Box Stores vs. Professionals

Big box stores are great for the DIY guy, right? I often go to Home Depot, Menard’s, or Lowe’s for supplies to do my own projects. They are even great for Christmas Decorations. Box Stores offer zero down no interest financing. Today they are installing carpet, Windows, Doors, and even Fence! Now they have my attention!

The difference between Fence Pros and Do it alls

We are often call called by a customer who needs an estimate for us to come out and fix what “The Big Guys”  installed. Upon arriving and looking at an epic failure and talking with the customer about fixing what was done I am informed that the customer also paid a rather large premium for that “Zero interest zero down” fence project. As much as 30% more than what a real fence company would have charged! And then i usually discovered that the materials were inferior in quality with thinner side walls, poorly made bracket attachments, and crappy stuff that no self respecting fence company would ever have installed. So while they got that zero down zero interest fence, they received an inferior product, inferior installation, 2-5 years of payments….and a HUGE price tag!

I love box stores, too

I am not knocking the big guys. Box stores can be wonderful! Several times a week i shop them. I buy all my tools there. We buy all my concrete there.  But to me this is like taking your child to your family doctor in hopes of getting little Timmy a heart transplant. I’m not even suggesting that you buy your fence from Pro Fence. I’d love it if you did! The best customer is an informed customer. I tell every customer to get a minimum of three estimates. We even provide them with the names of other local companies.

When having any project estimated for your house get estimates from 3 companies. Choose the company you feel the most comfortable with. Always look at their portfolio. Google them for reviews. Look at their company Facebook Page! Know who you are spending your money with. Do not assume that the Biggest company is automatically the best choice. You may end up being one of the over 10,000 complaints that was made against one particular “box store” home services department last year.

Pro Fence vs. the Craigslist handy man

I, myself, am an avid Craigslister. For those of you from the West Michigan area all remember the Bargain corner in the Grand Rapids Press, right? I love being able to log on and find cheap parts for my work trucks, i once found a great 42″ Samsung plasma tv for $100, i still use it today. I love that TV.

But would you shop for something as permanent as a new addition to your home on Craigslist? An addition that could potentially cost as much as $30,000? (Yes, we have seen fences be that expensive, for certain ones, and even higher) I have done estimates to fix fences that were installed by handy men off Craigslist, and it’s never been pretty. The materials are usually bought at the local box store, are of inferior quality, and the installation is sub par.

Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t rocket scientists at Pro Fence. Anyone can build a fence. But not just anyone can build it perfect. It’s like asking your dentist to be your gynecologist, but just this one time, at a discounted rate. (Did i just say that? I believe i did) It is the same theory. For example, i can build you the best fence money can buy, but i couldn’t write your will, or fix your plumbing, or even rewire your basement…..not worth paying for any way. So don’t hire a guy that hangs shelves and puts plumber’s tape on drippy shower heads to build your fence, the fence that protects your designer cockapoo, or keeps your children safe. I am sure he’s a wonderful person, and i’ll bet those shelves he hung for Aunt Sally look pretty darned level, but perfection comes at a price.

In the coming months we will be posting several “do it yourself” videos for you folks on youtube. At the end of the day we don’t care who gets your money, as long as you get what you want at a price you can afford. I even give out the names and numbers of a couple of our local competitors to every customer we estimate, just for this reason. But if you are thinking of hiring a craigslist handy man to do your fence you are just as well to do it yourself, and hopefully these videos will show you how. Maybe make the Handy man watch them, it certainly couldn’t hurt!