Fencing provides a number of benefits. It can offer an aesthetic improvement to someone's property. Increasing security and privacy is another one. Perhaps a homeowner or landowner wants to clearly indicate where the property line is. Most importantly in some eyes is its ability to improve the resale value of a home or other type of property.
As a result of these factors, choosing a fence company is an essential step in the process. You want to be who is chosen. How can you create and grow a successful fence company that allows you to be a substantial force in this market, which is worth $30 billion? Following these best practices will help increase the chances of that occurring and your business thriving for time to come.
Target the Market That Works Best for You
You want to determine who your target market is. Research your area, including relevant demographics such as population and average income for both your area as a whole and communities and neighborhoods within it. Also get an idea of how far from your business' base you want your employees to be traveling to.
As for the types of people who you want to target, you should focus on home and business owners and those who develop real estate. Also, any farmers or ranchers in your area who want to protect their land with your fences may prove to be amongst your most valuable customers. Consider any governmental agencies that could take value in your offerings as well.
Create a Brand Identity and Build Awareness
One of the most important steps that you will be taking is creating your brand identity.
Decide on what name you should utilize for your fencing-related company. You may also want to search for available domain names as it is also helpful if you create a website that utilizes a domain name that matches your business name and that is memorable. Brainstorm numerous possibilities, and then narrow them down. Consider incorporating your location into it. For example, perhaps your community's name followed by "fencing" and ".com" is available and works for you.
As you are brainstorming your new organization's name, also research business and trademark records as well as handle availabilities on social media outlets to ensure that it or a similar one is not already being used. You need to have a unique name that helps you stand out and that is not confusing for customers.
Create a logo. If you do not have design skills, hire someone to do it for you. Then make sure to use it throughout elements of your business, such as on your website, on your paperwork and on your vans.
Whatever branding you decide to create, keep it consistent. You want to have a cohesive look, one that sticks in the minds of your customers and prospective customers. Doing so will also help create a sense of trust.
Once you have purchased that domain name, ensure that your website is a quality one. Nowadays, you can do this fairly easily yourself with the help of website builders, or, if you prefer, you can hire someone to do it for you.
One feature of a quality company website that you should consider is selling points for your business, such as what you offer, how high-quality those services are, where you operate and how to reach out to you for more information or to receive a free estimate. Also consider creating and posting videos that show your work and what you can do and regularly updating a blog.
Keep in mind that you should consider having a website as a must. Also, no, a Facebook or LinkedIn profile should not serve as a replacement for a website.
Marketing and Advertising
One of the best, most financially sensible ways that you can get your business' name out there is by utilizing social media outlets, such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Of course, you can also spend money to help advance those purposes by taking advantage of social media-related advertising.
In fact, advertising in general is essential to any fencing company. Having the best fence constructors and repairers in your area is great, but that is not as valuable of a feature as it could be if not that many people know about it.
You can consider non-online related forms such as paper advertising although the value of that is decreasing in the increasingly digital age that we live in. Online options include creating an email list for those who visit your website and sign up for it and taking advantage of SEO strategies with the content that you post there.
Of course, the value of the quality of your work remains important and influences one of the oldest forms of advertising that will never decrease in importance: word-of-mouth. Simply focusing on doing the best job possible every time will increase the chances of your customers promoting your services to who they are close to as well as being more likely to reach out to you for more work for themselves in the future.
Plan To Keep Operations Organized
When you start getting customers and generating steady business, you have to keep everything organized. You'll have to keep track of customer records, send estimates and invoices, collect payments, and schedule your jobs so you don't over book yourself and your team. Field service management software is the perfect tool to run all these business functions to keep them connected and stored on all your devices both at the office and in the field. These days technology can save you tons of time, so invest early in choosing the right fencing business software so time is not wasted on back office tasks, paper work, or chasing customer payments.
Treat Your Employees Well
Not only do you want to treat your customers well, but you should also treat your employees in a professional, appreciable manner. If you combine good pay for the industry for your area, such as $38,000 a year or more, with a fun environment that is also focused on professionalism, you will help ensure that you keep your solid employees around for a long time, which will also improve the trust factor that you have with your customers.
With that said, do make sure to be careful with both hiring the right people and releasing employees who need to be let go. Of course, do not let people go on a whim, and give employees opportunities to improve what they need to improve on if mistakes being committed are not especially egregious, but if a separation needs to happen, ensure that it does as soon as it is clear that it must.
In the end, your employees are more the face of your business than any other entity. They are who your customers see working on their fences, and they are who they are judging as far as if they will be content with the work that has been done.
Focus on the Nuts and Bolts of Running Your Fence Company
One of the most important things that you can do to ensure that your fence company is a successful one is focusing on the nuts and bolts of running it, focusing on the nitty-gritty details.
What are the expenses that your fence company will incur? Take estimates of those beforehand and also keep running tallies of them once your business is up and operating. Examples include purchasing and maintaining vehicles, most likely involving a full-size truck with an extended bed at a minimum, paying for fences and related materials, the expenses of securing a place to store those vehicles and materials, the cost of creating and maintaining your website and payroll expenses.
Also research ways that you can cut down on those expenses. For example, in many locations, you can legally store your business-related inventory supplies in your home, which may work best for you, depending on the amount and size of those supplies and how much room you have on your property.
What to Charge Customers
Deciding what to invoice your customers for and prices to charge are one of the most important things that you can do as a fence company owner or operator. You obviously want to ensure that those figures are high enough that they pay for all of the expenses that are incurring and that will incur, but you also need them to not be so high that they push away customers and drive them towards your competition.
One of the best ways to help you decide on these rates is to research what similar types of fencing-related organizations in your local community are charging for these types of services and adjust your rates accordingly.
For example, the cost of installing a fence from a customer's standpoint generally ranges from $1,700-$4,400. Meanwhile, the cost of a building permit can range from $500-$2,500. However, note that those figures do not take into account your specific local area or exactly how large or small the project is.
Also consider the type of material that is being used in the fence. For example, simply using wire will generally cost a client from between $1-$4 per linear foot to get it professionally installed. Meanwhile, if the material being utilized is changed to wood, that will increase that rate significantly, to around $14-$31. Or is an aluminum fence preferred? In that case, the going rate would be around $27-$55 per linear foot.
Consider Starting an LLC
You may want to start an LLC (limited liability company) for your fence company. The main benefit of doing so is related to what is in that acronym's words: limited liability. Most importantly, doing this can help protect your personal assets in situations in which you are being sued or pursued by creditors.
Open Business Bank Accounts
Another way to protect your own assets is to open a business bank account in your fencing company's name and then ensuring that your personal funds and your business funds are kept separate. If you are sued, having done this will help ensure that your personal assets are protected throughout that process.
Doing this also helps simplify the process when it comes time to file your taxes and otherwise engage in accounting practices since you can much more easily do so from a personal perspective and separately from a business one.
Also secure business-focused credit cards for similar reasons.
Get an EIN
If you are new to operating any type of business, not just one related to the fencing industry, you may not know that you need to get an EIN in most situations. This is a simple step, however. The only possible exception to needing this may occur if you are the sole employee and doing all of the work yourself. In that case, you should be able to use your own social security number in lieu of an EIN.
Register Your Business
If it is required in your state or local area, register your business. This is often another simple process, simply involving you registering your business name with one or more entities. However, if you are a sole proprietor, you likely do not need to do this. With that said, even if the latter case defines you, you may want to register anyway as that could provide you with a number of benefits that you otherwise would not be able to enjoy, such as related personal liability protection.
Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses
Depending on the laws in your area, you may need to obtain a number of permits and licenses in order to sell and install fences there. These will generally be state-focused, but local ones to your county or city may be necessary as well.
Secure Business Insurance
In nearly all cases, you are going to need to take advantage of business insurance to protect yourself against any unexpected expenses or figurative obstacles that have been placed in your path. At a minimum, you should secure general liability insurance while also considering workers' compensation insurance, the latter of which may even be required in your state unless you are your organization's lone employee.
Utilize Fence Company Mentors
It always helps to learn from others in any venture, and that applies to the fencing industry as well. Seek out mentors who can help you educate yourself about this industry as a whole as well as how the general market in your local area works and how you can succeed in it.
It is generally best to speak one-on-one with people who can help you increase your relevant knowledge, but securing other pathways towards this type of knowledge can be helpful as well. One example of the latter that can prove essential is listening to relevant podcasts.
If you are new to the fencing industry or new to the area, that would make this an even more important step as you will need to hit the ground running as best as you can, and any knowledge that you can learn about those aspects can only help smooth that process.