Get Quotes from Top Fencing Contractors in San Francisco, CA

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Fence Company in San Francisco

Having your home fenced adds a layer of protection from burglaries. Every year since 2017, the San Francisco Police Department recorded over 5,000 incidents of burglary in the city. Aside from also providing your family with more privacy from the outside world, fencing can help keep harmful animals away and increase your property's appeal.

If you want to get the best deal a fencing contractor can offer in the city, you should make it a point to ensure that anyone you consider for your project is licensed, insured, and knowledgeable about the city's building laws pertaining to fence operations. The following inquiries should always be successfully answered by any fence company you choose:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Fence Contractor in San Francisco?

To do work for more than $500 as a fencing contractor in San Francisco, professionals need to obtain a C-13-Fencing Contractor specialty license from the California Contractor State Licensing Board (CSLB). This license covers the construction, erection, alteration, or repairs of all fences, corrals, runs, railings, cribs, and others, excluding masonry walls. An applicant must satisfy certain experience requirements before submitting an application for a license as a fencing contractor. They must:

  • Have performed or supervised fencing (C-13) work for four years.
  • Have an ITIN or Social Security number
  • Be 18 years of age or older.

Candidates must also possess four years of experience at the journeyman level within the ten years immediately before the filling of the application, have a suitably qualified person to attest to their experience and be able to demonstrate their expertise if the state requests it.

To get started on obtaining a C13 Fencing Contractor license, applicants must complete the Application for Original Contractor's License. The journeyman-level work experience must be reported and verified using the Certification of Work Experience form. Applicants should ensure that the application is dated and that the signatures of all individuals listed are present. They should also check their application for errors, after which they can send the application, $450 in application processing fees, and any necessary paperwork to the following address:

CSLB Headquarters
Contractors State License Board
P.O. Box 26000
Sacramento, CA 95826-0026

A contractor licensing exam, divided into four categories, must be taken and passed in order to work as a fencer. Applicants must pass a trade exam in addition to the California law exam, which is required for all license types, with the exception of the D-Limited Specialty license class. The exam includes:

  • 115 Questions on Contractor LAW
  • 115 Questions on Fencing
  • 3 hours to complete each portion
  • Multiple Choice computer-based exam
  • Closed Book
  • Taken on-site at a CSLB Test Location

Before being licensed, applicants must also post a $15,000 bond. They are permitted to submit a $15,000 cashier's check to CSLB in place of a contractor's bond.

Processing times are constantly changing because there are numerous variables that influence how long it takes to process an application. Applicants can, however, find out what date the Board is currently working on in relation to their particular type of application by using the Application Fee Number and Personal Identification Number to perform an Application Status Check.

Unlicensed contracting carries severe fines, and the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) penalizes violators seriously. Operating without a license for the first time is typically a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of $500, or both, as well as a possible administrative fee of between $200 and $15,000. The fines increase with each successive offense, with a second conviction carrying a fine of up to $4,500 or 20 percent of the contract price for the job executed. Additionally, the unlicensed contractor will likely spend at least 90 days in jail.

Use the CSLB license check tool to ensure your fencing contractor is duly licensed to operate in San Francisco. For more information on licensing requirements for fencers in San Francisco, contact the California Contractor State Licensing Board at (800) 321-2752 or visit their investigative office at:

San Francisco Investigative Center
301 Junipero Serra Boulevard.
Suite 206
San Francisco, CA 94127

How Much Do You Charge Compared to Other Fencing Companies in the City?

For a variety of reasons, San Francisco homeowners hire fencing experts to put new fences on their properties. These include:

  • To boost their sense of privacy and keep inquisitive eyes at bay
  • To cover and protect their pool areas from trespassers
  • For artistic and decorative purposes
  • To deter criminals like burglars from breaking in
  • To improve the aesthetics of their gardens
  • To increase protection and safety so that rodents and vermin can't get inside
  • To ensure that pets and little children can't go out.

In San Francisco, the cost to put a new fence on your property can range from $2,752 to $3,049, but the actual cost will depend on a number of variables, with the type of fencing you select being the most crucial. Owners of homes and other properties in San Francisco most typically use the following materials for fencing:

  • Chain link: Chain link fences are noted for their security despite not being the most fashionable type of fencing. They can cost between $15.04 and $20.50 per linear foot. These fences are susceptible to rust even though they can be utilized in backyards.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum fences are strong, resistant to rust and corrosion, and require little upkeep. These fences provide houses and other structures with a more contemporary appearance, but they can be expensive to build and are not the ideal option for security and privacy. Their price range might be $30.07 to $38.27 per linear foot.
  • Wood: Popular because they offer privacy, wood fences range in price from $19.14 to $23.24 per linear foot. Although this style of fencing is adaptable and elegant, it only lasts for five to ten years before needing maintenance, i.e., it only lasts for five to ten years before needing maintenance.
  • Wrought Iron: The most aesthetically beautiful type of fences are those made of wrought iron, which is also renowned for being strong and long-lasting. However, the price to build these barriers could range from $30.07 to $38.27 per linear foot. Additionally, wrought iron fences require a lot of upkeep and are susceptible to dents and rust.
  • Composite: Composite fences resemble wood fences but are available in a wider variety of colors and require little to no upkeep. The cost of this fencing material, which runs from $25 to $45 per linear foot, is a serious drawback.
  • Vinyl: A linear foot of vinyl fencing costs between $23.24 and $31.44. These fences are environmentally friendly, long-lasting, require minimal maintenance, and are simple to install. Given that they can be damaged by extreme weather, they might not be the best option.

Other aspects that could impact San Francisco fence installation costs include labor costs, the length of the planned fence, as well as the fencing supplies and tools.

When looking for a skilled fence builder for your project, it is usually a good idea to request and compare quotes from multiple fencing firms in the city. This helps you avoid being duped by an unethical fence contractor or business by giving you a realistic sense of the market price for your chosen project. Watch out for estimates that differ from the others while evaluating these costs, and proceed with care if the contractor cannot convincingly explain why there is a price discrepancy. San Francisco fence companies use the following fence design styles:

  • Picket Fence: As aesthetically beautiful house boundaries, picket fences are a relatively common type of fence. Their vertical planks, which are regularly spaced and frequently have pointed tops, can be recognized. Typically, picket fences are small-scale fences. However, more substantial variations of this design can be constructed to offer some protection, such as the exclusion of rats and other medium-sized pests.
  • Garden Fence: Low fences, often known as "garden fences," are regularly constructed around gardens in order to keep out small animals and for aesthetic reasons. They can be made in a variety of shapes, from wire or wood.
  • Gothic Fence: This type of fence has multiple holes cut through it. This type of metal fencing typically consists of wrought iron and aluminum. This beautifully built fence is generally found on mansions.
  • Lattice Top Fence: In this style, a plain fence has a lattice top added for aesthetic appeal. It can be constructed from wood, vinyl, or metal.
  • Scallop Fence: In contrast to the normal picket fence's straight horizontal top, a scallop fence's top rises somewhat curvedly from one end to the other.
  • Shadow-Box Fence: For this design, wood fencing material must be alternatively fastened to each side of the fence structure.
  • Electric Fence: Electric fences use metal and wire mesh to build a barrier that discourages access by electrifying people and animals.
  • Split Rail Fence: This design uses a horizontal installation method rather than the more common vertical one. Split rail fences are common in farms and ranches and often use less fencing material than other fence styles.
  • Flat-top Fence This straightforward fence style features a flat top, as the name would imply. It may be made of wood or metal.
  • Dog-Ear Fence: For this style of fence, the top ends of the hardwood fence planks on either edge are hacked off to create a hexagonal end. The most popular fence materials for this group are wood and composite. They are fairly priced, easy to construct, and lovely.
  • Custom Fence: As the name suggests, a custom fence is made especially for a specific plot of land and can be customized to your preferences. You may build these fences out of any material of your choice, even though wood and metal are the most popular choices. It should be remembered, nevertheless, that installing different fence types and designs often costs less than creating custom fences.

Fence installers in San Francisco make an average of $48,370 annually. The following list compares the average hourly pay of these contractors with that of fence contractors in other locations across California and the rest of the United States:

San Francisco Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
San Diego Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Fresno Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Los Angeles Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Long Beach Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
New York City Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Chicago Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Dallas Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Phoenix Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Philadelphia Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Fencing Services Do You Offer?

It is important to find out what sorts of fencing services your potential fence contractors are prepared to provide and make sure that these services match your unique demands while searching for licensed fence businesses in San Francisco. Qualified fence installers in the city regularly provide a wide range of services, including the following:

  • Building and making distinctive fences
  • Maintaining and fixing a fence
  • Installing fence gates
  • Constructing new fences
  • Updating or replacing a worn-out fence

Depending on the specifics of your contract, the fencing contractor may also offer other services, such as professional advice on fence design and construction, utility line and property boundary marking, and acquiring the necessary permissions for the project. Therefore, before signing any contract with a fence contractor, it is typically in your best interest to confirm the specific services they offer and agree on their scope. Finally, by doing this, you avoid disagreements and subpar service.

When Am I Required to Have a Fence in San Francisco?

Before beginning, it's usually a good idea to check to see if there are any state or municipal rules that could influence or constrain the nature and scope of your San Francisco fence project. The following are the laws that govern fencing in San Francisco:

Some requirements of these laws are as follows:

  • Fences surrounding swimming pools deeper than 18 inches must meet the following requirements:
    • Any entry gates through the fence must close automatically, open away from the pool, and be no lower than 60 inches above the ground. They must also include a self-latching system.
    • Fences must be at least 60 inches tall.
    • A maximum vertical clearance of two inches must exist between the ground and the bottom of the enclosure.
    • If there are any gaps or cavities, they must not be large enough to let a sphere with a diameter of at least four inches pass through.
    • It must not have any protrusions, cavities, or other physical features on its exterior that could act as handholds or footholds and allow a kid under the age of five to climb over it.
  • Homeowners who live next to each other must split the fair costs of building, maintaining, or replacing the fence that separates them.
  • Shared fences must be repaired, maintained, or replaced by homeowners who must give at least 30 days written notice to all affected parties. This notification should outline the issue, the suggested fix, the cost of doing so, the planned cost-sharing strategy, and an approximate time frame for when the project will be completed.
  • The maximum height of a fence that is less than 10 feet from a public walkway is 10 feet unless it is made of an open material like chain link fabric.
  • Barbed wire fences cannot be built entirely or partially unless they have the express written consent of the building official and the fire department in the instances listed below:
    • On top of a fence guarding a hazardous or dangerous place that is higher than 7 feet.
    • Within a private area that is bounded by a fence that is seven feet tall, the outer, non-barbed fence serves as the only barrier to entry.
    • When necessary for specialized protection, and in locations on or inside of buildings to isolate hazardous circumstances.

One benefit of hiring a professional fence business for your fencing jobs is that they are typically knowledgeable with relevant fencing legislation and can help verify that your installed fence complies with them. To learn more about pertinent fence rules and ordinances in San Francisco, contact the city's Department of Building Services and San Francisco Planning Department at (628) 652-3200 and (628) 652-7300, respectively.

Will You Get the Necessary Permits as Required as per the City Code?

In San Francisco, fence permits are issued by the San Francisco Planning Department. A fence that is three feet or shorter at the front of a property or six feet or shorter at the side or rear property boundaries does not need a building permit. Fences ten feet or less in height are exempt from the requirement for neighborhood notification. Fences that are ten feet or less in height and adhere to the limitations listed below are typically approved over the counter.

When requesting a fence permit, be sure to include blueprints that illustrate the fence's exact placement on the property, the location of any necessary setbacks, and its height. If you are building a fence taller than 3 feet in the front setback and want to use the fence's openness to add more allowed height, you must demonstrate by example or diagram how the proposed fence satisfies the openness requirement.

If you have any questions, you can reach the planning desk at (628) 652-7300 or via email, where planners can help. You can also visit the counter in person at:

Planning Counter at the Permit Center
49 South Van Ness Avenue,
2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

Will You Contact the City's Utility Companies to Verify the Path of Underground Lines?

Hiring a reputable fence contractor or company to install your fence has many advantages; not the least: they will precisely identify and mark any utility lines on your property, particularly any underground, unmarked gas, water, and power lines. This is crucial since severing any of these lines while working on your project could result in fatal mishaps and halt the delivery of essential services to your home. Professionals commonly install fences by following the steps listed below:

  • Estimating the Fence's Length: Here, an estimator determines the length of the proposed fence and verifies details like its design, construction material, location in relation to the property line, and any easements you may have granted.
  • Marking the Utility Lines: Utility lines are identified by the fence company so that they can avoid them when they dig. The fence company does this by requesting the city's utility marking agency to come to your property and mark your yard.
  • Obtaining a Fence Permit: Your fence's installer obtains the essential permits for the construction project.
  • Digging the Post Hole and Setting the Post Brackets: The diggers may use a hand-held post-hole digger for small jobs. For the majority of the remaining tasks, they employ a motorized post-hole digger with an auger design. Galvanized post brackets are inserted into the holes and straightened until perfectly vertical.
  • Fence Construction: The fence is constructed as planned.
  • Finishing and Cleanup: The group gathers all construction-related rubbish at this stage. The barrier can now be evaluated to see if you like it.

Many fence businesses provide the service of locating utility lines, but you should always ensure that your chosen fence contractor does this before signing any contracts with them. When creating project plans for acquiring the necessary fence permits, many professional fence builders in San Francisco could also ask for a copy of your survey records to establish precisely where these utility lines are placed on your project.

You can also locate these utility lines on your own by calling Underground Service Alert of Northern California and Nevada at 811 or (800) 642-2444. Doing this before digging on your property is always a good idea to prevent damaging any of these lines. If you have inquiries about the utility lines in San Francisco, you can get in touch with the nearby service providers listed below:

  • Pacific Gas and Electric - (800) 743-5000
  • San Francisco Public Utilities Commission - (415) 551-3000

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Fence Contractors in San Francisco?

It's crucial to work with insured contractors. There were 460 fatal workplace incidents in California in 2020. If one of these incidents involves an uninsured contractor who works for you, you may be held accountable. Your costs will also include any property damage an uninsured contractor brings.

San Francisco requires fence installers to maintain specific levels of insurance and bonding. For starters, they are required to carry workers' compensation insurance for their staff unless they qualify for an exemption. They are required to keep a cashier's check or $15,000 contractor bond on file. Before doing any work, they must disclose to their home clients whether or not they have general liability insurance.

Before choosing a fence contractor, always demand confirmation of insurance and bonding. Then, confirm this information with the appropriate authority. Verify that the contractor has general liability insurance, which will cover any accidents or damage to third-party property that may be brought on directly by your project.

You can call the California Contractors State License Board at (800) 321-2752 for more information on the necessary insurance and bond requirements for fence contractors in San Francisco.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Fence Contractor in San Francisco

Consumers in the area can file complaints about fence contractors in San Francisco with the California Contractor State License Board (CSLB). You can also file complaints about your fencer with the California Office of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection division, which also looks into consumer rights. The San Francisco District Attorney is another person to whom you can complain.

According to SFGate, a digital outlet of the San Francisco Chronicle, the California Contractor State Licensing Board in 2016 nabbed a man who had been stealing $110,000 from a family over the course of a year in San Francisco while posing as a licensed contractor and charged the individual with felony grand larceny. Untrustworthy and dangerous contractors always come up with new scams to take advantage of trusting customers who require fence construction and other home renovation services. These tactics consist of:

  • The contractor claims that no permits are necessary.
  • The contractor inflates the price of specific services
  • The contractor provides a flawed and insufficient contract
  • The contractor provides multiple contracts in an effort to mislead the homeowner.
  • The contractor requests a significant advance payment
  • The contractor sets up high-rate financing for your project with third parties.
  • The credentials provided by the contractor are incomplete or outright bogus.

Be on the lookout for telltale indicators when looking for fencing businesses in San Francisco to prevent hiring a dishonest fence contractor. These indicators include:

  • Failure to Provide Licensing Proof: Verify the fence contractor's licensing status using the California Contractor State Licence Board's license check webpage. If you cannot find the appropriate contractor, notify the board immediately.
  • Avoidance of Written Contracts: A written contract must be in place before any task starts. Additionally, carefully study the contract before committing to it.
  • Request for Huge Upfront Cash Payments: Steer clear of cash payments and never advance more than $1,000, or 10% of the entire project cost.
  • Failure to Provide a Physical Office: Steer clear of contractors who are unable to supply a verified actual address. Additionally, ask the contractor for local references, then check those endorsements.
  • Invitingly Low Bids: Before accepting a price that is outrageously low, compare at least three proposals from contractors so as not to fall for scammers who employ this method.
  • Door-to-Door Salesperson: Avoid hiring any contractor who unexpectedly knocks on your door and offers any type of fencing services.

If you think you are working with a dishonest contractor or have fallen victim to fence contractor fraud in San Francisco, fill out an online construction complaint form and send it to the California Contractor State Licensing Board.

Grievances against fence companies may also be sent online to the California Attorney General's Office.

The San Francisco District Attorney can also be contacted by filling out an online complaint form.