Get Quotes from Top Fencing Contractors in Washington Dc, DC

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Fence Company in Washington, D.C.

Staying in a home without a quality fence leaves you exposed to various forms of encroachment on your property, including burglary. Over 800 burglaries were reported to the DC Metropolitan Police Department annually. By installing a fence around your home, you increase its safety and security from burglars and other intruders, while also reaping other benefits like:

  • Increased privacy from prying eyes
  • Enhanced curb appeal and property value
  • Clearly marked property boundaries
  • Safe containment for kids and pets

Whether you are moving into a new home or renovating your current location, hiring a professional fence company that is licensed, insured, and familiar with the district's fence regulations is the surest way to ensure that a high-quality fence is installed on your property. Asking the questions provided below can help you ascertain whether your preferred fence companies meet these requirements:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Fence Contractor in Washington, D.C.?

The DC Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP) is charged with regulating the activities of fence contractors and all other construction-related professionals who wish to operate in Washington D.C. To this end, the DLCP issues two types of occupational licenses to interested fence contractors in the district based on the nature and scope of services that they intend to offer:

  • General Contractor/Construction Manager Licenses: fence contractors that obtain this license are permitted to perform construction, remodeling, and repair work on new and existing buildings and structures and can also supervise the activities of subcontractors and laborers involved in these works
  • Home Improvement Contractor License: fence contractors that obtain this license are only permitted to work on residential buildings and structures

Fence contractors that wish to obtain either of these licenses will be required to meet certain eligibility criteria, which include:

  • Obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy or Home Occupation Permit from the DC Office of Zoning
  • Providing proof of compliance with local tax requirements
  • Providing proof of adequate insurance coverage, as well as surety bond coverage for parties that wish to be licensed as home improvement contractors
  • Providing proof of corporate registration, where applicable
  • Paying all stipulated fees
  • Providing any additional documentation that the DLCP may request at the time of the application

Eligible parties can apply for DLCP-issued contractor licenses online via the DC Business Portal. Note that the creation of a user account will be required for this. Alternatively, applicants have the option of applying for these licenses in person at the DLCP's office located at:

1100 4th Street SW
2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20024

Queries regarding the DLCP's contractor license eligibility requirements and application process can be directed to the department online or by calling (202) 671-4500. It is important to note that providing fencing services in Washington D.C. without being appropriately licensed by the DLCP is a Class 1 infraction and is punishable by a minimum penalty of $2,000 in fines.

You can find out if your intended fence contractor holds a valid DLCP-issued license either by reaching out to the department at (202) 442 4311 or by utilizing its Access DC portal. Note that you may be required to create a user account on the Access DC portal before utilizing this license verification option.

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

Residents of Washington D.C. install fences on their property for a number of reasons, including:

  • Security
  • Privacy
  • Boundary marking
  • Children and pet containment
  • Aesthetic reasons

While it typically costs between $1,000 and $3,200 to install these fences, the actual cost of your specific fence project will depend on variables like:

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

Fence materials are a major factor that should be considered when planning fence projects, as they directly affect the suitability of your fence for its intended purpose. Some common fence materials used in Washington D.C., as well as key features of these materials, are provided below:

  • Wood: wood fences are economical, versatile, aesthetically pleasing, and good for privacy options. However, they are also high maintenance and susceptible to splitting, rotting, warping, and cracking damage. These fences typically cost an average of $8 - $30 per linear foot.
  • Composite: composite fences are similar to wood fences and have the same benefits, with the added advantage of being less susceptible to damage and requiring less maintenance. However, composite fences are also usually more expensive than wood fences. These fences typically cost an average of $18 - $40 per linear foot.
  • Chain Link: chain link fences are durable, low maintenance, and affordable. However, they are not the best option for homeowners who plan to install fences for privacy or aesthetic reasons. These fences typically cost an average of $5 - $25 per linear foot.
  • Vinyl: vinyl fences are versatile, low maintenance, durable, and affordable, but may not be the best option for security purposes. These fences typically cost an average of $10 - $25 per linear foot.
  • Wrought Iron: wrought iron fences are durable, extremely strong, and aesthetically pleasing. However, they are also high maintenance, prone to rust, and relatively expensive. These fences typically cost an average of $30 - $65 per linear foot.
  • Aluminum: aluminum fences are similar to wrought iron fences but are less prone to rusting and corrosion. However, they are also less durable, not as strong, and also prone to dents. These fences typically cost an average of $20 - $52 per linear foot.
  • Steel: steel fences are also similar to wrought iron fences but are relatively cheaper and require less maintenance. However, they are also not as durable. These fences typically cost an average of $20 - $50 per linear foot.

Some common fence designs and styles that are built with these fence materials include:

  • Picket fences: this is one of the most popular decorative fence styles, and its design involves leaving even spaces between vertical slabs of wood, vinyl, or composite fence material. Note that even though picket fences are mostly installed for decorative reasons, they can also be used to contain kids and pets and provide protection from small animals.
  • Scallop fences: this is a variant of the picket fence design that involves adding curves to the top of the fence from one end to another instead of the usual straight-top design
  • Garden fences: these are short fences that are mostly installed around gardens for decoration and protection from small animals
  • Flat-top fences: this fence design is used to refer to fences that have flat tops, as implied by the name
  • Gothic fences: this design involves adding pointed ends to the top of the end, and it is mainly used for fences built with metal materials
  • Dog-ear fences: this design involves angling the side corners of the fence's vertical boards
  • Shadow-box fences: this fence design involves placing the fence material in an alternative fashion on each side of the fence frame
  • Lattice-top fences: this design involves adding a lattice top to the fence for added decoration.
  • Split rail fences: this fence style involves building and installing the fence horizontally instead of the usual vertical fashion so that it ends up using less fence material. These types of fences are mostly found on farms and properties with large land areas.
  • Electric fences: these types of fences are made from a combination of metal fence materials and wire mesh, and they are primarily installed to deter people and animals from accessing the enclosed area by shocking them with electricity
  • Custom fences: custom fences refer to fences that are specifically built and installed for a particular terrain or landscape. These types of fences usually cost more than standard fence designs and styles, and they normally take the client's particular tastes or peculiarities into account when they are being designed and built.

When searching for fence contractors in Washington, D.C., you should always confirm that the contractor you end up selecting has apt experience installing fences made from your preferred fence material and can also implement your desired fence style when doing the job. It is also a good idea to get and compare cost estimates for the project from several fence contractors in the district before making your hiring decision. This is an effective way to avoid being scammed and ensure that you pay a fair rate for your project.

Fence contractors in Washington, D.C. make an average of $40,510 annually. The following list compares the average hourly pay of these contractors with that of fence contractors in other locations across the rest of the United States:

Washington D.C. Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Baltimore Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Arlington Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Philadelphia Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
New York City Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Chicago Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Phoenix Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
San Diego Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Seattle Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Dallas Fence Contractors Average Hourly Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Fencing Services Do You Offer?

You should always find out the types of fencing services that a fence company is equipped to offer before entering into any agreements with them; otherwise, you risk the project being executed unsatisfactorily. Fence companies in Washington D.C. typically offer several types of fencing services, and these include, but are not limited to:

  • Fence installation
  • Fence replacement
  • Fence gate installation
  • Fence hardware replacement
  • Custom fence design and building
  • Utility line location and marking
  • Property boundary marking

Nonetheless, always confirm that your preferred fence company offers the specific types of services you require and has the necessary tools to execute the job satisfactorily. To this end, getting every promise or guarantee made by the company in writing is advisable before they commence work on your fence installation project.

When Am I Required to Have a Fence in Washington, D.C.?

Specific local codes and regulations generally impact the nature and scope of fence projects that are permitted in Washington, D.C. They include:

Some key requirements of these regulations that pertain to fence installations and replacements in the district include:

  • Fences abutting streets or alleys are generally limited to a height of seven feet for residential or waterfront districts and 10 feet for commercial, mixed-use, industrial, or special-purpose districts
  • Party line fences are to be built with wood, woven wire, or open-pattern metal fence materials unless otherwise agreed on by adjoining owners.
  • Fences that are located less than 10 feet from a party line must not exceed a height of seven feet unless written consent has been obtained from the adjoining owner.
  • Fence gate heights must not exceed that of the fence
  • Barbed wire fences are prohibited in residential districts
  • Public outdoor pools must have a fence at least 72 inches high, while semi-public pools must have fences at least 48 inches high. These fences must also have self-closing and self-latching doors that open away from the pool and are equipped with a release mechanism that is at least 54 inches from the floor.

One of the reasons why you should always retain the services of professional fence contractors is that they are typically knowledgeable about relevant local fence regulations and how these regulations apply to your specific project. This, in turn, assures you that your fence project will be completed in accordance with the law and helps you avoid district-imposed sanctions and penalties.

You can get further information on pertinent codes and regulations that may apply to your fence project by contacting the district's Office of Planning and Department of Buildings at (202) 442-7600 and (202) 671-3500, respectively. Suspected violations of these codes and regulations can also be reported to these agencies through the aforementioned phone numbers.

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

Per local regulations, permits are required for all building and construction activities that take place within Washington, D.C., including fence projects. However, exemptions may be made for the in-kind repair of existing fences, provided that these fences are not located in historic districts. Failing to obtain all necessary permits for your project before commencing it is considered illegal, and violators face penalties that include jail time of up to 90 days, fines of up to $2,000, or a combination of both. Note that these sanctions are issued per offense. In contrast, obtaining all required permits for your project not only ensures that you avoid these sanctions but also:

  • Protects your property value
  • Improves public safety and welfare
  • Limits your exposure to avoidable liabilities

The DC Department of Buildings (DOB) oversees the permit issuance process for fence projects and other construction-related activities in the district, and these permits can be obtained via the following steps:

  • Find out if any development restrictions apply to your property. This can be done online or by reaching out to the DC Office of Planning at (202) 727-6311
  • Establish the full scope of the work and prepare any necessary project drawings and site plans
  • Submit an application online, either via the DOB Permit Wizard for residential projects or the department's Citizen Access Portal for commercial projects.
  • Upload all necessary plans and additional documents via the DOB's ProjectDox platform for review.
  • Pay all stipulated permit fees.

You can get more information on the DOB's permit issuance process or make inquiries concerning specific requirements for your fence project by contacting the department at (202) 671-3500 or in person at:

1100 4th Street SW
Washington, DC 20024
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Mondays - Wednesdays, Fridays, and 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. on Thursdays

Note that you may be required to obtain a separate permit from the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) if you plan to install a fence on a building restriction line or public space next to your property. Applications for these permits can be submitted to the DDOT via its TOPS platform. You can also get more information on DDOT-issued permits for public space and building restriction line fences by contacting the department at (202) 442-4670.

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

Professional fence contractors in the district typically install fences in six main stages, namely:

  • Estimating the fence length
  • Locating, verifying, and marking underground water, power, gas, and other utility lines
  • Obtaining all required permits for the project
  • Digging fence post holes and setting fence post brackets
  • Actual fence construction and installation
  • Post-work clean-up

The importance of making sure that the paths of all underground utility lines on your property are verified and marked before any digging starts cannot be overemphasized. Doing this not only helps prevent service disruptions but also ensures that you avoid costly damages, project delays, and potentially fatal injuries. As such, always ask if utility line location and marking will be included as parts of their services when making hiring arrangements with fence companies in Washington, D.C. Note that you may be required to provide your fence contractors with a copy of your survey records for them to properly locate and verify the specific paths of these lines on your property.

You can also contact the Miss Utility notification center at 811 or (202) 265-7177 to take advantage of free utility line location services in Washington, D.C. Note that you must contact this center at least two business days before you intend to begin digging your property if you plan to utilize this service.

Additional information on DC utility lines can be obtained by contacting the following local utility companies:

  • DC Water – (202) 787-2000
  • Pepco – (202) 833-7500
  • Washington Gas - (844) 927-4427

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Fence Contractors in Washington, D.C.?

Washington, D.C., fence contractors are expected to comply with mandatory insurance requirements before offering their services to interested parties in the district. These requirements include:

  • Fence contractors that are licensed as general contractors must carry commercial general liability insurance with minimum limits that range from $500,000 to $2,500,000 per occurrence for bodily injury and property damage, depending on their license classification
  • Fence contractors that are licensed as home improvement contractors must carry liability insurance of at least $50,000 per person or $100,000 in aggregate for more than one person for bodily injury or death in any single accident and $10,000 for property damage. Fence contractors with these types of licenses are also required to maintain home improvement surety bonds of $25,000

Determining if your intended fence contractor is appropriately insured is essential in determining their suitability for your project. More than half of the work-related fatalities that were reported across Washington D.C. in 2020 occurred among construction-related workers in the city. If you fail to confirm that your fence contractor is appropriately insured, you can be held liable for any injuries or property damage that occur during or as a direct result of work being done on your project.

Therefore, always confirm that your intended fence contractor has complied with the district's mandatory insurance requirements before finalizing hiring arrangements with them. One way to do this is by requesting a copy of their insurance certificates and their bond certificates, where applicable, and validating these documents with the appropriate issuing organization. You can also reach out to the DC Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection at (202) 671-4500 to get additional information on the insurance and bond requirements that fence contractors in Washington, D.C., must comply with.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Fence Contractor in Washington D.C.

Complaints against bad fence contractors in Washington D.C. can be filed with the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (OAG) and also with the DC Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP).

An October 2022 report published by the OAG revealed that it had received more than 13,000 consumer complaints between 2015 and 2021 concerning a wide range of issues, with construction and home improvement matters generating a large number of these complaints. An example of this is the 2018 lawsuit against a fraudulent home improvement contractor that ultimately resulted in the contractor being banned from providing services in the district for ten years and being ordered to pay over $224,000 in restitution to victims.

As such, when searching for fence contractors in Washington D.C., you should look out for con artists and unscrupulous fence contractors that try to swindle unsuspecting homeowners through scams like:

  • Luring them in with offers of cheap discounts and free services
  • Grossly inflating the cost of fence materials and hardware required for the job
  • Asking for full payment or unreasonably large down payments upfront and then absconding or doing a shoddy job
  • Charging premium prices for materials and then using substandard materials for the job
  • Lying about their licensing status and failing to pull required permits
  • Making their victims believe that the cost of the project must be shared by neighbors

You can protect yourself against these con artists and unscrupulous fence contractors by spotting certain red flags and taking necessary precautions, like:

  • Unsolicited fencing services: avoid contractors that offer unsolicited fencing services, especially if they show up to your home unannounced. Get referrals to fence contractors for your project from reputable sources like trusted friends and family, the DC Department of Building's Find a Contractor platform, and the Better Business Bureau.
  • Ridiculously low rates and discounts: be wary of contractors with ridiculously low rates as well as ones who offer discounts or deals that are too good to be true. Always get and compare quotes for your project from up to three different fence contractors in the district before making your hiring selection
  • Reluctance to provide proof of licensing: never hire unlicensed contractors for your project. You can confirm your intended fence contractor's licensing status online or by calling (202) 442 4311
  • Hesitance to offer written contract: insist on getting a well-detailed written contract for your project before the work commences. Be suspicious of fence contractors who try to convince you to accept handshake deals, and make sure that you properly review any written contracts you are offered before signing them
  • Insistence on full upfront payment: do not hire any fence contractor that demands that you pay the full cost of your project upfront or insists on collecting a large advance payment before commencing any work. Limit all down payments to a maximum of 30 percent of the project's total cost and avoid cash transactions
  • No physical address: always verify that your intended fence contractor has a local physical business address before signing any contracts with them. Also, ask them for references and check these references. You can go a step further by looking up reviews and testimonials on them online via platforms like Yelp, Google Review, and the Better Business Bureau

You can file consumer complaints concerning matters that involve fence contractors and unsatisfactory fence projects in Washington D.C. with the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia through the following channels:

  • Via an online complaint form
  • By calling (202) 442-9828
  • Via email
  • By texting the word "complaint" to (202) 738-5212 and following the guided prompts

You can also file complaints against fence contractors in the district with the DC Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP) online via its Consumer Protection Complaint Request portal. Note that this department typically only opens investigations for matters that involve more than $250 or in situations where it is determined that the fence contractor exhibits a pattern or practice of abuse.