How to start a fencing business in Australia | Finder

How to start a fencing business

A comprehensive guide on how to plan and launch your own fencing business.

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If you have a background in building and construction, starting a fencing business is a great way to monetise your skills. Read this guide to find out the key steps involved in starting your own fencing business.

What is a fencing business?

Many people want fences in their homes to mark the boundaries on their property, and improve safety and privacy. A fencing business specialises in installing permanent and temporary fences and gates. Popular styles of fences include chain wire, colorbond, PVC and glass fences. Many fencing businesses also assist customers with fencing repairs and removal.

How to start a fencing business

Here are the key steps involved in starting your own fencing business.

  1. Research your target market. Do market research to find out the popular types of fencing in your area and the types of work you want to specialise in. For example, if you live in an area where many homes have backyard pools, you may want to specialise in pool fencing. Or if you live in a rural or regional area, you can specialise in installing fences on farms.
  2. Develop a business plan. The next step is writing a business plan that outlines the up-front costs involved in purchasing fencing installation equipment and supplies, a price list for your services and an estimate of income and expenses. Applying for a small business loan or a car loan can help you meet up-front costs if necessary.
  3. Create a brand name. Choose a business name and a logo that is easy to remember and clearly shows your niche. Unless you're using your own name, it's compulsory to register your business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
  4. Purchase the right equipment. As you will be working on customers' property, you will need a van or a truck to transport materials and tools. You will also need to purchase the right materials and tools, depending on the type of fencing you specialise in.
  5. Pick the right business structure. It's important to choose a business structure that meets your goals. Many trade businesses operate as a Sole Proprietor, or Sole Trader, because of the simple administration and low costs involved. However, if you want extra protection over your personal assets or split profits with others, there are advantages in using a Company structure. The different structures are explained in more detail below.
  6. Consider legal requirements. As a fencing business owner you will be dealing with customers and suppliers on a regular basis. Make sure you have the right documents, such as a Service Agreement, a Wholesale Agreement and a Cancellation Policy, to help you deal with any potential issues.
  7. Market your business. Most people don't need fencing work on a regular basis, so it's important to reach as many customers as possible. If you're just starting out, actively seeking out jobs on online marketplaces like Airtasker and hipages is a good idea. You can also offer a no-obligation free quote service, where you can speak directly with potential customers to discuss their needs.

workers installing a fence

Skills needed to start a fencing business

Here are some of the important skills needed to start your own fencing business:

  • Construction and building skills. As you will be installing and repairing fences, it's important that you have experience in installing popular types of fences.
  • Knowledge of state and local council building regulations. It's important that you are familiar with the fencing requirements in the area that you work in, so you can meet clients' expectations without breaching the laws.
  • Negotiation skills. You'll need to get the best prices from suppliers so you can make a good profit on your jobs.
  • Customer service skills. You will be regularly meeting with customers to discuss their needs, so it's important to know the right questions to ask and deliver work that meets their expectations.

Courses and qualifications

Building and construction are highly regulated industries in Australia. You will need to have completed courses and obtained qualifications before you can do residential building work. Licensing requirements vary in each state and territory, so it's best to check with the relevant regulator.

For example, in New South Wales, you need a licence to do any residential building work, including fencing, if it costs more than $5,000 in labour and materials. To apply for a contractor licence, you typically need a CPC10111 Certificate 1 in Construction or a CPC10108 Certificate 1 in Construction, plus additional units as required by NSW Fair Trading. You must also provide details of your previous employment and experience, as well as details of past compliance issues.

Compare building and construction courses online:

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Name Product How many courses are available? Are free courses offered? Are accredited courses available?
Training.com.au - Building and construction
Training.com.au - Building and construction
1,100+
No
Yes
TafeCourses.com.au - Building and construction
TafeCourses.com.au - Building and construction
840+
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Udemy - Building and construction
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100,000+
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edX - Building and Construction
edX - Building and Construction
3,000+
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Equipment and software needed to start a fencing business

To efficiently operate a fencing business, you will need:

  • A truck or a van to carry fencing materials
  • A concrete mixer
  • Small fencing tools such as hammers and shovels
  • A wheelbarrow

For your marketing, you can build a website with a landing page that describes the work you do and showcases some of your previous jobs. You should include an overview of your experience and qualifications, as well as your contact details. For bookkeeping and invoicing, you might also need accounting software.

How to structure a fencing business

Once you have your contractor licence and have access to the right tools, you need to choose a legal structure for your business.

In Australia, common business structures are:

  • Sole Trader. Many trades businesses in Australia are run as a Sole Trader. This is the simplest option if you're the only owner in the business, and you want to minimise costs and paperwork.
  • Partnership. If you're starting the business with a business partner, you can set it up as a Partnership so you're both responsible for the business.
  • Company. A Company usually has more set-up costs and administration involved, but it gives you more flexibility if you want to split the Company's profits or if you want to get external investors involved as shareholders of the Company. It also provides more protection over your personal assets if the business cannot repay its debt.

We explain the pros and cons of each business structure in more detail in our business structures guide.

As you will be dealing with customers and suppliers regularly, it's important to have legal documents ready to protect your business if things go wrong.

Useful documents for a fencing business include:

You can download customisable legal document templates from the sites below. Similarly, if you need legal advice on matters like licensing, business registration and contract negotiations, you can use the platforms to consult a lawyer.

Data updated regularly
Name Product What's offered? Starting price to become a member Annual Fee from Free legal documents available?
Lawpath
Legal documents and templates, Access to lawyers, Legal guides, Legal advice
$79 per month
Essentials: $288, legal advice: $828
You can view samples for free and you can create your first document for free.
Choose an annual plan from just $288 and get unlimited revisions to your legal or business documents. Plus, unlock exclusive partner offers.
LawDepot
Legal documents and templates, Legal guides
$4.99 per month
$59.88
Free one week trial available which gives access to hundreds of documents.
Customise and download legal documents in as little as five minutes. Plus, LawDepot offers peace of mind with two service guarantees.
Legal123
Legal documents and templates, Legal guides
Varies per template
N/A
No
Legal123 offers a range of individual templates or document packages for consultants, app developers, personal trainers and more.
LegalVision
Legal documents and templates, Legal guides, Legal advice
$49 + GST per week
$2,548 + GST
No
Your business can take advantage of unlimited lawyer consultations, fast turnaround times and free legal templates with LegalVision.
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How to find customers

If you're starting out in the fencing business, it's important to use marketing to strategically target potential customers. For example, if you're specialising in pool fencing and gates, reach out to swimming pool builders for subcontracting work.

For online marketing, you can build a website which showcases the fences you have installed previously. You can also actively respond to job requests on online marketplaces, such as Airtasker and hipages.

You can also build your customer base through word-of-mouth marketing, advertising your services on local Facebook groups and dropping off flyers.

As part of the marketing strategy, you can offer a no-obligation, free quote service and use the opportunity to promote your services to potential customers.

How much should I charge my customers?

How much you charge your clients will depend on factors such as the cost of fencing materials, the size of the project and the soil type the fence is built on.

The average fencing installation costs between $2,500 and $3,000 on average according to ServiceSeeking.

According to trade listings website hipages, fencing is typically charged per metre and the price can range from $60 to $1,200 per metre. The price will generally include the labour and the cost of materials. Here's a pricing guide for common fencing materials:

Type of fenceCost
Timber fence$75 to $350 per metre depending on the type of timber used
Colorbond fence$65 to $100 per metre
Wrought iron fence$450 to $600 per metre
Glass fence$200 to $600 per metre

Source: hipages

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Frequently asked questions

Is a fencing business profitable?

A fencing business can be profitable. The amount of profit able to be earned will depend on how much a business owner can secure fencing materials for, how long it takes them to complete a job and how much they charge customers.

Do I need experience in construction to start a fencing business?

Yes. Most states require evidence of past experience or training in construction or building to grant you a contractor's licence. Check with your state authority to find out the qualifications you need to get a licence.

Do I need insurance for my fencing business?

You might need Public Liability Insurance to cover you in case you cause damage to a third person or their property. Other suitable business insurances include insurance for your tools and insurance for your work vehicle.

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