to friends or family to help you get an idea of their work.
It is required that you check for utilities before digging. If your contractor does not follow the proper procedures outlined by Florida State Law, it could be dangerous, and leave you on the hook for any damages.
Make sure they plan to get permits when necessary. “Unpermitted work on your property must be disclosed to potential home buyers. It may scare away buyers, or cause you to have to discount your listing price”, says local real estate agent Nicholas Kukla.
“It doesn’t hurt to hire a contractor that’s been around for a long time,” says Martin Fence owner Rob Greene. “You can ask them for examples of their previous projects and ask around about their reputation. We have been serving people in South Florida for over 40 years. We use high-quality materials because they last longer and require less maintenance,” says Greene. “About 95% of those materials are made in America. Our projects and customers mean a lot to us, which is why we put so much passion and dedication into what we do.” You can view some of their work here.
To learn more about Martin Fence, visit martinfence.com.