You have a big construction project coming up. You’re coordinating all the materials, suppliers and labour to make sure the job gets done right. When you need temporary construction fence to secure your site, you may wonder if it is best to rent or buy your fence. There are many different factors to consider, but to help simplify things we’ve narrowed them down to these five points:
In this case, “resources” refers both to equipment and people. Of course, purchasing construction fence will involve transporting the fence from the job site to a storage facility once the project is complete. This will require disassembling the fence and loading it onto a properly equipped vehicle to bring it to its final destination. Do your trucks have the necessary equipment, such as straps and banding, to transport fence panels safely? Do you have a forklift to safely and efficiently load and unload the fence? Can you allocate the appropriate amount of labour to facilitate tear-down, loading and transportation? During the busy summer construction season, it can be difficult to spare labour for non-essential tasks. Renting may be your best option for this reason. We can coordinate our Fence Guys for set up, removal, and transportation – saving you the headache.
Buying temporary fence panels means you will need a place to put the fence when it is not in use. If you’re working with a large site (and therefore, a large quantity of fence), it may be difficult to find the necessary space to store the fence if you decide to buy. Obviously, the more fence panels you purchase, the more square footage you’ll need to dedicate to storage.
The safest way to store temporary fence panels is by stacking them flat on the ground, with panels banded together. As a best practice, at Modu-Loc we stack construction fence in quantities of 1,000′ (or 100 panels to a stack). If you’re working with a standard 6′ tall by 10′ long temporary fence panel, this means you need approximately 60 square feet for every 1,000′ of fence. Don’t forget to factor in additional space for storage bins to house the fence bases and caps. You will also need to account for clearance to be able to access the stacked fence panels with a forklift.
Beyond having the available space, you will also need to consider whether your storage area is suitable for temporary fencing. It should be a secure area, and ideally it should be protected from the elements. You want to avoid wet conditions in order to prevent rust and extend the lifecycle of the fence panel.
This is arguably the most important factor when it comes to deciding between buying or renting temporary construction fence. If you need fence for a short-term job, temporary fence rental makes the most sense. This is also true if you need a more specialized site containment system for a particular project with unique requirements. Does the site demand the use of a more advanced system (like concrete block ballasts) that you’re unlikely to need for future projects? Again, in this situation, renting is the way to go.
Of course, the cost of renting will add up over a long period of time. Generally speaking, if your job is expected to last for at least 2 years, you should consider buying. This is usually the point at which the cost of renting for the duration of the project would exceed the cost of buying the fence outright.
Purchasing fence is also a good option if you have a frequent need for temporary fencing. Will you be returning to this site, or moving on to another project with similar fencing requirements? Buying may still be worthwhile if you have several similar jobs that will run consecutively and last a total of at least 2 years. It can be more cost-effective to purchase the fence if you can use it for multiple upcoming jobs.
If you do plan to move the fence from site to site, you’ll want to carefully consider the type of fence you purchase. Some temporary fences hold up better to relocation than others, so do your research. Making an investment in the right kind of fence will ensure your decision to purchase pays off in the long run. Of course, not every project or contractor has the budget to make a capital investment in construction fence. If cashflow is a concern, renting may still be the way to go.
One of the biggest advantages of owning your own fence is that it’s available to you at all times. Fence rental suppliers can experience inventory shortages during the peak summer construction season. If you have your own stock of temporary fencing, you may be better poised to adapt to changing project requirements or take on jobs with short notice. Owning temporary fence also means that you are not at the mercy of the supplier’s delivery and installation schedule.
Of course, fence is a finite resource and if you are typically managing multiple construction projects concurrently, you may find that you still need to rent fence in order to meet all of your needs. In this case, the added headache of ownership – like the storage requirements outlined earlier – may not be worth it if you are also having to manage rental contracts. As well, you likely have your own idea of what “convenience” means. For some, it’s having access to your own fencing whenever you need it – even if that means having to store it and install it yourself. For others, having a supplier handle delivery, install, and removal is far more convenient.
That brings us to our final factor in decision to rent or buy fence. Your financial situation is an obvious but important consideration. Do you have the capital to make a big investment in temporary fencing right now, or does your current financial situation require you to manage cashflow? You may not be able to front the cost of purchasing a large quantity of fence, in which case renting is your best bet. But if you can afford to buy your temporary fence, don’t forget that you can recoup some of the initial expense by selling the fence when you no longer need it. There is a healthy resale market for used temporary fencing, and some fence suppliers will even offer a buyback option.
There are ways to reduce your initial investment in temporary fencing if you do decide to buy. If you’re not too worried about aesthetics, it may be cheaper to purchase good quality used fence instead of brand new fence panels. Make sure to explore all available options with your supplier in order to get the best bang for your buck. As well, consider financing your fence purchase. Depending on the interest rate offered by your lender, finance payments could be comparable to rental costs. Again, this is especially worth considering if you are looking at a long rental period.
There are many aspects to consider when deciding whether to rent or buy your temporary fence – such as your budget, project duration, access to storage, and available resources. We hope this helps give you an idea of which option will be the most beneficial for you. It is always best to consult your sales representative before making a final decision. Our sales representatives can help identify the possible challenges and benefits of renting versus buying as they pertain to your specific situation. Contact us and we’d be happy to help you make the best decision for your job.
Have you decided that buying is the way to go? Check out When is the Best Time to Buy Fence? to see when you should plan to make your purchase in order to get the best deal. Then, read our How to Install Modu-Loc Fence and Best Practices for Installing Modu-Loc Fence posts to achieve an optimal installation every time.
Editor’s Note: this post was originally published in 2018. It has been updated with additional detail for 2021.
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