Whether you're going for privacy or aesthetics, installing a fence can transform your yard and give you a secure outdoor space. Comparing the costs of different fence options helps you choose one. The material is one of the biggest factors in pricing, but it's also important to anticipate the labor cost for fence installation.
Average Labor Costs for a Fence
The labor cost for fence installation typically ranges from $30 to $80 per hour. If you're installing a fence that's 150 to 300 linear feet, you can expect it to take a fencing contractor 20 to 35 hours from start to finish. Labor costs usually account for about 50 percent of fencing costs.
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Factors That Influence Fence Pricing
The size is one of the biggest factors in the labor cost for fence installation. A longer fence requires more time and labor, which increases your total cost. Longer fences also require more material, which bumps up your overall project cost.
The complexity of the fence installation also influences labor costs. If the contractor has to remove an old fence, this adds time to the project and increases labor costs. Expect to pay between $3 and $5 per linear foot to have the contractor remove the old fence. Uneven ground, obstructions, or a location that's difficult to reach can also add to the installation costs since those things make the job more difficult.
Your choice of fencing materials can also affect the price. A vinyl fence is on the lower end, with labor costs averaging $7 per linear foot, while wood costs an average of $12 per linear foot for installation. However, vinyl fencing usually costs more than wood, so the two end up being about the same cost per linear foot. Look at the total cost to compare different materials accurately.
Saving Money on Fence Installation
If you want your fence to be professionally installed on a tight budget, there are ways to save money. Some options include:
- Handle the prep work: If you already have a fence, do the demolition to save on the labor costs. Make sure the fence location is free of obstructions and have a clear path to the area ready for the workers.
- Shop around: Labor costs can vary significantly among contractors. Ask for quotes from multiple fencing companies but keep in mind that a super low bid compared to the other options could be a red flag.
- Choose cheaper material: You can keep your overall project costs lower by choosing a less expensive material, such as chain link or vinyl. Aluminum and wrought iron are two of the more expensive options, both in the cost of materials and labor.
- Fence a smaller area: If you don't need your entire property fenced, choose a smaller area. This shortens the length of the fence and decreases the material and labor costs.
- Consider the timing: Waiting until late fall or early winter could save you money on fence installation. Fencing contractors usually have less business then, so they might offer discounts.
- Install it yourself: It's possible to install a fence yourself if you feel comfortable with the project. This saves on labor costs, but you might have additional costs, such as specialty equipment.
Considerations for DIY Fence Installation
It's tempting to consider DIY fence installation to save money. While this is an option if you're handy, it's also a large undertaking. Ensure you understand and follow local code requirements for fences to avoid improper installation. You might need to get permits for the fence, which a contractor typically handles for you, or you might need homeowners' association approval.
Fence installation also requires certain tools and equipment, such as a post hole digger and specialty saws to cut the material. If you don't already own these items, you'll pay more to rent or buy them. Installing the fence yourself will likely take you a lot longer than a professional since you aren't experienced in the task.