Adding a fence to the yard can provide your family with protection and privacy. This structure can serve as a barrier to keep pets and kids away from busy streets, while also providing a layer of protection against intruders. Short fences can serve as a simple landmark between properties, while taller fences can keep out the prying eyes of passersby and nosy neighbors.
While some DIYers will opt to install their own fences, many people prefer to have this job completed by professionals. Hiring a fence company to install the new fence in your yard ensures that the job will be handled by trained, knowledgeable professionals with the appropriate tools, equipment, and permits. Learn how to find and hire fencing contractors, and what the fence installation process involves from pre-construction to post-construction with this informative guide to professional fence installation.
How to Hire Fence Installation Professionals
The internet is an invaluable tool at your disposal. Take advantage of the easily accessible information at your fingertips to research fencing contractors and fence installation companies in your area. A quick internet search is enough to pull up a long list of fencing contractors and company websites. You can then look into potential options and find contact information to reach out to the customer service department of any company that makes the short list.
A great way to track down qualified professionals in your area is through an aggregator site, like Angi or HomeAdvisor. These sites have searchable networks of qualified contractors and fence installation companies, so you can quickly find a list of professional fencing contractors and get quotes for your project. Use aggregators to compare quotes, get honest ratings, and consult reviews from past customers to help find a top fence installation company that can take on your fence installation job.
If you aren't quite sure how to navigate through pages of search results for fence installation companies, then a simpler approach may be to speak to neighbors, family, and friends to find out if they can recommend any fence installation companies in the area. You should also keep an eye out for company badges or logos nailed to recently completed fences in the neighborhood. When you have found a few potential options, head to the company websites to do more research or call the customer service department directly to get answers to your questions before hiring.
Factors to Consider When Hiring Fencing Contractors
Training and Qualifications
When looking for fencing contractors or a fence installation company, you should ask about the training and qualifications of each. Fence contractors are typically responsible for handling all aspects of the installation, including dealing with permits, HOA requirements, and utility line location, so it's important that the workers have been properly trained.
Depending on the location, there may not be any formal qualifications that are required to be a fence installer. However, most fence installation companies will look for workers with some level of prior experience in carpentry or construction. In some states, contractors may need to take a brief, one-week fence installation program that provides them with classroom teaching and hands-on installation training.
Fence installation companies may be required to obtain a fencing contractor license, though this varies between states. Check your local regulations and ensure that any company you consider meets the local requirements.
Insurance and Warranties
Any time you hire a company or contractor to do work at your home it's necessary to find out if they have insurance and if the work will be warrantied after the completion of the job. Typically, a fence installation company or a fencing contractor will have general liability insurance that protects the homeowner or business owner from liability if the contractor damages the property or injures themselves on the job.
A warranty is often offered as a way of guaranteeing that the fence installation company is confident in the materials and the construction of the fence. Check the company website or speak to the customer service department to get a detailed understanding of the coverage and limitations of the warranty before hiring a fence installer.
The range of service offered by a fence installation company can vary. Some companies will handle everything from design and installation consultation to ongoing fence maintenance and repairs, while smaller companies may only take on the actual construction work. Before hiring, ask what services the company offers and what is included in the price of the quote. Some services that may be offered include:
- Fence gate installation
- Fence maintenance and repair
- Fence building
- Fence installation
- Fence design
- Design and installation consultation
- Building and zoning department permitting
- Marking of boundary and utilities
When you have decided on a contractor or company to complete the job, the pre-construction process begins. This phase must be completed before the fence can be installed. It involves meeting with the fence estimator on site, obtaining permits, and marking the utility lines.
Fence Estimator Visit
Fence companies typically divide their outside staff into two: the estimators and the builders.
The estimator measures the run of the intended fence with a long measuring tape or with a wheel-type measuring device. The estimator will confirm with you certain aspects such as the style of the fence, material, property line, and easements.
The job of the fence estimators is to estimate and then move on to the next job. Many estimators, though, have experience working in the field and already have a good working knowledge of the trade.
Some areas require you to obtain a fence permit before installing your fence, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional. Check with the fencing contractors to determine if they will be handling the permit application process.
While the estimator will usually arrive quickly, the builders will take longer. The typical wait time is two to six weeks, but this depends on your area, the season, the company, and other factors. If you are responsible for applying for a fence permit, make sure to do so as early as possible so that the permitting process doesn't slow down the builders.
Mark Utility Lines
Early in the fence installation process, the fence company should call the local utility marking service to visit your property. This service, which usually is free, will mark your yard so that the fence company can avoid utility lines when they dig. Speak to the fencing contractor or the customer service staff to verify that the fence installation company will take care of arranging this service or if you will need to contact the local utility marking service on your own.
After the estimators come to the home, you can set an appointment date for the installers to come and start the construction of the new fence.
Post Hole Digging
Before the fence itself is installed, you will need to arrange a date with the fence installation company to come on site and dig the fence post holes. This job will only require a small crew with handheld post-hole diggers, or, if the ground is tough, they may use a gas or electric post hole digger to quickly dig down through the soil. The holes should extend deep into the ground so that the bottoms of the fence posts sit below the frost line to help prevent the fence from shifting, moving, or collapsing due to frost heaves. In locations that are warm throughout the year, frost heaves are not a concern.
The fencing contractors may decide to set the posts on the same day that they dig the post holes or they may come back at a later date to complete this part of the process. Some contractors will set the posts directly into the concrete, while others may install galvanized post brackets at the soil level to help protect the base of the post. You can check with your contractor to determine if they will be using post brackets or if the fence posts will be set directly in the concrete. After installing the posts, the concrete will need time to dry and cure.
Once the fence post brackets and posts are firmly in place, a crew will install horizontal stringers, vertical fence boards, gates, and everything else that comprises your fence. If you choose to build a horizontal fence, stringers are not used. Instead, the fence post holes are spaced closer (usually 6 feet apart rather than 8 feet). This allows horizontal fence boards to be run from post to post.
When the job is done, the worksite will need to be cleaned up and the fence will need to be finished to ensure it remains in good condition for years. You should also take this opportunity to inspect the work and decide on the next steps for the maintenance and upkeep of the new fence.
Finishing and Cleaning
After building the fence, the crew should pick up all scraps, waste, and other debris. You'll have the opportunity to inspect the fence for any issues or visible defects in the material. Depending on the services offered by the company, you may be able to have the fence stained and coated for protection, though this will usually happen at a later visit. Sometimes, the fence company will do the work itself, but in other cases, the company will contract out the finishing work to another company.
Maintenance and Upkeep
Having a fence in the yard is a great benefit and can even increase the property value, but you need to keep up with the maintenance to ensure that the fence doesn't become warped, rotted, and structurally unsound. About once every three to five years, the fence should be sanded, cleaned, and stained or sealed against moisture and UV radiation. If you don't think you can manage this job on your own, it's recommended to speak to a fencing contractor or fence installation company that offers ongoing maintenance and upkeep services.
How much does a fence cost?
The cost to install a fence typically ranges from $1,750 and $4,425, though the total price can be influenced by several factors, including the length of the fence, the type of fence, the addition of gates or other features, and the local labor rates for the fence installers.
How long does it take to build a fence?
On average, it takes about two to four days to build a fence, including the time required to dig the holes, cut the lumber, place the posts, pour the concrete, allow the concrete to set, assemble the fence, and finish the fence.
Can I install a fence myself?
Installing a fence in the yard is a job that an experienced DIYer can handle with the right tools. If you have the skill and are willing to rent a posthole digger, purchase the materials, and set aside two to four days for this project, then you can install a fence yourself.
Who installs fences?
Fence installation professionals are the most well-suited to installing a new fence in your yard. These fence installation contractors can be found through aggregator sites, like Angi, or you can track down fence installation companies in your area with just a little online research.
How much does it cost to build and install a fence? (n.d.). Angi. https://www.angi.com/articles/how-much-does-fence-installation-cost.htm