Thursday, October 6, 2016

Good Fences and Good Neighbors, Update

“Really? That must have been kind of last-minute.”

Several years ago, the fence between Andy’s property and ours was old, dilapidated, and in need of serious repair or replacement. Andy and I talked, I talked to several fence companies, and we finally decided on a company, a fence technology ( choosing PVC over wood and something called Trex ) and all.

I had thought we were done making all decisions when Andy had one last-minute change; he told me what it was and said, “Tell him that and see what he says.”

I did, and, of course, it was just another change; the estimator sees those all the time. He modified the quote once again, sent it to me, and everyone agreed on it. When I signed the contract for our installation; the salesman said he had not yet gotten Andy’s signature.

We were told it would take six to seven weeks before they’d have the material, they’d call us to schedule the installation, and somebody would have to be home for the first thirty minutes, to make sure the installation team and I had the same fence in mind. It took all of the time they said, they finally called, and the team was ten minutes early on the morning of the installation.

This installation is a two-day process, as explained by everyone at FenceCompany to whom I spoke about it. The first day the crew takes down the existing fence, removes the old footings, digs holes for, pours concrete footings for and installs the posts for the new fence. The poured concrete takes several days to dry fully, so the rest of the fence is installed at that time.

The crew chief and I talked, there was little to say other than to discuss a nagging question I had about one of the gates they will install. The chief had a ready answer, I was satisfied, and they started. And, oh, by the way, Andy’s work has not yet been scheduled.

In what seemed like no time, the existing fence was down, the new footings were poured, the new posts were up and the crew was gone. I notice that, although Andy’s work is not yet scheduled, the post that would serve for both our common fence line and the short piece to his house has holes to accommodate the rails that will run toward his house.

Several days later the installation crew is back. Once again making quick work of it, they put up the horizontal rails between the posts and the vertical pieces between them, and the fence is done.
Original Fence
New Fence
Except for the gates; neither gate is up and the crew is gone. I look in vain for a note; there is none. I call the scheduler; “Oh, sure, Mr Jost, let me put you through to the finisher.”

“For reasons I cannot explain, the crew did not have the material to build both gates. They will order that and be back out to finish as soon as possible.”

“Do you have a timeline?” I wondered.

“Shouldn’t be too long; we’ll call to let you know when we’re coming back.”

They didn’t call, but they were back in fairly short order, and built and installed the gates. They were also, I noticed, taking down Andy’s fence in back of his yard … but not the piece that connects to his house from the gate next to ours. “He decided he didn’t want to replace that,” one of the FenceCompany guys told me.

“Really? That must have been kind of last-minute,” I said.


Andy called later that day, to tell us he decided not to replace that short piece of wooden fence. It really was in good shape. He also wondered if we minded.

“Well, …  we tell him, it’s your fence, but we think it would look nicer all around if it matched the fence between our yards and our gate. But there would be no hard feelings if you leave it.”

A few days later, when FenceCompany was out to install the rest of his wooden fence, they also installed the entirety of the ten or so feet of PVC fence from our gate to his house. It now matches the rest of the fence nearby.

The fence to Andy's house matches

It was approximately two months ago that I signed the paperwork with FenceCompany to do our work. The work is finished, Andy’s work is finished, and I am pleased. In addition, all of my potential financial paranoia was for naught. Everything is good there, too.
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