In this day and age, of time commitments and long work hours, it's difficult to schedule a meeting. The good news, is that it's not always necessary to meet in person to discuss pricing for an iron project. There are ways for an iron fabricator to come up with approximate pricing without meeting in person. This, of course, is dependent upon the type of iron work you’re looking for and the degree of difficulty. Obtaining pricing over the phone is especially helpful if you're only looking for a budget price. Keep in mind, that pricing may change once you meet but probably not by much.
The first step is to pick out a design. This can be done by perusing websites or Google photos. Make sure the designs you view are appropriate to your project. Print the designs or download them to save to your computer.
If you’re shopping for a price, the following is especially helpful and will save you time and energy. The best way to find a good iron fabricator is through recommendations. Ask your neighbors or friends for references. Stroll through your neighborhood, look for homes that have iron work, and ask the owner what contractor they used for their project. In most cases, people will be happy to share contact information. It's also helpful to ask that person questions about their project to further educate yourself. Try and choose an iron fabrication shop that is in your local area. If you choose a shop that is a distance away be prepared for a higher price because of the travel time.
Now that you have a recommendation(s) of an iron shop (or several shops), there is a little more work for you to do. When discussing your project with an iron fabricator, they will need to know about the design you've chosen. Since you've already downloaded some images, you can email them. Include the measurements for your project. The necessary measurements will consist of length and height. If the project is on a slope include that information. If you have a HOA then inquire about codes and compliance's beforehand. Ask your fabricator if he can provide you with plans for submitting to your association if that is a prerequisite.
It is also important to know what type finish you want on your project. The standard finish is usually primed and painted black. Another option is powder coating; this is a great option if you want to have a specialty color or texture. There are also attractive patina's available. Keep in mind, that powder coating and patina's are usually at an additional charge.
I recommend to my clients that they choose a design that they love. Start with that design, give it to your fabricator, and that gives him an idea of your taste and architectural style. If pricing comes in too high, and you can’t have exactly what you want, then you can work with the fabricator to come up with a design that is more cost effective but still desirable and similar.
The last bit of information that your fabricator will need is how, and where, the iron design will be installed. Take pictures of the area. It's important to take several pictures so that the fabricator has a good idea of the degree of difficulty in installing your project. A fabricator will look to see if your project will be installed in dirt verses concrete, if the area is sloped or level, if there are obstacles in the way. If you're installing a gate, then he'll look to see if there are existing pillars for the gate to attach to. The fabricator will need to know the composition of the pillars to determine the stability and feasibility.
If you’re installing a driveway gate it’s important to figure out if you want that gate automated and what safety devices you will require. Figure out if you’ll need an entry system or a keypad. Ask yourself how guests and maintenance people will enter and exit through your automated gate. If you have the room to install a walk gate near your driveway gate that's a great option.
Once you’ve gathered all this information, then it can simply be emailed to your fabricator(s). Once your fabricator receives all the information then he can make an estimate of what the project will cost.
If you follow the outline above, and contact your fabricator with all the facts, then you can save yourself time. With this information, your iron fabricator should be able to provide you with budgetary pricing. Once you receive this price, you’ll know if your project is affordable and doable and then you can schedule to meet.