Putting up fence around your property can be a big job, so many people search for the best deals on fencing before committing to a company, especially if they want to fence a large property like an entire subdivision. Whether you own your own fencing company, install fence for a living, or work for someone else, preparing a bid for a fencing job carefully is important. If you don’t bid carefully, you might end up losing money, so plan ahead and include specific information in the bid.
Start by getting as much information as possible from the customer. What kind of fence? What kind of caps? How many gates are needed, and where should they go? Does the fence need to comply with regulations from a home owners’ association, city or county?
Then visit the property in person. Measure the dimensions for the fence with a measuring wheel so you can be certain they are accurate. Visiting is also the only way to really get an idea about the terrain. You need to know if there are obstacles or issues that will make the fencing job more difficult and take longer, such as hills or rocky soil. You may need to work around a sidewalk or flower garden, taking time and money.
Don’t make assumptions about the cost of materials. Check with suppliers to find the best prices, and make sure they are current. You need to have an accurate estimate of the fencing hard costs in order to bid properly. Be sure to include all necessary materials like screws, brackets and cement for posts.
Then you are ready to write up the bid. List the specific amount of materials needed for the job along with the price you will charge, not the price you paid. Most installers add somewhere between 10-20% on to the materials. Then add labor costs. Typically, labor runs $7-10 per foot depending upon how difficult the project appears to be. For instance, if the site is not yet developed and you can drive materials right up to the area and work with no obstructions, a lower number is more appropriate. If you will have to haul the cement in buckets or dig by hand because of the rocks, charge a higher amount.
Type the bid or put it on a professional fencing bid form so it is easy to read and looks presentable.
Expect that you may need to make some changes to the project between the time you make the bid and actually work on the job. Since customers often change their minds about some of the details, include a sentence on the bid that says the final bill may change since it will reflect the specific amount of fencing installed for the job.
Stay in contact with fencing suppliers and installers in your area so you have an idea of who is getting the most work and why. You may learn that you are setting your prices too high or getting your bids in too late to get the best jobs. Planning ahead and putting together a careful bid will help you be successful in terms of how many jobs you get and help you make the most money for the work you do.