CHECKBOOK: How to get a good fence at a good price

CHECKBOOK: How to get a good fence at a good price »Play Video
One of the biggest challenges in hiring a contractor besides the money is finding someone who'll do a good job for a fair price. That's especially important with big ticket projects you may only do once, like build a fence.

CHECKBOOK President Robert Krughoff says before you build a fence, talk to your neighbors first. Depending on the size of the project, getting your neighbors to share in the costs, can cut your fence budget by thousands of dollars. Just be sure to bring up the subject long before you plan to get the job done, so everyone can get finances together.

The Summer/Fall issue of Puget Sound Consumers' CHECKBOOK magazine has great tips on how to get a good fence at a good price. CHECKBOOK surveyed local fence customers on everything from the quality of work, to whether the contractors started and finished on time.

Some marks were surprisingly low. And checkbook researchers found huge differences when they compared prices for the same job.

"In some cases the pricing was almost twice as high as with others." said Krughoff.

For a 6-foot red cedar privacy fence- the lowest price quote was $14 per foot. The average price was $19.41 per foot And the highest quote was $27.50 per foot. But as with all contractors, never base your decision on price alone. Price alone is no guarantee of quality, service or reliability. Ask about materials, get pictures of what your fence will look like, and get everything in writing.

Of the eleven local fence builders rated in the CHECKBOOK survey, CHECKBOOK's top ratings for price go to Economy Fence Center in Everett and the Fence Connection in Kirkland. Top ratings for quality go to Alpine Fence in Seattle and Lattice Top Fence in Auburn. Town & Country Fence in Lynnwood gets Checkbook's top ratings for both quality and price.

Consumer's CHECKBOOK is a subscriber based, non-profit rating service with publications twice a year. As a special courtesy to KOMO viewers, the link to the full CHECKBOOK magazine on local fence building companies will be available for free, until Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2010. Just click on the link inside the red rectangle at the top of the page and enter an e-mail address.