How I Bought a Fence

Here’s a case study for B to C organizations. I recently decided to buy a fence. Here is how it went.

Meet Parker. He’s the reason this all began. After 20 years in our fence-free house, Parker’s puppy enthusiasm has changed all that. We NEED a fence.

I started online with a google search for “fence burke va.” I looked for a third party site that would offer several ranked fence installers.

Right below the paid ads (I never click on those), I found Home Advisor. I picked two companies from the first page of results:  one because I recalled seeing their tag on fences in the neighborhood and a second that had many ratings with a high average. I completed the request for estimate forms for both companies.

Next I turned to Facebook. I was hoping my friends would confirm that I had made good initial choices. I posted this:

We are looking into fencing the back yard so Parker can get in more running. Anyone in the Burke area have recommendations for who to use or not use? Thanks for any help.

Eleven people commented. More than one told me one of my choices would be expensive. No one recommended either of my two initial choices. Two friends recommended specific companies they have worked with and had positive experiences.

I contacted the two additional companies. Next came the estimates:

  • All four companies got in touch within 12 hours.
  • All four made scheduling the estimate easy, allowing me to pick date and time.
  • All four reps were very professional, listened to what I wanted and gave me an estimate based on my needs.

So, no one was eliminated based on the initial customer service experience. I had to look at price.

I emailed the highest price company. I let them know I appreciated the time to provide an estimate, but that as the highest of four estimates I planned to go with another company. I was impressed that the sales rep asked me for information about who I got estimates from and the cost. In the worst case scenario I could decline to respond, but I gave him the info so he could see his position in the market.

I then eliminated the one vendor that more than one of my facebook friends characterized as high priced. Who wants to pay more than necessary?

That left two contenders with a mere $50 price difference. Before deciding, I did some additional web research on each company. I was looking for reviews at third party sites. I did not look at the company websites.

I found that one company had over 100 reviews at one site. None were very specific. I wondered if these were authentic. It was odd to me that there were no reviews at any other sites. The company was registered with the Better Business Bureau and had an A rating.

The other had two online ratings on Yahoo Local. One was 1 star the other 5 star. This company was recommended by a friend, but was not registered with the BBB.

With no clear green or red flags from my online research, I decided to go with the company that was recommended by a friend. Although this company was slightly more, I feel that I have a good chance for the same positive experience my friend had.