After the recent purchase of a house, I found myself with a backyard that is connected to my neighbor’s yard. Having lived in a more rural area for many years, with mountains and the occasional bull in my backyard, I knew a fence was in my future.
From my years with Landscape & Hardscape Design-Build, I’ve learned a thing or two about fences, and felt confident as I started my search. But first, I knew it would require a professional. I contacted the first "fence guy," who came out to discuss the options and measure the yard. I asked for quotes on vinyl and wood fences. He sent me numbers, breaking down the material costs stating how many panels were needed, how many posts, brackets and he even included the screws. The problem is, he included several items-the caps and brackets-required for the vinyl fence into the estimate for the wood fence.
The second company has an office nearby, so I stopped in on my way home. Not sure they’re used to having customers at the shop, but they accommodated me, showed me a brochure and even brought me out to look at some of the fence in the warehouse. We scheduled a time for one of their guys to come out and take measurements. He showed up on time, with brochure in hand, and offered me some ideas that I hadn’t considered. This time the quote I received had just two pieces of information: materials and labor.
If your estimating style is similar to the second contractor, be prepared for possible questions as to the details. If you’re more like the first contractor, be sure to double-check your information. If you make a mistake on the estimate, will the customer feel confident in hiring you for the job?