This fence was finished yesterday after 4 days work.
This is the fence we wanted one month ago when we hired another man who showed us a fence he said he built at a house near us where he was doing some painting. Two days into the job he had spent all our advanced money and had made so many mistatkes that he couldn't complete the job. (One of them was that he used cheaper indoor untreated pine that will warp when it becomes wet.) So, we started over and got two bids from companies with good reviews on ServiceMagic.com. Both said the fence was so bad, the only thing to do was to tear it down and start over. We selected a company. They started this week and four days later we are thrilled with our new fence.
The bad news is that we now have to take the other guy to Small Claims Court to recover our advance money. I hate to do that. Obviously the guy needed the money so much he had to lie about his abilities to get us to choose him--but we have things to do with that money too.
In hindsight I should have trusted my instincts/biases: In my 18 years as a Real Estate Broker, plumbers, painters, electricians, landscapers etc. always wanted me to refer them to my clients. One of my personal biases was that if workers, unknown to me and without personal recommendations from someone I knew, marketed themselves as God's Chosen I opted not to use them. Although many who did this were quite competent, others were not. When the guy who started the bad fence talked to my husband and me, he had no card with him. He said he would bring it and names of 3 references by the next day. He did. The name of his business was "Sent From Above" and his references, we found out later, were relatives. A truly competent worker, in my opinion, need not claim God as a reference.
I don't like to be distrustful or paranoid but when something like this happens it does make me pause and demand proof of capability to do the job. Both my husband and I were beating ourselves up for being so gullible and not doing due diligence in checking him out, but now we've discovered we can check people out on the Internet and get other people's opinions of their work more easily. That's one mistake we won't make again.