Why Do Fence Companies Charge Standing Time, and How Can You Avoid It?

Why Do Fence Companies Charge Standing Time, and How Can You Avoid It?

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Many people are surprised to discover that even if they’ve received a fence quote, there may still be additional charges for things that only happen or become known after the work is started.

Sometimes, these things are unavoidable, like discovering hidden obstacles underground that no one could have anticipated, but other times, they could be avoided. Standing time often falls into this category of extra costs on fence projects. Here’s what you need to know.

Do All Fence Companies Charge Standing Time?

No. Very often, it’s fence companies working on commercial or industrial projects that will charge their customers standing time. However, delays do cost all fence contractors money because they price their labor by the hour or day. So while your contractor might not call it standing time, they might still ask for additional payment for delays that are outside of their control.

What Does It Mean When Delays Are Outside of Their Control?

Most good fence contractors will only charge contractors for standing time when the delays are outside of their direct control.

There are different types of delays on any construction project, and different people are responsible. Let’s look at some examples.

In our first example, let’s imagine your fence company has ordered materials, but they haven’t arrived. Or they arranged for them to be delivered on the wrong day. Since the customer has no involvement in this, it would be considered to be within the fence company’s control, and the client should not be charged any standing time in this case.

In the second example, however, the client has agreed to have the fence line cleared and leveled before the fence installers arrive on site; however, they do not do this in time. Since the delay in this case is fully within the client’s control and not in the fence company’s control, they would probably want to charge standing time for this kind of delay.

The general rule of thumb is that if the delay is due to the action or inaction of the customer or anyone under their direct control, the fence company might charge standing time to wait while the problem is corrected.

How Can You Avoid Standing Time Charges?

Standing time charges are simply the cost of having fence crews on site but unable to do the work they are supposed to do. Since all fence work is estimated based on the amount of time the fence installation should take, when fence crews have to wait around and aren’t able to work, that cuts into the profits a fence company would make on that job.

So, the best way to avoid these kinds of extra charges is to avoid having crews unable to work. There are several ways you can do this:

  • Ensure that any preparation or permitting that needs to be done is completed before the fence company arrives on site.
  • If you know these things will not be done in time, ask the fence company to postpone the project by as long as it will take to complete them.
  • If you discover a problem that will cause a delay after the fence company is already on site, ask them if it is possible to leave the site (or demobilize) until it can be rectified. Fence companies will usually charge for this too, but if the delay takes longer, that will probably still be cheaper than having them wait on-site.

It’s a good idea to ask fence companies who quote on larger projects to give you prices for standing time as well as for mobilization and demobilization, so you know ahead of time what these different scenarios might cost.

Always read each fence company’s terms of quotation too. Most will state in detail what they need to have in place or ready before they start, so you need to be sure that those things are done before they arrive to start work. This might include things like locating boundary pegs, arranging underground locates or having your grade within six inches of finished.

Also, remember that the hourly, daily, and weekly rates fence companies charge are not just for direct labor. The costs of tools and vehicles, accommodation, fuel, and many other things are also built into those rates – so you can expect them to be a lot more than simply the cost of labor!

Finally, if there’s any way you can keep fence crews busy on another area of your site while you fix a problem in another place, you might be able to avoid the issue of standing time costs – so always try to think outside of the box if you can!

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