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I just got my a$$ handed to me on a fence estimate. The guy got a couple other estimates & they completely blew me out of the water. I estimated ~200 lf of pressure treated, 4' tall, 1x4 french gothic picket fence with concave top, with (2) gates, 8"x 30" deep footings, posts 8' o.c.. The other two estimates he got were $1,100 & $1,200 cheaper than mine & both of these were for all cedar! Granted I could have come down a little bit in my price, but the other estimates would barely cover my PT material.

Just wondering what you guys are paying for some of your material. Like a 4' 1x4 french gothic picket, which this fence was. I get them for ~$1.30 each in Pressure Treated. 4x4x6' Gothic top post $8.

I don't do a ton of fences so my labor rates are still sketchy, but on this one I figured 40 man hours to install this. I work alone, so a day on (30)holes/spoils & (4) corner posts, a day setting remaining (26) posts & building gates, 1.5 days on rails & pickets, .5 days installing gates, clean up etc.

Any thoughts much appreciated.
 

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It would also be hard for me to compete unless I had someone else digging the holes (see other threads). Most homeowners would much rather see me with a hammer, air nailer or saw in my hand than a bar and a set of clams or even an auger unless it was just a coule of holes.
 

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Lack Of All Trades
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A few things could be taking place:

1. There must be something missing on the other 2 estimates.;)

2. Either that or those guys aren't really making any money on the job and just want to keep working. :whistling

3. Those guys don't intend on finishing the job and will walk off with HO's money.:whistling

4. those other guys won't even start the job. Theyll just have partial materials delivered, then dissappear:eek:

Hey, it happens. Then you wonder why contractors get a bad rap. No, the HO should get a bad rap for not researching these guys.
 

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We don't do any wood fencing...all vinyl. But, your labor seems to be near what we would charge for vinyl...I assume you would have more labor in a wood fence,so you are not out of line.
I might have to agree with the south of the border connection.
We have a local competitor who uses nothing but for labor...they install alot of fences...funny thing though...we are competitive with both their labor and foreign extrusion pricing,and our fence installation doesn't look like a roller coaster in a year like theirs always does.
The customer loses there.
You can't get them all...sell your quality.
 

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Curmudgeon
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It's material prices.
Buying in quantity.
My son had a fence done last fall.
About 200lf of 4' dogear, and @60lf
of 4' aluminum.
Installed, @ $300-400 more than
my cost for material.
The company is owned by brothers
who my son went to school with.
I know their Dad and grandpa.
All local boys doing the work.
It has to be in materials.
 

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Custom cabinetry
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9,178 Posts
It's material prices.
Buying in quantity.
My son had a fence done last fall.
About 200lf of 4' dogear, and @60lf
of 4' aluminum.
Installed, @ $300-400 more than
my cost for material.
The company is owned by brothers
who my son went to school with.
I know their Dad and grandpa.
All local boys doing the work.
It has to be in materials.
Thats what most contractors have a problem with. They think buying the material in MASSIVE quantity to get a great price break and then supply it at cost + labor + overhead. Then they can sell on a low price and get the job. When really they should resell it at market rate and make more money, after all they have to store it somewhere. And sell on quality.

Trust me if I was getting great price breaks on material the cost would be the same to the HO because the lumber company is not rewarding the HO they are rewarding ME. Plus they would never know as I do a single line price with no breakouts for material vs labor.
 

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ScottCCF
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We recently went out to an estimate, and after giving our quote, found 6 other companies also estimated the job. The quotes ranged from $1900.00 to $3800.00- all bidding the same material and same style. After being in the fence business for some time, here is what I have found. Different companies bid in different ways- most fence companies in my area take the price of material plus a price per foot for labor. With the economy being slow, I have also found contractor's who specialize in other areas, such as decks and additions, now offering fences (lets face it- its not rocket science to build a fence!) . It is not uncommon for them to take the price of material and multiply it by 2 or 3. And of course there is always Joe Handyman who will install a fence for materials plus a couple hundred bucks.
We try to stay competitive within our range- or in other words, what other fence companies charge- not handymen or deckbuilders. I can not send out a crew for 2 days and only make $200.00 above material costs and at the same time, since we only build fences, I could not sell many jobs, if any, by multiplying material by 3. Bottom line- If your quote covers material, labor, plus makes money for you, then its worth your while. If it doesn't, it would be better to be at the house watching TV than taking a lose on the job!
 

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Retired deck builder
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The big fence builders around here buy lumber by the tracker trailer load, the small guys are buying at HD & such. There's a big difference between what the two pay.

The big fence builders make their money on volume not quality work, most of them here use nothing but chainsaws. It's hard to compete with the big dogs unless you're a big dog too.
 
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