It is true that there are a lot of similarities between the various Royal Oak fence companies out there. They all install fences, sure. They also will traditionally all install the same type of fencing with chain link, treated wood, and vinyl being the most popular. As long as they are properly licensed, they will take the time to pull the proper permits. They will send out a crew to tear out the old fencing and install the new. So why do people feel a great deal if stress when it comes time to get a new fence installed?

The reason is that because, deep down, everyone has heard a horror story about one type of contractor or another. If not a fence installation contractor then someone who’s not come through when installing their windows, or a team that failed in some way when putting up a new set of gutters, or a roofing crew that left nails on the ground after tearing off the old shingles, nails which ended up in the foot of a child or a pet. It doesn’t matter who we are, we’ve all heard these tales and at the core of our being we know that in the same way, not all fence companies are created equal.

A wood fence serves as a great backdrop for this stunning flower bed.

After 40 years of experience in the fence installation industry that has spanned two generations, I’ve heard all the stories and sad tales. I’ve seen women in tears telling me how their little dog escaped from their yard and scurried away to a painful, twitching death under the wheels of a car all because a gate was installed with too much of a gap at the bottom. I’ve even had to go out, tear out newly set fence placed by another company and put in a new fence the right way because improper technique was employed by a fly-by-night operation. Again, people instinctively know that not all Royal Oak fence companies are created equal, and to be completely honest – they’re right.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to spill the beans and expose the dirty little secrets of the fencing industry. I’m going to yield up my years of knowledge and experience and compress it into a few paragraphs that will give you a true picture into what you need to be thinking about when shopping for a new fence. I’m going to give you the upper hand in the fence negotiation process. Yes, I do hope that you’ll choose Veterans Fence for your project but even if you don’t, after you read the following secret recipe for choosing a Royal Oak fence company, you’ll know what you have to do in order to make sure that whatever company you do go with doesn’t let you down. So here it is, the secret to having a great overall experience when buying a fence is…

Letting the Company Know that You Mean Business from Hello

The first impression is the only impression, as they say, and this applies double when trying to find a good Royal Oak fence company. If you set the stage from the beginning with an attitude that lets the company rep know that you expect a quality experience and that they better deliver, the word will go up the chain of command to the management team and then be relayed back down to the installation crews. If a company has one crew who works quickly, cleans up after themselves, and is courteous as well as another crew which is lazy, rude, and pollutes your living area with cigarette smoke, the company will send the better crew to your house to complete your job, because they know you’ll be on them like a panther if they so much as a single screw in a gate hinge is left untightened.

Letting the company know that you mean business is pretty simple. It’s all in how you approach the sales rep. Ask a lot of “company personal” questions. Ask them how long they’ve been in business. Ask if they are licensed. As if they are bonded and insured so that if anything goes wrong while their crew is at the house, you are not going to be raked over the legal coals. These types of questions are pretty standard, and will actually put the fence company sales rep at ease thinking that this is just another traditional sales call.

Then drop the hammer and ask the BIG question. Look them straight in the eye and say, “Have you every really let a customer down?” Watch his eyes like a hawk as he replies. A liar doesn’t really end up with an extra-long nose, so watch his eyes. If he’s shifty or shows signs of guilt, you’ll know that something HAS gone wrong. If he admits to some major gaffe then go ahead and ask what was done to rectify the situation. If the company went the extra mile to fix the issue, however small, then this potentially damaging admission of guilt lets you know you have both an honest company on your hands and a trustworthy one. Nobody is perfect and no fence company serving Royal Oak (or anywhere else for that matter) is perfect either. The fact that a fence company has failed a customer over the years is not unusual and is to be expected, your goal it to find out what will be your fate if you are on the short end of that stick. Will things be made right quickly or will it take a lawsuit to solve? Find out now, not later.

What his EYES Like a Hawk!

Now, this is all fine and dandy if the sales rep answers your probing inquiry honestly. If, on the other hand, if he denies that any poor service has ever been rendered or claims that he doesn’t know, then you’ll need to press harder. He’s already told you how long the company has been in business, right? It’s probably more than just a few years and that’s long enough to have had more than one problem that needed to be fixed. Press him harder, say something like, “You’re telling me that in all the years your company has been in business you’ve never really run late installing a customers fence, or accidentally installed the wrong style of fence, or anything like that?” Look for signs of dishonesty in his face at his response.

It’s true that he may admit to the fact that he’s not been with the company long enough to know or it may be the case that the salespeople never have any contact with the installation and customer service people. These are valid reasons for not knowing. If this is the case get a quote from him but don’t make any commitment until you call up the company and get these types of questions answered by someone higher up. You don’t care about the stories companies tell when everything goes well. Hopefully, everything goes well for you too, but if not, you want to know how the company will address the issues when things are not so peachy.

Above all, if you detect dishonesty in the sales rep, then do not do business with that company! I don’t care if they say they’ll do the job for $10 and a pack of sandwiches. If the management and training program for the salespeople doesn’t require them to be absolutely honest when interacting with customers then the same will likely hold true for the installation team and the customer service reps who handle any follow-up issues down the road as well. If you sense that the salesperson is lying or trying to twist the truth, or diffuse it to hide the flaws he knows his company has in order to earn a sale, dismiss him outright. He has failed the honesty test. Move on to the next company that will do more to earn your trust.

Don’t be worried about doing this. You are not going to lose out on the “deal of the century” because you send one or two companies away before they even had a chance to give a quote. The fact of the matter is that all the fence companies in the southeast Michigan area get their materials from the same small number of suppliers. This means that their costs are pretty much fixed and don’t change from one company to another. There is no fence company that operates like Wallside Windows where they can honestly say “We’re the Factory” so this will be a fixed expense and the pricing on getting your fence installed should be within 5% to 10% from one company to the next.

This small variability in price is NOTHING in comparison to the loss that can result if the company doesn’t install the fencing properly. A lot of small companies that don’t have years of customers referring them to family and friends as Veterans does are on the verge of collapse. It is not just possible, but it’s very probable that while interviewing different Royal Oak fence companies, you’ll be talking with one that is about to take your money, plant some posts, and then file for bankruptcy before finishing the job! This is just one example of how things can go very wrong, very fast. Failing to go with an honest company, even if it’s a couple of bucks more, can very easily result in your final cost to get your fence installed being much, much higher than originally quoted – and that doesn’t even factor in the impact on your health from the stress that will come along for the ride when these types of travesties occur.

So, you now are armed with the one key that will enable you to separate the good Royal Oak fence companies from the bad. I encourage you to give us a call at 313-381-8530 and have us come out to give you a quote. Feel free to use this litmus test on my own sales reps, or even on myself if I make the trip to your house in person. Our company hasn’t been in business for nearly half a century for nothing. I welcome the challenge and look forward to seeing you soon.

Brian Teets