Top 5 Mistakes Customers Make When Ordering Fence

April 20, 2019

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At Modu-Loc, we service customers from all different industries, geographic regions, and business departments. We have a large number of customers we work with regularly, but we also deal with clients who are ordering fence for the very first time in their lives. The funny thing is, whether a customer is ordering fence for the first or the tenth time, they’re all guilty of making the same few mistakes.

Don’t get us wrong: this post is not meant to scold our customers! But avoiding these common mistakes when ordering fence will help prevent unnecessary headaches, and keep your project on time and on budget. And who doesn’t want that? So sit back, learn from the mistakes of others, and relish the fact that the next time you need fence, you’ll be a total pro at ordering.

#1. Not having all of the information

This is a broad subject that includes several common mistakes. While temporary fence isn’t exactly rocket science, there are a few key pieces of information we need to provide an accurate quote. For instance, you should know what height of fence you require. There might be some flexibility here depending on the situation, but sometimes we need to meet specific requirements. For example, special occasion permits require that fence be at least 40” for a beer garden. Most construction bylaws will mandate a minimum height if you’re fencing off an excavation site. Try and determine ahead of time whether there are any local bylaws or regulations affecting your job. This will help to avoid any unwelcome surprises.

Another major factor when pricing out temporary rental fence is the duration of the job. Aside from the fact that a very long job might benefit from the purchase of temporary fence, if you do opt to go with rental fence, you can likely negotiate a better rental rate if your project will take one year rather than one month. If you have this information handy, let us know up front!

This brings us to the next common mistake…

#2. Not providing all of the information

Every Modu-Loc crew can recall a time when they showed up for an install, only to discover that the fence needed to be set up indoors and had to be carried down a staircase and through a series of hallways and doors. There are fundamental questions we ask at the time of quoting, but there are some things we can’t predict.

When it comes to describing your site, the more information you can provide, the better. This allows us to accurately price your order and properly plan the install. If we know that the fence is being installed indoors, we can better anticipate possible issues. For instance, will the fence you requested fit through all the doorways? Is the ceiling high enough to accommodate 8’ tall fence? We need at least 12 inches of clearance to install fence, as each panel is lifted onto the bases.

So what kind of information should you provide? To avoid any surprises, here are the kinds of details we need to know about your site:

  • Whether the site is indoors or outdoors
  • What the terrain is like (i.e. flat, uneven, hilly)
  • How close we can park to the install site (i.e. how far will the fence need to be carried?)
  • Any special certification or training that is required to be on site
  • Whether we need security clearance to gain access to the site
  • Whether you plan to hang anything from the fence

Believe it or not, one of the most common mistakes we encounter is customers mixing up units of measure! At Modu-Loc, we live life in linear feet. If you’ve conducted your measurements in metres, be sure to specify that.

#3. Not allowing enough time for install

This mistake actually ties in closely with not providing all of the information. For instance, we’ve been called to a site to begin installing fence at 7:00 am, when in fact the customer needed the site closed off by 7:00 am. It may sound obvious, but with so many moving parts to worry about, customers sometimes forget to consider installation time. If you need to close off access to an area by a certain time, ask to have our install crew arrive earlier than that.

How much earlier depends on the amount of fence and the complexity of the install. Sometimes, not scheduling enough time for installation simply comes down to the customer not knowing how long it should take! A good rule of thumb is to allow about one hour to install every 300 feet of fence. If you are adding safety or security accessories, allow extra time for install. Alternatively, if you have a specific schedule you need to stick to, be sure to provide us with those details and we’ll help come up with a plan.

#4. Not being prepared for install

Even if you’ve allotted enough time for installation, there are other mistakes you could be making when it comes to the install. Possibly the most common is not having someone available to meet our crew on site. Of course, our installers are experts and they generally know what to do. However, if you have specific requirements or a complex layout in mind, the best approach is to provide some direction on site. (Don’t forget to also provide that information ahead of time – see point #2!) If it can’t be you, assign a team member to be the point person and make sure they know where the fence needs to go.

If access to the site is controlled, let the gatekeepers know what time they should be expecting a fence crew. Ensure that our truck has a clear path to get as close to the install area as possible. A paved road is always best. Though some customers will give us permission to drive onto lawns, we prefer to avoid it. If the ground is too soft, our trucks could cause unwanted (and expensive!) damage.

Finally, a major mistake we see with installs is customers not having a locate done. If we have to penetrate the ground at all during install, then a locate must be performed before installation takes place. As the name suggests, locates are required to identify and mark the location of any underground utilities. These could include electrical, gas, cable or water lines. If you plan to have us secure the fence with ground spikes or t-bars, you’ll have to arrange a locate in advance. You can usually arrange locates through your municipality or utility company.

#5. Not planning to reinforce the fence line

Speaking of securing the fence, one of the biggest (and potentially most dangerous) mistakes we see during the ordering process is underestimating the need for additional stability. In an ideal world, all sites would be perfectly level and we would never have to compensate for things like wind. But in reality, failing to plan for things like uneven terrain, weather, and banners leaves you open to safety risks and in danger of going over budget.

You should always plan to budget a little extra for additional fence or stability products. Our current best practice is to add v-bracing at every 50’ in a straight fence line. This means that for every 5 panels of fence installed in a straight line, you should plan for an extra 2 panels. We use v-bracing to stabilize the fence and reduce the likelihood of it tipping over. It’s especially crucial when dealing with high winds or changes in elevation.

We mentioned earlier that you should disclose whether you plan to hang anything from the fence. That’s because adding banners, signs, or screening to temporary fence panels can negatively impact the stability of the fence line. Not only do those things add weight, but they also catch the wind, increasing the risk of fence blowing over.

Of course, many of our customers rent or purchase scrim from Modu-Loc. If we’re involved in that discussion, then we can make recommendations for reinforcing the fence. However, even if you are getting your scrim or banners from another supplier, it’s best to let us know. Chances are, we’ll eventually find out – when you call us back to come and fix the unsecured fence that has fallen over!

In general, try and be realistic about your requirements for additional stability or security accessories. While rental fence might be one of the least exciting things you have to invest in, it’s there to prevent unauthorized access to your site and keep people safe. Cutting corners to save money on fence may just cause a bigger headache down the road – so budgeting for a properly installed fence is key to avoiding any unwanted surprises.

The Lesson

Have you ever been guilty of making one of these mistakes when ordering fence? Don’t fear – we’re here to help. Most of these common mistakes can be avoided with good communication, but even the most organized order can hit a snag or two. When that happens, you can count on Modu-Loc to be your partner on site and help overcome unexpected hurdles. That being said, the lesson here is that some issues are avoidable if enough information is provided during the ordering process.

If you’re not sure where to start, contact us and we’ll be happy to walk you through the process.

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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