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Why Most Companies Won’t Tell You Fence Cost Per Foot

When you’re looking for a fence, for your home, a commercial property or something else, chances are, you’ve got a budget in mind. So, you get online, and you start researching fence cost per foot. You might even look for specifics, like chain link fence cost, wood fence cost, or high security fence cost.

But it’s very unlikely you will ever find anything specific. There are some very good reasons you can’t find a fence cost per foot. So, we’re going to pull back the curtain so you can learn more.

Fixed Costs Built into Fence Cost Per Foot

Every construction project, including fencing, have fixed, value related, and time related costs built into the price you see at the bottom of the quote.

Value related costs would be things like the materials. The bigger the job becomes, the more materials you will use. Time related charges vary according to the size and scope of the job too, and the more fence there is, the more labour will be required to install it.

But there is also a portion of the price that is fixed.

Every job will require delivery of materials, and whether that’s a large load or only a few items on a truck, the time, fuel, and other costs to get it to site won’t change.

The fence crew will still have to offload materials, no matter how big the job is, and they’ll still have to mark out the fence lines. Those things don’t change just because the job got smaller, and while there might be a little less time required, it’s not proportionately different to the change if you decide to shorten your fence.

When fence projects are priced as lumpsums, those fixed costs are all built right into the price, which is why fence companies can’t give you a fence cost per foot, and why you can’t simply adjust the price based on footing changes.

Minimum Labour Charges

Even if you don’t hear about fixed costs, and your job is very small, there’s a good chance your fence contractor will mention minimum labour charges if you ask for a fence cost per foot.

Think of this as a call out fee.

Even if you only want a single post installed, your contractor still has to load up their truck, travel to site, bring equipment along and spend time on site. Even if the job itself only takes an hour, they’ve probably spent four getting to and from your site. So, to recoup those costs, most contractors will have a minimum labour charge, that they will charge no matter how small the project is.

Of course, as soon as the labour goes above that threshold on larger projects, the minimum charge falls away, because the contractor is already covering their costs.

Layout Matters

If you are going to change your fence project, you probably think you can just add or subtract fencing based on the footing changes, but that’s not how it works – unless you’ve specifically been priced per unit for every part of the fence. That’s usually not how fence quotes work in Canada, so it’s unlikely you can do things that way.

One of the physical reasons most fence companies won’t give you a price per foot is because the layout of your site is a factor.

Different parts of each fence cost more or less than other parts. So, for instance, an end post costs more than a line post, but less than a corner post. Gates cost more than fencing, because they contain more steel in the frame, posts and fittings, and so on.

If you were to take the full price of your fence and divide it by the total footage, the price would be made up of mesh, wire, line posts, terminal posts and more, which is not accurate.

This is also why, if the layout of your project changes and there are more ends, corners, gates and so on, your fence contractor will usually charge you for those additions.

Unforeseen Costs

The last reason why most fence contractors won’t give you a fence cost per foot is that there are almost always unforeseen costs on any project.

Sometimes, customers have gas lines or cables under their fence that require hand digging or hydrovaccing, which of course costs more. Other times, there’s a large, buried rock or some subterranean concrete no one knew was there that either has to be removed or the fence line has to be deviated.

Since there’s no way your fence company would know that those things were there, they will be additional costs.

Your Quote Options

If you just want a fence cost per foot so you can have a ballpark figure to work with, you can use the budget tool on our main menu to get a rough idea of what your fence will cost.

Alternatively, if you want a dialed in, detailed quote based on your actual fence layout and site conditions, you can contact the Rite-Way Fencing branch closest to you. We’ll arrange a site visit, come to your site, and take notes about everything we need to know. Then we’ll give you a detailed quote, which will include a list of terms and everything that’s not included (like the hidden service mentioned above!)

So, while you can’t easily get a fence cost per foot, you do have some options. So, get in touch!

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