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Launching a Career as a Fencing Installer

Rhino Trade Insurance 14 February 2024

Did you know that the UK fencing industry is worth over £1billion? Staggering, but true.

Once you’ve recovered from the shock of this, take a seat and get yourself a strong brew. Rhino is here to tell you all about how to become a fencing contractor in the UK and how to grab yourself a slice of this £ 1 billion pie.  

The Rise of the Fencing Industry in the UK

Fences are everywhere you look. Whether domestic, agricultural, security, vehicular or purely decorative, we are surrounded by fences which play a variety of different roles in our daily lives,

Each and every fence you see has been erected by a fencing installer. Fencing installers work either alone or as a team, and although the job can be hard, there are plenty of financial rewards to reap if you’re good at what you do.

Fencing will always be in high demand in the UK. This is especially true during periods of increased construction and booms in the property market. Certain regions of the UK see surges in newly built homes, with South Derbyshire, Salford and Stratford-upon-Avon seeing the largest growth as of the latest statistics (2022). 

As a general rule. wherever there’s new houses, roads, public facilities, warehouses or infrastructure being built, there’s a need for fencing.

Steps to Become a Fencing Installer

Let’s take a look at how you can get started in this profession, and what qualities you will need.

What Qualities Do You Need to Become a Fencing Installer?

  • Fitness

The first thing you should know is, fence installation isn’t for everyone. You’re going to need a good level of physical strength and fitness to keep up with the pace. You’ll be wielding spades, angle grinders, steel saws and heavy timber or cement and you’ll need waterproof skin as you’ll be outside in all weathers.

  • Technical knowledge

Decent technical knowledge is also very important. This includes maths skills, as you’ll be pricing jobs, taking precise measurements, calculating the length and quantity of the materials you’ll need and ensuring that everything lines up as it should. 

  • Customer service skills

Just like any trade, you’re going to need to know how to talk to customers to succeed. Although it’s second to installing a solid fence that won’t blow away in the wind, customer service is still a key skill which will be the difference between a lukewarm business and a thriving one. 

Respond to customers in a timely manner, be polite (even when they’ve just suggested something so ludicrous you deserve a medal for keeping a straight face) and leave your jobsite tidy at the end of the working day. These things go a long way towards growing positive word-of-mouth and a loyal customer base. 

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Fencing Installer?

  • GCSE’s

You’ll need to complete the essential GCSE’s required to progress onto the right training path to become a fencer, whether that’s a college course or apprenticeship. You’ll need up to three GCSE’s in subjects including Maths and English, with at least a D Grade. Don’t worry if you don’t have these, you can re-sit one or more GCSE exams at your local community college even if you left school years ago.

  • College course

Then, a college course could be your way to go. Look for relevant courses like Boundary Fencing Skills, Basic Construction Skills, or Carpentry and Joinery which will make you more likely to get picked up as an apprentice by a fencing company or entry-level position. Your local college will have a full list of courses on their website, or you could go with an independent training company such as FaCT. 

  • Apprenticeship

Securing an apprenticeship is a great way to work towards becoming a fencer under the guidance of someone who knows the industry inside out.

Following the successful completion of your apprenticeship, you may be kept on as an employee. And if not, you’ll find it easier to get a job at another fencing company with what you’ve learned under your belt.

Once you’ve got a couple of years’ experience chalked up, you can consider striking out as your own as a self-employed contractor, either as a sole trader or the director of your own limited company. 

Rhino Trade's Tips for Aspiring Fencing Installers

Being good at what you do is the minimum every tradesperson should aspire to. But don’t worry if you’re not there yet. Outstanding fencing contractors are made, not born. Whether it’s watching your mentor’s every move on site, taking an advanced training course, watching masters at work on YouTube or even working on your maths skills, every day is an opportunity to learn and get closer to your goal of being the best in the business.

FAQ for Fencing Installers

Do I need qualifications to be a fencing installer in the UK?

Not as such – although you should have up to three GCSE’s in core subject like Maths and English to be accepted onto a college course in order to train as a fencing contractor. 

If you want to secure an apprenticeship, most companies and contractors will also look at whether you have these core qualifications before taking you on.

Do I need a license to be a fencing installer?

You don’t need a specific license to work as a fencing installer, but some operations that come under the bracket of fencing installation do require licenses. For example, to dispose of building waste in England you need a permit from the Environmental Agency, and skips left on road require permits from the Local Authority. 

How much do fencing installers earn?

Fencing installers in the UK can earn anything from around £17,000 to £50,000 per year. If you start your own limited company and take on employees, you can end up with a seriously lucrative business on your hands.

Is fence installation dangerous work?

Yes, fencing installation can be risky. Working with heavy tools and mechanical equipment means a higher chance of injury, and spending your days out on job sites in all weathers can bring untold hazards. 

Any self-employed fencing installer worth their salt is well insured against anything life can throw at them. When you’re ready to take the leap into becoming an independent fencing contractor, talk to Rhino Trade Insurance to find out what we can do to protect your growing fencing business and make it watertight.

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