Avoid Unexpected Fence Rental Charges

September 25, 2020

Nobody wants to look at their final fence rental bill and see a bunch of unexpected charges. Unfortunately, this scenario is not uncommon within the industry. While unscrupulous suppliers do exist, more often than not, unexpected charges are the result of poor communication between the supplier and the customer.

Clients who are new to renting temporary fence may not know all of the charges that can make up a fence rental bill. Without understanding all of the costs involved, it’s easy to be blindsided by charges you weren’t anticipating. A good supplier will walk you through an estimate based on their interpretation of your needs. However, it’s also important for you, as the customer, to ask the right questions.

In this post, we’ve outlined all of the ways that unexpected charges can creep into your fence rental bill. We’ll also provide tips for avoiding these sometimes unnecessary fence rental charges.

Off-Hours Work

It’s common for temporary fencing suppliers to apply surcharges for work that takes place outside of regular business hours. After all, they need to fairly compensate their installers for giving up their personal time. So if you absolutely need your fence to be delivered on a Saturday, or removed after 5:00 pm on a weekday, you’ll likely face a weekend or evening charge. This also applies to statutory holidays.

If your timing is flexible, scheduling delivery, install, and removal during regular business hours is a great way to save some money.

Emergency Work

Emergency jobs are especially prone to miscommunication. After all, they typically involve high-stress scenarios like house fires or other accidents. In those situations, clients are more focused on protecting public safety than asking their supplier a bunch of questions.

Mobilizing a crew to fulfil an emergency request can sometimes mean bumping other orders. So if you need fence delivered the same day, don’t be surprised if you incur a surcharge for emergency work. And because emergencies can happen at any time, you may also be subject to an evening or weekend surcharge, though some suppliers will only charge the emergency fee.

A fence installer placing a temporary fence panel on an emergency job. A fire is seen in the background and a police car is parked in front of the fence.

Return-to-Site or Mobilization Fees

Your fence rental agreement typically includes delivery, the actual rental charges, and removal. It may also include installation and dismantling, depending on your requirements. This means your supplier has estimated two trips to your site: one to deliver and install, and one to remove the fence.

If your temporary fence supplier needs to dispatch a crew back to your site for any reason, you may be charged for that. So if you underestimate how much fence you need and call your supplier back to install more, you might be on the hook for more than the extra fencing. Likewise, if a crew needs to return to site to move or reposition the fence, or to fix fence that has fallen over, expect to be charged for the extra trip.

The only exception is when the return trip is required due to an error made by your supplier. If they delivered the wrong product or quantity, be sure to confirm that the return trip will be made free of charge.

Additional Products

Sometimes our customers will ask us for accessory products once the crew is on site. It’s not uncommon for requirements to change, especially if site conditions are more challenging than expected. Whenever possible, we send crews out with commonly requested auxiliary products – even if they weren’t on the order. These include items like security clamps and safety ramps. This way, we’re prepared for most scenarios.

Temporary fencing surrounds a garden. Plastic orange safety ramps cover the fence bases.

If you request something on site that was not on the original rental agreement, expect a charge for that product to be added to your bill – even if the installer already has it with them. Typically, a basic fence rental agreement will only include the fence panels, bases or “feet”, and caps or “connectors”.

Minimum Charges

If you only need a small quantity of fence, you may be subject to a minimum charge. No temporary fence supplier wants to lose money on a job. They need to ensure that their pricing covers the costs of sending a crew to your site. This includes things like the cost of running the truck, and pay for the installers. Most suppliers have a set minimum charge to ensure those costs are covered on smaller jobs.

Your supplier should be up front about their minimum charges. Always make sure to ask for an estimate when dealing with a new supplier. Even when you’ve worked with the supplier before, if your order is smaller than usual, don’t assume that typical rental rates will apply.

Out-of-Area Charges

Similarly, your supplier has likely set their delivery charges based on a specific service area. If your site or delivery address falls outside of that boundary, expect to incur out-of-area delivery charges. Again, your supplier should indicate these charges on your estimate. But if you’re not sure whether or not you’re located within their service area, it’s best to ask.

Two fence installers stand with their truck. Mountains are visible in the background.

Damaged or Missing Products

Construction jobs are especially tough on fencing, as the fence line may need to be relocated several times throughout the duration of a project. All of that extra handling can result in some damages. Panels can go also missing, as requirements change according to the phase of the project and fence is moved around.

You may already know that you’re on the hook for damaged or missing product. But do you know how much you’re expected to pay for every damaged panel? It could be equivalent to the purchase price of a new panel, so it’s in your best interest to clarify the damaged and missing charges in advance.

As well, it’s in your best interest to be on site for delivery so that you can confirm counts. The delivery crew will record the number of fence panels installed, and another count is performed during the removal. Any negative discrepancy could be billed as missing product, so accurate counts during delivery and removal are crucial.

Furthermore, you should note or refuse any significantly damaged product upon delivery. If you’ve ordered fence for a construction site, odds are that you don’t need it to look pretty as long as it’s functional. But if you choose to accept delivery of damaged panels, make note of them on the job report or order slip so that you aren’t charged for damage you didn’t cause.

Pro tip: though you can’t exactly avoid charges for legitimately damaged or missing product, you may be able to negotiate them. That charge for every missing panel can really add up over the course of a typical rental contract. Just make sure to negotiate the fee in advance, when your supplier is most likely to be lenient. It doesn’t hurt to ask!

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!

At the end of the day, communication is your best defense against unexpected fence rental charges. Though every industry has its share of low-quality suppliers who survive on hidden charges, we find that miscommunication is often the culprit.

Of course, it’s the job of the supplier to educate their clients about all of the costs involved in renting temporary fence. We believe in and strive for total transparency. However, communication is a two-way street! Begin by aligning with your supplier on your requirements and expectations. Make sure they fully understand your needs and have properly addressed them in their quote.

If anything on the estimate is unclear or you simply don’t feel good about something, make sure to ask. Put in the initial work to obtain the most accurate fence rental estimate possible, and you’ll be less likely to see any surprise charges on your final bill.

Author: Joanna Bieda

Joanna Bieda is the Director of Marketing and Communications at Modu-Loc Fence Rentals, and has been with the company since 2014. She loves writing and is a self-professed data nerd. She thoroughly enjoys teaching customers about all things fence via Modu-Loc's blog.

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