Get Quotes from Top Fencing Contractors in San Jose, CA

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Fence Company in San Jose

Installing a fence on your property provides you with several obvious benefits, like increased privacy, clearly defined property lines, and enhanced safety and security. More than 3,500 burglaries are recorded in San Jose every year. Properly installed fences not only keep trespassers away from your property but also actively discourage thieves and burglars, who generally tend to prefer easy targets.

However, before you hire a fence installation company in San Jose, ensure they are licensed, insured, and familiar with the city's fencing requirements. You can determine if your preferred fence companies fit these criteria by asking them the following questions:

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

Fence contractors in San Jose are required to obtain a C-13 - Fencing Contractor License, or any other appropriate contractor license, from the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) before bidding for or performing projects worth $500 and above. Fence contractors that violate this licensing requirement are considered guilty of committing a misdemeanor offense and can receive statutory and administrative penalties of up to $15,000 in fines, six months in jail, or a combination of both.

The CSLB typically issues contractor licenses to parties that are:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number or an individual taxpayer ID number
  • Have at least four years of verifiable fence-related work experience

Eligible applicants can obtain licenses from the CSLB by taking the following actions:

Inquiries concerning the CSLB's licensing requirements for San Jose fence contractors can be directed to (800) 321-2752. By utilizing the board's Check a License platform, you can also confirm that your intended contractor has aptly complied with these requirements.

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

Fence installation projects in San Jose typically cost an average of $1,750 - $3,500. However, these costs are influenced by several factors, such as:

  • The length and height of the fence
  • The type of fence material used
  • The type of fence hardware used
  • Labor costs

Many homeowners in San Jose typically install fences on their property for one or more of the following reasons:

  • For safety and security reasons
  • For increased privacy
  • For decorative purposes
  • To contain children and pets
  • To keep out pests, rodents, and small animals
  • To define their property lines

As such, special attention should be paid to the type of fence material used for your project to ensure that they are the best fit for the fence's intended purpose. Some common fence materials favored by home and property owners in the San Jose area include:

  • Wood: this fence material is great for privacy and aesthetic purposes. However, it typically requires regular maintenance as it is susceptible to rot, mold, and physical damage. Wood fencing typically costs an average of $10 - $35 per linear foot.
  • Composite: these are similar to wood fences but typically last longer and require less maintenance. However, they are also usually more expensive to install. Composite fencing typically costs an average of $20 - $40 per linear foot.
  • Vinyl: vinyl fences are durable, low maintenance, and resistant to rot, mold, fading, splintering, and rusting. However, they are not as aesthetically pleasing as wood or wrought iron fences and are prone to shrinkage and contracting during colder temperatures. Vinyl fencing typically costs an average of $10 – 30 per linear foot.
  • Wrought Iron: wrought iron is one of the strongest and most durable fence materials. It also has a high aesthetic value and is resistant to pest damage. However, this fence material is high-maintenance, prone to rust, relatively expensive to install, and typically does not offer much privacy. Wrought iron fencing typically costs an average of $30 - $65 per linear foot.
  • Steel: steel fences offer many of the same benefits as wrought iron fences with fewer maintenance requirements and for a relatively cheaper price. However, they are less durable and prone to rust and scratches. Steel fencing typically costs an average of $25 - $50 per linear foot.
  • Aluminum: aluminum fences are low maintenance, long-lasting, rust, and corrosion-resistant, and also have a high aesthetic value. However, they are prone to dents and relatively expensive to install. Aluminum fencing typically costs an average of $20 -$55 per linear foot.
  • Chain Link: chain link fences are low maintenance and relatively affordable fencing options. However, they are not aesthetically pleasing, prone to rust, and offer little privacy. Chain link fencing typically costs an average of $5 - $35 per linear foot.

To ensure that you get fair rates for your fencing project, get and compare bids and cost estimates from at least three different fence companies in the city. This is also an effective way to avoid being scammed by fence contractors that either overcharge for their services or deliberately offer low initial quotes to lure clients in. To this end, look out for noticeable price discrepancies in the cost estimates you are given and consider it a red flag if the contractor that submitted the estimate cannot explain the discrepancy.

Bear in mind that costs should not be your sole deciding factor for hiring a fence contractor, and you should always ensure that they are also licensed, have a good local reputable, and are aptly experienced in installing your preferred fence style or design. Several popular fence styles and designs can be found on homes and properties across San Jose, including:

  • Picket Fences: this is one of the most popular fence designs found in the city, and it generally involves leaving spaces between the vertical slabs of fence material. While wood fence material is commonly used for this design, some homeowners may also use vinyl. Picket fences are usually installed for decorative purposes, but taller variants can also be installed for protective purposes.
  • Scallop Fences: this is a variation of the picket fence design that involves adding slight curvatures where the fence rises from one end to the other instead of the usual straight horizontal top
  • Garden Fences: these are short fences that are mostly installed around gardens, both for decoration and protection from rodents and small animals
  • Flat-Top Fences: this fence design involves leaving the fence with a flat-top
  • Lattice Top Fences: this design involves giving regular fences a decorative flair by adding a lattice top to them
  • Gothic Fences: this design involves adding a series of pointed ends to the fence and is commonly used on fences that are built with metal fencing materials
  • Dog-Ear Fences: this design involves cutting the corners of vertical boards into angles on the side
  • Split Rail Fences: this design involves building and installing the fence in a horizontal style as opposed to the typical vertical style. This fence design generally uses less fence material than other designs, making it preferable for fencing large properties and farms
  • Shadow-Box Fences: this design involves attaching the fence material in an alternating manner on each side of the fence's frame
  • Electric Fences: this design involves creating a barrier from wire mesh and metal fence materials, which deters animals and people from entering the enclosed area through the use of electric shocks. Note that these types of fences are typically not allowed for residential property in the city
  • Custom Fences: these are fences that are designed per the specific requirements of the home or property owner to fit a particular landscape or account for the client's unique tastes and quirks. The installation costs of customs fences are typically higher than that of other fences

Fence contractors in San Jose make an average of $47,260 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 Jose Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
San Diego Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Fresno Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
San Francisco Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Sacramento 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?

Fence companies in San Jose typically offer a variety of services to interested residents of the city, and these include:

  • Fence installations
  • Fence replacements and upgrades
  • Fence repair and maintenance
  • Fence design consultations
  • Custom fence design and building
  • Fence gate and hardware installation and replacement
  • Property boundary and utility line marking

Finding out the types of services that your preferred fence companies offer and the scope of these available services before concluding any agreements with them is a necessary step to ensure that your project is executed satisfactorily. It is equally important to agree on the cost of these services and put all agreements concerning the scope and cost of your fence project in writing.

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

Several laws and regulations affect the nature and scope of fence projects that can be carried out in San Jose, and in some cases, these laws even mandate homeowners to install fences on their property when undertaking other home improvement projects. These laws include

Some key provisions of the local and state-level fence laws include:

  • Fences on single-family and duplex properties must not exceed a height of three feet in the front yard and seven feet in the side and rear yards
  • Electric fences are prohibited on residential property. The use of barbed wire, razor wire, glass, and other sharp materials is also prohibited for residential fences.
  • Pools that are deeper than 18 inches must be enclosed by a fence that is at least 60 inches high, with access gates that open away from the pool. These gates must also be self-closing with a self-latching device that is placed at least 60 inches above the ground.
  • Pool fences must not have any gaps or voids that can allow the passage of spheres with a diameter of four inches or more, and they must not have any cavities, protrusions, or other physical characteristics on their outside surface that can allow children below the age of five to climb over them. The vertical clearance from the ground to the bottom of the fence must also not exceed two inches.
  • Shared fences must have a minimum height of 60 inches and must not have any gaps that can allow small children to pass through.
  • Home and property owners with shared fences must share equal responsibility for the maintenance of these fences.
  • Any home or property owners wishing to repair, replace, or maintain a shared fence must give written notice to all affected parties at least 30 days in advance. This notice must include a description of the problem, the proposed solution, the cost of this solution, a proposed cost-sharing method, and a timeline for the implementation of the project.

An advantage of hiring a professional fence contractor for your project is that they typically clearly understand these fence regulations and comply with them when providing their services. This way, you can be assured that you not only stay on the right side of the law when undertaking your fencing project but also avoid local and state-imposed sanctions. You can contact the San Jose Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department at (408) 535-3555 to get more information on relevant laws and regulations that may affect your fence project. Complaints regarding suspected violations of these laws and regulations can also be reported to the department online.

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

Chapter 24.02 of the San Jose Code of Ordinances stipulates that a permit is required for any project that involves the construction, alteration, repair, modification, removal, conversion, or demolition of buildings and structures in the city. However, this law makes an exemption for constructing and installing fences that are not more than seven feet high. Home and property owners that commence fencing and other construction-related projects in San Jose before obtaining all necessary permits can receive locally issued $1,000 citations as well as state-mandated fines of up to $5,000.

Permits for fence-related projects in San Jose are issued by the city's Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department, and this department provides several permit options, which include:

  • Residential Permit Service: this is used for projects involving single-family, duplex, and multi-family residences
  • Commercial Permit Service: this is used for non-residential projects involving properties that are zoned as Commercial, Industrial, or Office

It should be noted that these permits can only be obtained by state-licensed contractors, property owners, and authorized agents acting on behalf of either of these parties. All applicants will be required to complete a Building Permit Application Form, while property owners must also complete a separate Owner-Builder Verification Form. These forms, along with project plans and drawings, relevant additional documentation, and all stipulated fees, are to be submitted to the department's Development Services Permit Center at:

San Jose City Hall
200 E. Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Note that applicants are generally required to schedule an appointment with the permit center via phone number (408) 535-3555 before visiting it. Requested permits are typically issued after all submitted documents have been reviewed and approved.

Obtaining all required permits for your fencing project ensures that the work is done in compliance with pertinent building codes and safety regulations, protects your property value, and keeps you on the right side of the law. You can contact the San Jose Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Department at (408) 535-3555, (408) 535-7641, or via email to get more information on its permit issuance requirements and procedures for fencing projects.

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

It is vital to locate and mark all utility lines on your property before commencing any digging activities, and you should always confirm that your intended fence company will do this before they begin the fence installation process. Ensuring that all utility lines, especially underground gas, power, and water lines, are properly located and marked before the digging starts:

  • Prevents accidents and fatal injuries
  • Helps avoid outages and service disruptions

Many professional fence companies in San Jose typically execute their fence installation process in six main steps, namely:

  • Estimating the fence length
  • Locating and marking utility lines
  • Obtaining all required permits
  • Digging post holes and setting post brackets
  • Building and installing the fence
  • Finishing up and cleaning the worksite

Nevertheless, make sure that your fence company will be responsible for locating and marking utility lines before finalizing any hiring agreements with them. Note that you may be required to provide the fence company with a copy of your survey records to help them verify the exact location of these utility lines.

Alternatively, you can locate utility lines on your property by reaching out to the Underground Service Alert of Northern California and Nevada via phone numbers 811 or (800) 642-2444. Note that you must contact this service at least two working days before the proposed date of your digging activities but no more than 14 calendar days before this date. You can also direct inquiries concerning San Jose utility lines to the following local utility companies:

  • Pacific Gas & Electric - 1-800-743-5000 or 1-877-660-6789
  • San Jose Water Company - (408) 279-7900 or email
  • Great Oaks Water Company - (408) 227-9540 or email

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

It is imperative to make sure that the fence contractors handling your fencing project are properly insured. In 2020 alone, more than 460 fatal work-related injuries were recorded in California, and nearly 20 percent of these fatalities occurred among construction-related workers. If an uninsured contractor working for you gets injured on the job, you could be held liable for the injury. You will also have to make out-of-pocket expenses for any property damage the uninsured contractor causes during the project.

To this end, always confirm that your intended fence contractor has complied with all mandatory insurance and bond requirements for contractors that operate in San Jose before you sign any agreements with them. These requirements include:

You can verify your intended fence contractor's insurance and bond status by requesting copies of their insurance and bond certificates and validating these certificates with the appropriate issuing organization. It is also a good idea to make sure that your fence contractor carries a general liability insurance policy that can adequately provide coverage for any injuries or property that may occur during your project, regardless of whether it is residential or commercial. You can also reach out to the California Contractors State License Board at (800) 321-2752 to get additional information on the mandatory insurance and bond requirements that must be met by fence contractors in San Jose.

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

Complaints against bad fence contractors in San Jose can be filed with the California Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and also with the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office.

In 2021, the CSLB received 17,184 complaints against licensed and unlicensed contractors across the state. This figure represents a three percent increase over the number of complaints that it had received the previous year, driving home the need for increased vigilance when planning construction and home improvement projects in San Jose. This is because, even though many contractors in the city offer their services professionally and legitimately, some unscrupulous contractors and con artists also take advantage of unsuspecting home and property owners in need of home renovation services like fence installations and repairs. These unscrupulous contractors typically try to deceptively obtain money from unwary home and property owners through several actions, such as:

  • Offering them free fencing services or deals that are too good to be true
  • Exaggerating the extent of damage to a fence to increase the cost of their services
  • Asking for large down payments or full payment upfront and then leaving the work unfinished or undone
  • Deceiving their victims into thinking that their neighbors will reimburse them for the cost of work done on shared fences without taking steps to properly inform these neighbors before beginning the work
  • Failing to pull all necessary permits for the job

In June 2022, the CSLB conducted a series of state-wide sweeps across several locations, including Santa Clara, which resulted in legal actions being taken against more than 140 contractors who were allegedly involved in unlawful and possibly fraudulent contracting activities. You can avoid falling victim to fencing and other home improvement scams in San Jose by recognizing the following red flags and taking appropriate precautionary actions:

  • Unbelievably low quotes and deals that are too good to be true: always get and compare quotes for your fencing project from up to three different contractors in the city before making your hiring decision
  • Unsolicited offers of fencing services: be wary of fence contractors that offer unsolicited services. Utilize sources like trusted friends and relatives, the CSLB's Find My Licensed Contractor platform, and the Better Business Bureau website to get referrals to fence contractors
  • Hesitance to offer written contracts: do not hire fence contractors that downplay the importance of written contracts, and never allow any work on your project to commence before getting a detailed contract. Review this contract thoroughly before signing it
  • Demands for upfront cash payment: never pay the full cost of your project upfront and limit down payments to a maximum of $1,000 or 10 percent of the project's total value, whichever is less. Also, avoid cash transactions and be wary of contractors that insist on this form of payment
  • No evidence of licensing: always verify your intended fence contractor's licensing status before signing any contracts with them. Also, make sure that they are adequately insured and bonded
  • No physical address: do not hire any contractor that does not have a verifiable office address, and make sure that you request and check references from the contractor before signing any contracts with them

You can report matters concerning unscrupulous fence contractors and home improvement scams in San Jose to the Consumer Protection Unit of the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office, either online or by submitting a consumer complaint form to:

Santa Clara County
Office of the District Attorney
Mediation Services
Consumer Protection Unit
70 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95110

Complaints concerning the activities of bad fence contractors in the city can also be reported at the state level by filing a construction complaint with the California Contractors State License Board.