Building a fence is a great way to add value and style to your home. But you may not want the hassle of doing it yourself, especially if you’re short on time or don’t feel comfortable dealing with construction projects. If that’s the case, then this calculator will help you decide whether it makes more sense financially to pay for an installer or build it yourself.

Cost of materials

It’s important to know exactly how much money you’re spending on the project. If you have built something similar before, then this should be easy for you—but if not, it is still possible with some guesswork and research. The best way to estimate materials costs is by looking at similar products online or in stores and comparing their prices. Once you decide which material will work well for your needs, it’s time to calculate how much of that material will be needed per linear foot/meter of your build. To do this simply divide the total amount of material required by how many feet/meters there are within your build area (which includes walls).

Cost of labor

The cost of labor is the most variable factor in the decision, and it can vary significantly depending on who you hire.

  • Contractor: A contractor will likely charge a flat fee for the work that he or she does. For example, if you need your house painted, a contractor might charge $20/square foot for all surfaces that are painted (e.g., trim and ceilings).
  • Professional: Professionals such as accountants and lawyers generally bill at an hourly rate. For example, an accountant might charge $150/hour with a minimum of one hour per visit required before s/he would agree to do any work for you at all.
  • Friend: Friends are often willing to help out without charging anything because they believe in the cause or know they’ll get something out of it later (e.g., if they’re helping their neighbor build a deck). However, when it comes time to pay them back, this can get complicated if there isn’t any clear agreement beforehand about what constitutes “work” vs “friendship.” If someone spends 10 hours building something for me but never actually charges me anything because we’re friends…am I still supposed to give them money? What kind? Or should I just pay them back by doing things around my house once in a while? It’s important when hiring friends that everyone agrees beforehand about what constitutes payment versus friendship so that there aren’t any awkward situations later on down the road!

Build or buy?

The Build vs. Buy calculator will help you decide if it’s better to hire a contractor or do the work yourself. It takes into account all the costs associated with both options: materials, labor, interest on borrowed money, and time spent building or installing your fence (or whatever you’re considering).

The calculator asks you for some important information about your project:

  • What are the dimensions of your fence? How much does it cost per linear foot?
  • Are there any aesthetic considerations that affect how much material you need? For example, if you want to enclose a swimming pool but don’t want people to see it while they walk by.
  • How many hours do I expect this project will take? Is my estimate realistic?


Are materials getting more expensive?

Government statistics show that material costs rose every month between September 2020 and September 2021.

Is labor getting more expensive?

Labor costs are rising across the board in all industries for many reasons.

How difficult is it to set your own fence?

It takes a lot of work and research to install a fence that is aligned correctly and stable. If you encounter no rocks or roots while digging posts, the project can be pretty smooth. But if you come across huge roots, tough soils, or rocks, you’re in for quite the project.