As a consumer, your goal is to obtain the best price for whatever it is you are purchasing. Your fence installation is no different.
In order to purchase a new fence for your yard or business, two things are required. The first is to learn about the fence you are purchasing. Fence Resource can help you. Being an educated consumer is key!
The second is to schedule fence quotes. I recommend getting at least three.
In a perfect world, quoting fence installation would be a universal process. Measuring how many linear feet is required and multiplying that number by a per foot cost of the fence.
But there are many outside factors that can effect the price of your fence installation that you have control over. Below we’ll discuss these factors and I’ll explain how they can impact the overall cost of your fence installation.
Outside Factors Effecting Fence Installation Cost
In construction, a sales representative is given certain criteria that must be followed when bidding jobs. When all other factors are equal, quotes are consistent form job to job.
However, sales representatives also have the liberty to increase or decrease the cost of a quote as they see fit. So, it is in your best interest to make their job as smooth as possible when obtaining a quote for your fence installation.
Sales people are busy. Especially during the peak months of fence installation. Yes, they are there to earn your business. However, their time is just as important as yours.
So taking care of the things you have control over will be appreciated. As a result, ensuring that you aren’t charged more than you should be out of frustration, wastefulness of time or flat out lack of respect.
Some elements of the job will be out of your control. For example: Hard digging because so tree roots or rocks is out of your control. A difficult install because of steep hills or lack of access is also unpreventable.
For those elements you do have control over, a little effort goes a long way. Recognized by your sales representative. And therefore, hopefully reflected in a fair and honest price for you fence installation.
This getting started guide will point you in the right direction.
1 – Be on Time for Your Fence Installation Estimate
You expect the sales person to be on time for the appointment you created. We expect the same from you.
It’s hard for sales people to stay on schedule. Some days I ran 6 to 7 sales calls per day in the summer months. Trying to stay on time was difficult.
One of the worst things a customer can do is make an appointment and be late for it. That is, besides not being present for it at all.
The quickest way to get overcharged by a sales rep is to be late for an appointment or pull a no show. Their time is important just like yours. Show them mutual respect and be on time.
2 – Know What Type of Fence you Want Installed
I understand you may not know exactly what type of fence you want to need. However, you should have some sort of idea.
I can remember running many sales calls where I walk the fence layout with the customer, measure where they wanted it and then asked them what kind of fence they wanted. Only to get the the reply of “We’re not sure”.
I knew I was going to be stuck at those houses for awhile. Potentially making me late for my next appointments.
When a customer asks for a wood fence quote, vinyl fence quote and chain link fence quote at both 4′ tall and 5′ tall, that means 6 quotes need to be figured. That takes extra time.
As I mentioned before, sales reps are on a tight schedule. And time is at a premium. So it’s easier for them to estimate quickly and estimate high. Give 6 quick quotes and get out of there.
In this case, narrowing your choices down to two or three will save your sales representative time. Therefore allowing them to provide more accurate quotes.
3 – Locate Your Property Lines
Knowing where your property lines are is essential for providing an accurate quote for fence installation. Without them, both you and the sales associate are guessing.
The best way to locate the lines is to have a professional pin survey done. Yes, this adds cost to the fence installation project, but in my professional opinion, it is well worth the extra investment.
Many fence companies have relationships with surveyors. I’ve personally negotiated a reduced price with a professional surveyor I recommend to my customers.
Not only does a survey allow for accurate measuring of the fence location, it makes it easier to obtain fence permits and Homeowners Association approvals.
Surveyors provide to scale drawings of the property lines to customers. These are valuable when applying for permits. Letting the building or zoning departments know that the lot is surveyed and that the fence is not at risk of being installed in an incorrect location.
I always obtained copy of the drawing and drew the fence to scale on it when I submitted the application for the fence permit. It made for a smooth approval process from the governing city or township.
4 – Walk the Proposed Layout with the Sales Representative
Unless you are unable to walk the proposed fence line with the sales associate, it highly recommended you do. Simply pointing from your back door or deck tells them you are not very interested in the fence installation at all.
Furthermore, it can lead to inaccurate measuring of the fence line. As result, causing potential inaccuracies in the quote from company to company.
Walking the line with the sales rep ensures the fence starts and stops where you want it. It also allows them to point out possible suggestions or ask questions in relation to the layout of the fence or gates.
I understand that sometimes it is raining or snowing. But if you expect them to be out in the elements, we expect you to join us!
5 – Secure HOA Approvals for the Fence Installation
Many fence companies leave the HOA approval for the fence installation to the homeowner. This means if you can secure it before obtaining a fence quote, you are one step closer to being ready for installation.
This is appealing for sales people. It makes their job easier and allows the job to be scheduled faster.
HOA approvals are normally good for 12 months from the approval date. I always liked homeowners that secured approval ahead of time. It told me they were prepared and ready to purchase.
6 – Secure the Fence Permit
Just like the HOA approval, securing the fence permit makes the life of the sales representative easier. At the same time it also lets them know you are ready to purchase a fence.
Both are reasons for them to provide you with a really good price. You’ve done the hard part by getting the permit for them.
And just like the HOA approval, most fence permits are only good for a year. So they know you are ready to move forward with a fence installation in a reasonable amount of time.
When weather turns nice, sales people are on the roads from sun up to sun down. Office time is hard to come by. Having a customer secure their own permit is very appealing to a sales person and means a faster turnaround.
7 – Own the Property Where the Fence will be Installed
The latest trend in I’m seeing is customers scheduling quotes for fence installations on properties they do not own. They have sales associates meet them (or a realtor) at open houses for homes they are potentially interested in purchasing.
This shows a total lack of respect for the time of the sales person. Many sales people work on straight commission. This means they use their own vehicles and gas to run appointments.
Having them waste time, money and gas, in order to provide a fence estimate for a yard on a home you don’t even own yet is disrespectful. An almost certain way to receive an increased price on your fence.
8 – Pick Up Dog Waste
Seems pretty obvious…….right? I can’t tell you how many times I had to step in dog mess in order to measure a fence line.
Even worse, I had to wheel my measuring wheel or drag a tape measurer through it. It sets the tone for the appointment and ruins the rest of the day.
I get you may not be able to get every pile. But please try to make an attempt. Even better, give the sales associate a heads up if you weren’t able to clean up before the appointment.
There is nothing worse than stepping in a pile of dog mess only to realize it 10 minutes down the road while driving in my truck.
9 – Don’t Shop Too Early
It’s good to plan ahead. But not too far ahead. Material prices for fencing have never been more volatile. As a result, it is hard for fence companies to honor fence quotes for very long.
It use to be a standard fence estimate was good for 30 days. If you were one of my customers, chance are I would honor the quote for 12 months. However, those days are over.
The prices of material change frequently. Some manufacturers are only honoring material quotes for a week or less. As a result, the construction companies purchasing materials from them also have no choice but to reduce the time their quotes are good for.
Make sure to discuss the terms of your fence quote with the company providing it. Don’t plan too far into the future. Or, if you do, understand that pricing may change slightly do to material costs and availability of materials at the time of purchase.