When you hire a company for a commercial fencing project, you’re not just looking for someone who knows about fences and who can build something decent. You also need to learn about what goes into building a commercial fence so you can determine whether the bidding company knows what it’s doing.
Successful outcomes directly result from having a clear idea of how the characteristics of your property will affect the process. Additionally, when you know how easy or difficult building on your property is, your ability to negotiate a good price will improve.
Learning how to prepare for commercial fencing projects does involve lots of detail, so the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be. The tasks you have to complete range from legal preparation to site investigation to cosmetic and company branding. It helps if your prospective company has resources and a diverse portfolio, so you are prepared to educate your team.
Meeting With the Managers
You may have decided you want a fence, but you might not know all the details about what the land is like in the area where you want that fence placed. Meet with the managers in your company first, especially any managers of facilities and groundskeeping divisions. You’ll want to know:
- If there are physical obstacles that could make fence-building difficult, such as rocky soil, land that needs to be regraded, established trees in the path of the proposed fence
- If a fence company will be able to access the entire perimeter of the area you want fenced in
- If everyone is in agreement about the style of the fence the company should get
- If a style, color, and material have been chosen, and what backup options are available
- If the property owner (if your company is leasing the land) has approved the addition of a fence
Your facilities and grounds maintenance departments, or the equivalents in your company, should start clearing the areas around the proposed fence area. Equipment stored nearby should be moved away; in fact, anything modular or mobile should be moved away to allow for the fence company’s equipment to have access.
Planning for the disruption to work in the area is tricky. You’ll need more information from the fencing company to fully alert nearby offices and warehouses that the construction will begin, but for the time being, go ahead and give your workers a heads-up that at some point, they will have to deal with construction near their work sites. If the fence construction will disrupt parking, start making alternative plans.
You and your managers also need to create a list of questions to ask each fence company that you interview. Remember to include questions about how long the construction will take, clean-up services, warranties, who will handle city and county permit applications, and what services are included in the price. Take a good look at the facility budget to determine preliminary limits for what you can pay for the fence.
Bidding and How to Prepare for a Commercial Fencing Project
Once you and your company are all on the same page, it’s time to start getting bids and to start questioning fence companies. As you find companies to contact (through referrals from colleagues or other organizations), question them about their role versus your role in the preparation. For example, you’ll likely need city or county permits to begin the work, and you may need inspections by those same agencies when all is finished.
It’s very common for fence companies to be the ones to apply for permits and handle inspection scheduling, but not every company will do that for you. You might have to contact the government yourself, apply on your own for a permit, and remember to call for an inspection afterward. Additional legal and government issues include zoning permits, height minimums and maximums, easements that may run across your property (you don’t want to block those with the fence), and utility-line location and who needs to call to have this done.
Physical Considerations at the Building Site
The companies you want to get bids from having to see the physical site, too. As you lead them around, point out slopes and ask about regrading the land if needed, or if the company will need to use a design with steps or separate segments. Find out how closely the bottom of the fence will follow the ground’s surface and if there are designs that won’t leave gaps if the land remains less than even. Ask to see images from previous projects that used the same style of fence that the fence company is proposing to use on your land. Also, find out if the slopes or steps will require shortening the fence segments vertically to maintain an even top line and stay under local fence height limits.
You’ll also need to ask about rock removal if the soil is particularly rocky; rocks can interfere with post-placement, but the fence company may want you to call a landscaper first. The same goes for plant life that’s in the path of the fence; can the fence be installed around the plants, or will they all have to be removed except for any grass?
Once the installation starts, ask the company what the process will be and how long they think it will take. You’ll need to know if you’ll have to wait for subcontractors to complete portions of the project or if the fence company does everything “in-house.” Ensure the figure they give you includes leeway in case the project is more complicated and runs long. Find out when the company is more or less busy and ask about how that might change the timeline and cost; certain seasons are busier than others. Whether they have one large crew work all the way through or have smaller crews rotate throughout the project will also affect how long it takes to get the job done, especially if there won’t be a foreman on site. Then, find out what sort of clean-up service the company performs. If they don’t remove construction waste, you’ll need to both arrange for another company to do that, and to work that issue into the price you’re willing to pay.
Working out the Financial Aspect of a Commercial Fencing Project
This is likely the least-favorite aspect of planning any sort of construction: the money aspect. You need to have an idea of what the job will reasonably cost, start to finish, and whether the price for the fence includes accessories and hardware. Projects often have multiple pay dates when you pay a percentage of the total cost as the project progresses, and sometimes the costs include a deposit. You’ll want to know the company’s payment terms and preferred methods. Once you settle on a company, you must get a written contract – and read it all!
Hopefully, the fence will turn out to be exactly just what you wanted. If you have trouble with it, however, find out if the installation company will also carry out repairs, or if you’ll need to call other companies that function as authorized repair shops. Be sure you understand the terms of any warranty so you know exactly what that warranty includes and covers.
With a successful track record spanning 25 years, Metalco has proven its ability to construct excellent fences with a minimum of fuss for customers. Whether you want a bid or just need preliminary information as you consider adding a fence, you’ll get what you need when you work with Metalco.
We invite you to contact us today to arrange a free consultation to learn more about us and why so many businesses and individual property owners look to us for their fencing and gate needs.