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Bidding Fencing...?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Raz, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. Raz

    Raz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I got a call to replace 10 - 8ft sections of fence, replace 5 rotted fence posts and replace about 20-30 boards on the exsiting fence... The owner has all the materials except for concrete for the posts, and replacement boards... the fencing that will be replacing the old is prebuilt 8ft wide 6 ft tall sections... can anyone help I don't know what to charge???
  2. noseha

    noseha LawnSite Senior Member
    from MI
    Messages: 554

    time plus materials
  3. Total.Lawn.Care

    Total.Lawn.Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 840

    If you have to remove the 5 posts from the ground and then properly replace them, you can figure at least 30 minutes per post (closer to 45 or an hour total when you consider removal, cut post to fit, resize hole and then set and pour concrete), the 10 - 8 ft sections you can probably get up in an hour (total) and the 20-30 boards (if already cut to fit) will probably be about 2 minutes per board (if pre-cut), 4-5 minutes per board if not) so about another 2 hours.

    So I see about eight hours work, plus any additional material and material markup for time to pickup and deliver.

    Anybody else have any other time suggestions.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    If the old posts are set in concrete- that could take a lot of work to get out. What are you doing with the old wood. I would think of this as a Day of work for two guys, you and helper, Even if it does not take a full day -- you will not be going to do another job. And there is no material mark up. I would like close to a full days pay for this, (what ever that is for you)
  5. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    Too bad you can't supply all materials. Now the customer is looking for labor only. Hope he's not too cheap! I know you're itching to do it but in real life, those types of jobs can and will go for around 75 to 100/hr. plus materials.
    If you want to make less it's your choice. Maybe this one, you will wind up making maybe 20/hr. cause he knows the cost of the materials. I personally never do work if they buy materials. I can't make enough to stay in business. Learn from this one and shoot for a hun/hr... :waving:
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I had the rare opportunity a few years ago to have fencing explained to me, in detail.

    It was only the back yard on a 1/4 acre lot, so we're talking 3 sides of a pre-built wooden sections fence surrounding maybe 10k square feet of lot.

    You know, I never realized what all goes into it, but the man showed me stuff that took me for a loop: You take a look at a decently built fence, and ALL the boards and posts and everything are perfectly level and aligned in such a way that it is pleasant to look at...

    I took a long look, and I'm staring as I am wondering how in the world these guys got it to be so perfect, and the man says to me:
    Laser level, it's a tool, they shine the laser at the correct angle, then build the fence to match the line of the beam of light.

    Then he told me the price: $3,000.00 (and I don't remember if that was total, or just labor, plus materials).

    It dawned on me, there might be a bit more to it than a hammer, some pieces of wood and a bag full of nails.

    Now when you look at some of these googled pictures, you can see what I mean:

    I mean look at how straight this is, it's flawlessly so:

    The fun begins on a hill-based fence, while the bottom of the fence follows a somewhat uneven terrain, look from pole to pole, see what I mean about perfectly straight alignment:
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    This is not to rain on your parade, there is big money to be made fencing and I may suggest following that path, should you be willing to walk the path of education :)

    You'll need a matching section, it has been a few years but if I remember correctly, those sections tend to run several hundred dollars, each. Don't take my word for it because it has been too long, it could be 200-300 as easily as 700+, I honestly don't recall but it's likely in the hundreds.

    The posts shouldn't cost too much, and you can use twine instead of the laser level to align things, thou you might also check into cement bases, I do believe most quality fences have their posts sitting in a block of cement... Removal of which has been mentioned :)

    Once you do some appropriate research and you get an estimate together, I would even consider asking someone you might know to help you (it would help further if they knew something about the subject), but do consider giving the customer a 20-30% or so discount in exchange for the chance to get some hands-on experience, should you still be interested. Thus, a close to correct price to begin with would be quite helpful.

    And, best of luck.
  8. AFM Contracting

    AFM Contracting LawnSite Member
    Messages: 32

    Here in Ontario I charge $35+ a linear foot (materials and labour) depending on the design of the fence, slope of the ground, materials used ect. Without a picture I canot be much more specific. But always bid up, and if you know what you are doing there is a tonne of money to be made in fencing. Go for it and Good Luck!!
  9. Raz

    Raz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    You guys are Great thank you for all of your thourough explanations, yes I am very anxious to get this job but I can say you guys have taught me a lot and I really appreciate all your feedback I submitted my bid already probly a little low but we'll see and I'll suck it up to a learning experiance.
    Thanks Again

    - Ransom:)
  10. BCF

    BCF LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    AFM is right, there is a lot of money to be made in fencing, mostly because the digging is hard on your body. The sections should be no problem as long as they were originally set on 8' centers( you'd be suprised what some people do).

    Here's a trick for ya on replacing the posts: If they aren't completely rotted and falling apart, if you loosen the post by hitting the sides with a bar or sledge(not too hard or it may break), get a come-along and wrap the end around the post. Lengthen it until you can get it on the top of a vertical digging bar, point end. Becareful to hold the top hook so it doens't come off, and kind of fish with it: tighten it a little, and try and wiggle it back. If you can gett the post out, and it's dep enough, you may be able to sledge a new one back in the old hole, then dig around it and throw your crete in there. Beats digging next to it to pull it out.

    Also be careful when knocking to old pickets out. If the rails are really rotted it will be hard to find a solid place to nail the new ones back on.

    On the laser level, sure it is a nice fancy tool to impress people with, but totally unneccessary. A string line, line level, torpedo level, and the occasional two foot level does just fine. And after some time in the field, such as an old Southerner once told me: " Son, youse eye youse best tool."

    Good luck.

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