Buying a Vinyl Fence? Home Improvement Chain Store Prices are not What They Seem

You see them advertise on the TV every day, orange aprons fluttering down the aisles at Home Depot, “You can do it! We can help!?”, the warm voice of Gene Hackman telling you “Lowes, let’s build something together”. These big names spend big bucks to convince you that if you want to improve your home you need to do it up big time at their big name, big box, home improvement chain stores.

Whew, that’s a mouthful and in a lot of ways very true too. Except for vinyl fencing. Oh, they sell vinyl fencing and their prices seem to meet the big box standards but everything is not always as it seems.

One of the first questions clients always ask me is, “How do you compare to them?” or “Why was our fence more expensive then theirs?” (If it was more). I found the best way to respond was by simply telling the truth. Sometimes our prices were more and sometimes they were less but one thing was certain. We always delivered a higher quality
product.

I have nothing against them and have even advised certain people that the H. I. C.S. might better suit their unique needs. For example, I had a guy who was flipping a property and needed the cheapest fence he could buy. He wasn’t concerned with how long the fence would last, he just wanted to sell the property. I suggested, Home Depot.

The key to big box store shopping is to know, what you are getting for the price you are paying. I highly urge you to go and look at their fencing first hand. Feel it, touch it, push it and you will see that it gives quite a bit. The panels are thinner and are generally hollow with no internal ribbing and reinforcement.

They also utilize a bracket system which is an inferior way to assemble vinyl fencing and requires external hardware which distract from the clean lines of vinyl. Their fencing usually comes pre-assembled.

Oh, I hear you out there, “Isn’t that more convenient?”

Yes, assembled sections do provide more convenience but always remember that lower quality residential grade vinyl fencing normally comes assembled, as fence panels, while prime quality commercial grade vinyl fencing always comes unassembled.

Why? To be able to ship your order more securely so you receive it, complete and undamaged. It also allows you the opportunity to personally attend to each stage of construction, insuring the lifetime strength and durability of your fencing investment.

Keep in mind that the slide and pop assembly of commercial vinyl sections are very similar to “legos”, making them relatively easy to assemble. I, personally, am not a very handy man and I can tell you, from experience, they are not hard to put together.

One last thing to realize when evaluating prices between the H.I.C.S. and a vinyl
fence dealer. The H.I.C.S. ’s panel pricing, generally, does not include the costs of posts
and caps. This is very misleading.

They get you in on the appearance of a lower price, which is usually for the fence panel only. Then they add in these costly but essential items at the time of sale. Right when you have reached that point when you are ready to buy.

Odds are, you usually carry on with the sale and find out the hard way that the posts and caps are where these stores make their money. Which is why they sell their fencing in six foot panels (rather then eight) as this means more posts and caps. You will of course, need posts and caps to assemble a vinyl fence. So when you’re pricing various options, you’ll need to add these costs into the total.

Wow! That great chain store price wasn’t so fabulous after all, was it?

Think about it. If you are going to make a lifetime investment in vinyl fencing for your beloved home. The rule of thumb is that, quality always trumps economy. In the long run you’ll end up paying less for a whole lot more.

(Excerpt from the Vinyl Fence Buyers Guide)

Copyright 2008 David Spangenburg & Michael Goldman