Finding a contractor
My biggest hurdle was a mental one. After my past unsuccessful dealings with a contractor, I was reluctant to go through the process of interviewing and hiring anyone.
The first person I talked with took measurements and wrote up an estimate. He was professional, but (I felt) impersonal. He didn’t have any questions about the quirks of the site. He didn’t offer me options, outline alternatives or discuss anticipated issues. He didn’t explain the process or ask about my concerns. This onesize-fits-all solution just didn’t fit me.
The second person I talked to stood me up three times — and that was just to give me an estimate. Each excuse was valid and apologetic. However, it bothered me that he called to cancel at the moment he was supposed to be meeting me, not when he first realized that he couldn’t make the appointment. I understand that the unexpected happens. What I evaluate is how someone responds. Taken as a whole, his responses seemed to indicate someone disorganized who didn’t think things through. This might not be a fair assessment, but all I had to go on was three phone conversations. First impressions really do count.
I appealed to the Austin garden blogger network, and a fellow blogger came to the rescue. When I met with the third contractor, I was impressed by two things: He was attentive, and he was observant. He listened to what I wanted, and he looked at the site. He paced back and forth as he imagined the process of putting up the fence and, as he mentally discovered issues, asked me questions about how I’d like them handled.