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How to Become a Fencing Contractor
Fencing is a field that you can add to your repertoire if you are a professional landscaper or if you want to start a business that pays well. According to Landscape Online, you can get anywhere from $6 to $30 a linear foot, which translates into about $27 to $41 an hour. Services you can offer as a fencing contractor include installation or repair of barriers and guard rails, playground fences, railings, corrals, backstops, commercial and residential fences, and game court enclosures.
Learn the Trade
Most anyone can dig a hole and set a fence post; you should get some type of formal training, though, before offering your services. If you make mistakes and set the fence over a property line or cause an accident because of inaccurate placement, you may have to pay restitution. Organizations such as the American Fence Association provide professional training that can lead to certification in the specialty.
Obtain Proper Licenses
Business licenses for fence contractors usually fall under the general construction rules in your municipality. In addition to a general business license and contractor license, you may need to obtain a bond and OSHA certification. Every state has different rules governing contractors, and many areas rely on local governments to collect fees and enforce local ordinances. Contact your local licensing bureau to find out which permits and licenses you need before starting work.
Define Your Business Model
One way to start a fence-contracting business is to purchase a business model that’s already proven effective. A franchise such as Jim’s Fencing, for example, provides training and industry education to all its franchisees. You’ll have name recognition, guidance about which equipment you need, marketing plans and back-office support. Alternatively, you could add the fence service on to your existing landscape business and hire workers already trained in the process. Create a detailed contract that describes the scope of work, cost estimates and deadlines to give to customers.
One of the most effective ways to land jobs for a fencing business is through referrals. After you’ve obtained your licenses and training, contact local building suppliers to let them know about your services. Network within the landscape and construction industry to promote yourself. Specialize to set yourself apart from the competition; build a reputation for wood privacy fences, electric fences or chain link fences. Ask every satisfied customer for a testimonial that you can post on your website and include in your marketing materials.
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Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."
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