Finding a qualified, responsible and reasonable contractor these days seems to be a joke. I get so tired of dealing with people in the service industry that don't seem to care anymore about customer service. It's absolutely amazing when you find one that will actually show up on time, complete the job when they say they will and not try to stick you with any added BS. I consider myself pretty loyal when I find someone who does a great job, I'll refer them to others all day.
Finding an ironwork contractor isn't any different than looking for a good plumber or painter. If you live in a large city, consider yourself lucky if you're looking for some custom work. Here in the Oklahoma City area, there are probably 8 - 10 quality ironwork shops. It depends on what type of work you're looking to get done, some shops are better in some areas than others. Take me for example, I specialize in furniture, home decor, and architectural pieces. If you're looking to get a coffee table built, you don't really want to call on a shop that works on hand rails and fence all day. Do your homework, just because they say they can build what you're looking for, doesn't mean it will turn out the way you were hoping. If they have a website with pictures, make sure you pay attention to their design capabilities. I find that allot of shops are good at welding, but there not good a designing.
When looking for a qualified iron designer, there's a big difference in a random welding shop that does everyday regular ornamental ironwork and an artist that works with metal in many applications. Always bring pictures of the designs that catch your eye, unless you have no idea of what you're looking for. Go through magazines and interior and architectural design books. By being prepared, it'll help minimize the stressful task of working with a designer. Nothing sucks worse than trying to get your idea across to someone who's not seeing it.
Are you looking to add a privacy fence around your pool or backyard, but you don't want to totally ruin your view? By going with iron, you get both benefits. The thing I love most about iron fencing it that you can add vines, it acts as a perfect trellis. There are many things to consider when choosing a fence design. Where do you live? Do you live close to the ocean where salt water could possibly deteriorate your ironwork faster than normal. If so, then you may need to go with a company that uses an intense finishing process that will protect the paint for years to come. I recommend www.ameristarfence.com, I have personal experience with this fencing, it works and looks great. The panels bolt together with simplicity and they even offer rackable sections for inclines. If your wish is to have a more detailed look, then think about choosing a custom fence design, I've attached drawings of some possible applications. Most ironwork shops in town can easily accommodate what you're looking for. I recommend using whoever most of the builders in town use. Get at least two quotes, you never know how busy a shop is, they may quote it high and not care if they get the job or not. Email me if you need anymore information pertaining to choosing a fence design.