Installing an Inexpensive Automatic Driveway Gate -- Why Gate Quality Matters

Why Cheap Automatic Driveway Security Gates Aren't so Cheap

It’s considered a good idea to compare price quotes from different gate contractors, particularly when the names are plucked randomly from the virtual hat that is an internet search. Three price comparisons is generally the rule of thumb.

When you look over the different quotes you receive for your automatic gate project, you may find that there are differences in the price on each quote—sometimes a few hundred to several thousand dollars difference.

Although the bids are for the exact same project, closer inspection of each price quote might reveal differences in gate and equipment appearance, gate equipment quality, vehicle detection and safety features, and the abilities and experience of the gate contractors.

Differences in Appearance

A quality gate can be a great way to improve curb appeal and, ultimately, increase the value of your home.

Cheaper gates are made with thinner gauge metal than higher end gates. This thinner material can lead to the gate sagging over time. With a double swing gate, for instance, one side of the gate might sag more than the other, leaving the gate to look uneven and unsightly.

Also, higher end gate equipment—the equipment that causes the gate to automatically open and close—is often more sleekly designed, while lower end equipment manufacturers don’t usually take attractive design into consideration.

When it comes time to sell your home, an unattractive welcome like an uneven, faded gate with poorly designed automatic gate equipment visible just behind it, might put buyers off and, when the offers to buy do come in, the lopsided, sagging, cheap gate is likely to reverse the increased value you originally intended when you had it installed.

Differences in Quality

Lower end or cheaper automated gate equipment and gates are understandably going to cost less than higher end equipment and gates.

But are the differences between the low and high end so significant as to warrant wide ranging price quotes? Absolutely.

Higher quality automatic gate equipment is more resistant to intrusions by troublesome pests such as insects, slugs, and reptiles, and the circuitry is more resistant to damage. This is because circuit boards on higher end automatic gate operators are enclosed in more secure enclosures, and the circuit boards themselves are dipped in a protective coating.

Mechanically, the maintenance needs of an automated gate system will vary greatly depending on the type of automatic gate system you have installed.

[Learn more about gate maintenance.]

A lower cost system will require more maintenance than a higher end system. This is because a higher end system is installed with sealed bearing, maintenance-free hinges on swing gates, and sealed bearing maintenance-free wheels on slide gates. Higher end systems will also have higher quality automated gate equipment that does not need to be adjusted as often as lower end systems.

In the long run, a higher end system is likely to save you money on maintenance and repairs as compared to a lower end gate system, and is more likely to stay up and running consistently.

Omitted Vehicle Detection and Safety Features

A price quote might also be lower than others if that particular quote doesn't include certain safety equipment such as vehicle detection loops.

Up front, this might keep your pocket book a bit fuller, but if your friend Leslie happens to stop his S-class Mercedes in the path of your automated gate so that he can closely admire the gate’s scrollwork and artwork and the gate begins to swing closed because no vehicle detection loop was installed, well, let’s just say you may be in for a large withdrawal from your bank account to cover the damage the gate causes to Leslie’s car. You may also find yourself paying higher insurance premiums for years to come, or even medical or legal fees.

So the thousands you save today on an automatic gate installation without vehicle detection or safety features, may be needed for the payout you make tomorrow if your gate damages a vehicle or, worse, injures a person.

Differences in Contractor Experience and Ability

“Root canals, now only 99 cents!”

You probably would question the quality of professional service that could affect your long-term health and comfort that is priced absurdly low.

Is the dentist appropriately trained and licensed? Would you be their first root canal patient, let alone their first dental cleaning patient?

With experience comes a vast mental library of knowledge to pull from that is applied to the design and installation of each gate project.

A knowledgeable and qualified installer will recommend the right automated gate equipment for your particular project and will know, for instance, not to install an automatic gate operator that doesn't have enough power to open the large, heavy gate you’d like installed. They’ll know the best safety and vehicle detection features to recommend to keep you and your guests safe from harm from the gate, and out of legal trouble too.

They’ll also be up to date on the issues some gate operators have, and will be able to select the best automated gate equipment for you. Also, a qualified gate contractor will be able to gracefully tackle complex gate installations like solar-powered gates with security cameras that open with security cards and readers.

Needless to say, it’s only natural then that such expertise is going to cost a bit more—just like a root canal from a competent, trusted professional would.

Taking it All into Consideration

Taken altogether, it should be a little clearer why several price quotes for your automatic gate might vary significantly from each other. Working with a competent gate installer, even if their quote is a little higher than a competitor’s, can, in the long run, save you money and significant headache.

Let us put you in touch with knowledgeable and experienced professional automatic gate installers to assess your project and provide you with a quote.