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Our Most Frequently Asked DIY Questions and Answers!

October 15, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

At Frederick Fence, we love it when DIYers choose to take on the task of building their own fence.  In fact, sometimes the most rewarding thing you can do as a home owner is take personal pride when you step into your yard and see the outcome of your own handiwork!

Sometimes, however, a DIY enthusiast needs a little help.  Even though fence installation seems like a relatively easy process, we often get the same questions time and again from folks looking to build their own fence.  To help you with your next DIY fence project, we’ve assembled our most frequently asked questions and answers!  Hopefully seeing them here will help you should you decide to take on the great outdoors and build a fence for your home!

arch topHow wide is the gate?

With the exception of a split rail style gate, all of our gates are made to fit an opening.  The gate itself is not the size listed.  For example, an aluminum 4’ wide gate Is actually 46.5”, which is designed to fit in an opening of 48”.

Do you sleeve a vinyl post over a wood post?

Not only is it not necessary, it’s also not recommended.  Our vinyl posts are structural and do not need reinforcement.  The only time you might need them are for gate posts, which use metal inserts.  Putting a wood post inside a vinyl sleeve makes it more vulnerable to problems as the wood post is likely to bend, twist, or warp inside the vinyl sleeve.

Do I need to call utilities?

Yes, before you dig any hole!  Failure to do so may result in some expensive repair damage that any county will force you to pay for, along with some hefty fines.  Don’t risk it at all!  Call before you dig!

vinyl pool fenceWhat do I need to do in order to make my fence meet pool code?

Typically, with the exception being Montgomery county, swimming pool fencing should be at least 48 inches above the side of the barrier, facing away from the swimming pool. Some states have pool fence regulation indicating the fence needs to be at least 60 inches.  Openings in the pool fence should be no larger than 4 inches wide.

There should be no more than 4 inches of space between the pool surface and the bottom of your fence.  When a fence is comprised of diagonal rails, the maximum opening between diagonal pieces should be no more than 1 ¾ inches.  Pool fence gates should be self-latching, and open away from the pool. The gate should also be self-closing.

Why don’t you sell cedar posts?

Cedar is not recommended for ground contact.  It is susceptible to rotting.  We use pressure treated pine posts that are treated for in ground contact.

Is your aluminum painted?

No.  We use aluminum fencing that comes with a Dupont certified powder coating that surpasses a salt spray test of 10000 hours.  We use an Alumiguard product, which we feel is the industry best!

How tall should my deer fence be?

On average, a deer fence is 8’ tall.  However, deer can jump really high, so don’t be surprised if a deer ends up on your property from time to time!

How do you keep rabbits out of your yard?

It is often suggested that you install a wire fence, and “trench” or bury about 4-6” of the bottom of the fence.

fence contractor securing a fence

Planning on building your own fence?  Stop by our showroom on Tilco Drive in Frederick, Maryland to get everything you could possible need to build your own fence!  Our fence installation experts are always on hand to answer your questions in person!  You can also use our online chat feature during regular business hours for a quick answer!

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Buying a New Home and a New Fence in Frederick

September 24, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

Frederick_marylandIn terms of new housing opportunities, Frederick County remains one of the best places to live that’s just outside the Washington DC area.  With its revitalized downtown district, there are a plethora of bars, shops and fine dining establishments that make Frederick a destination for any special occasion.  Many visit Frederick to check out Top Chef contestant Brian Voltaggio’s Volt, and then end up hearing about the Tasting Room or the Wine Kitchen on the Creek, which are two of Frederick’s finest restaurants.  If you’ve never had a Tasting Room filet, you’re missing out on perfection!  If you’re into the outdoors, you can play tennis at Baker Park, hike the Catoctin Mountains or play golf at one of the area’s award-winning golf courses.

Work in the DC?  You’re in luck if you don’t relish the thought of driving down I-270 each day to the city as you can hope on the train to Union Station or take a shuttle bus to Shady Grove Station, and avoid the high parking fees and gasoline that a daily commute to DC often requires.  Work in the Chantilly or Reston area?  You can still avoid the I-270 traffic jams by taking Route 15 South each day and enjoy the view of the sprawling hills and green trees on each side of this two-lane road.

The great thing about most new communities in Frederick is that some offer a fence with the purchase of a home, depending upon which community you choose.  Having a fence included in the price of the house often makes it easier for home buyers as the fence is there when they take possession of the home, meaning they don’t have to worry about financing a fence afterward.  If you end up buying a home where you’re required to purchase your own fence, be thankful that many of these builders understand the value of curb appeal and allow just one type of fence—often maintenance free vinyl—to go on your property.

Looking for a new home and a new fence installation in Frederick? Here are a few of Frederick Fence’s favorite new communities where you can typically find our red and yellow signs within these neighborhoods.  Check them out and tell them Frederick Fence sent you!
Housing Developments with Great Fence Options in Frederick

Brunswick Cropssing offers a variety of home styles and requires vinyl fencing to maintain its community appeal

Brunswick Crossing offers a variety of home styles and requires vinyl fencing to maintain its community appeal

Brunswick Crossing features a variety of home models, ranging from town homes to single family homes to Villas where the master bedroom suite is on the first floor.  There’s also a pool with a poll house and a large community center and convenience to 26 miles of trails and walkways at Brunswick Crossing.  There’s also a plan to build a marketplace filled with shops and restaurants, including a new Weis Markets.  To ensure cohesion and improve curb appeal, Brunswick Crossing residents can purchase vinyl picket fence to surround their homes.

 

 

northpointe

Want to be part of the vibrant shopping and restaurant scene in downtown Frederick? Check out North Pointe, where owners can get a six foot privacy wood fence with their home!

North Pointe, featuring several home models by Lancaster Craftsman Builders, offers you the opportunity to live in downtown Frederick, where you can take advantage of the many shops, bars and upscale dining establishments that downtown offers.  Lancaster Builders prides itself on creating energy efficient homes, including optional solar panels that can reduce your utility bills by quite a bit!  Most homes come with a paved driveway and six-foot board on board privacy fence.

 

 

Ashcroft

Wormald’s Georgetown model automatically provides buyers with a six foot white vinyl privacy fence with a new townhome! And, even better, you can also purchase an elevator that goes to all floors!

East Church, a rapidly growing community located just one mile from downtown Frederick, features Wormald Homes’ Georgetown town home model, that comes with a two-car garage, optional loft and elevator that travels to all four floors and a great community center and swimming pool.  When you purchase one of their townhomes, you automatically have a six-foot vinyl privacy fence included in the price.

 

 

 

linton

Want to be close to the city but still enjoy scenic mountain views? Check out Linton at Ballenger Creek, where you also can purchase a six foot vinyl privacy fence with lattice work! The community is gorgeous!

Linton at Ballenger Creek offers both town homes and single-family homes, as well as elevator condominiums and town home condominiums.  Linton at Ballenger Creek is just minutes from downtown Frederick and offers its residents some quiet time away from the energy of downtown and gorgeous mountain views, meandering rivers, and historic landmarks right in your backyard.  This community allows residents to install six-foot vinyl privacy fence with lattice work on top, meaning you need to purchase just once fence that will last a lifetime!

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How to Improve Your Curb Appeal: Four Tips for Accessorizing Your Fence:

September 3, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

Have you ever stood in your fenced-in yard after a few years and wondered how you could make the space more attractive?  You’ve yanked out old bushes and shrubs, replaced them with new ones, changed your outdoor furniture and still you’re looking to do something to improve curb appeal for your property.  So what should you do?

Perhaps it’s time to accessorize your fence!

It’s true—there are now plenty of after-market items to choose from that will improve your home’s curb appeal by upgrading your fence.  Many of them are minor additions but they can have a huge impact on your outdoor space—especially when it comes time to sell your home.  Here are a four ways you can accessorize your fence:

Decorative Post Caps

Decorative post caps add instant appeal to an existing fence!

Decorative post caps add instant appeal to an existing fence!

One easy upgrade you can add to your fence that instantly adds appeal to your fence is to add decorative post caps to your fence.  Whether your fence is made of wood, vinyl or aluminum, there are a myriad of options to choose from when it comes to adding post caps.  You can choose to add simple flat-tops to your fence post installation which are available in various colors, or you can add a lot of flair by selecting highly ornamental post-caps made of copper, vinyl or geometric aluminum.  For years, the most decorative option on the market was a flat top or a

Solar postcaps are great for creating additional mood lighting and beauty for your fence.

Solar postcaps are great for creating additional mood lighting and beauty for your fence.

ball-shaped post cap; however, a lot has changed and you can now purchase practically any shape, size and color.  If you’re looking for additional lighting in your yard, you can now purchase post caps with solar powered lights in them.  These caps range from as little as $6 per cap to as much as $60, depending on the materials used to create them and their design.

Flower Boxes

With some wood, nails, a hammer and some paint, you can make your own unique flower box for your fence or deck railing!

With some wood, nails, a hammer and some paint, you can make your own unique flower box for your fence or deck railing!

Love to garden and are looking for both a way to decorate your fence and plant some herbs or flowers that take up minimal space?  Flower boxes hung on the fence are your best bet!  The good news is that you can you can be as creative as you like when it comes to flower boxes.  If you’re not necessarily a do it yourself person, you can buy a flower box from your local nursery and purchase hooks to hang the box on your fence.  If you consider yourself somewhat crafty, you can design, build and paint your own boxes to match other elements either in your yard or your home.

Shop around online and you’ll find you can also purchase ready-made flower boxes that come in various shapes and sizes that either come with either hooks or openings on the bottom of the box so you can just sit them on the fence rail.  Be mindful that if you live in an area that gets a lot of wind that you’ll want to find ways to brace the boxes so that they don’t fall off should major gusts  hit your area.

Privacy Mesh

Have a picket, split rail or aluminum fence and want to add a bit of privacy without having to replace the entire fence?  You can now purchase privacy mesh for your fence and hang it inside your yard.  If you have small dogs or other four-legged pets, privacy mesh also keeps them from crawling through the fence rails.  Likewise, privacy mesh can also keep some unwanted animals—like rabbits—from getting in your garden and chewing your flowers.

Arbors

You can easily add an arbor instead of a gate to create a lovely entrance into your yard

You can easily add an arbor instead of a gate to create a lovely entrance into your yard.

Have a gate that needs replacing and want to add some additional appeal to your yard’s entranceway? Add an arbor and you get instant beauty that allows you to either hang plants off the structure or grow vines and climbing plants off it for a more natural look.  Arbors come in all shapes and sizes and in all materials; purchase one of vinyl if you’re looking for a long-lasting maintenance free solution.

Looking to accessorize your existing fence or are ready to upgrade from wood to a longer lasting material?  Click on our chat feature or give us a call and one of our fence consultants will visit your home and show you how to add value to your current fence or price a new one! You can also visit our Contact page!

 

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Getting Wild and Whimsical (Colors)With Vinyl Fence

July 30, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

Introducing the Grand Illusions Color Spectrum Estate Series!

Introducing the Grand Illusions Color Spectrum Estate Series!

Are you the type of homeowner that wants to stand out in your neighborhood? Do you wish you could design a fence that bursts with color? Have you ever asked yourself “Gee, I wish my fence was the same color as my front door and shutters?”

If you answered YES to any of the above questions, then consider designing a fence from the Grand Illusions Color Spectrum™ Estate Series! For more than 40 years, Illusions ® Vinyl Fence has been manufacturing and distributing high end fence products; their most recent innovation that’s transforming properties across the United States is its Estate Series line, where you can purchase vinyl fence in all styles and make use of 24 low gloss colors. If you want to use your creativity and design a fence like no other in your area, colored vinyl fence styles from this series is surely the way to go!

Bold, Brave and Colorful Options in All Styles

blue-matte-finish-vinyl-pvc-picket-fence

The Illusions line…where it begins with your creativity and ends with a one of a kind colorful fence!

 

Grand Illusions Color Spectrum™ Estate Series offers you a wide spectrum of colors, ranging from multiple shades of green and blue, to orange, yellow, red and even purple! If your desire is to truly make a statement in your neighborhood and want a fence that will last a lifetime, this is your opportunity. The great thing about the Estate Series is that you can mix and match as many colors as you like with practically any style, whether it’s picket, split rail or privacy fence! That means if you’ve always wanted to build a vinyl privacy fence using the colors of the American flag or your favorite football team—as in burgundy and gold—you can get EXACTLY what you want! Thinking of painting your house light blue with yellow trim and want a fence to match? Now’s your chance!

One of the reasons why people love the Estate Series is that if one of their existing colors is not what the homeowner wants, the company will work with fence vendors to develop a custom color. All Illusions needs is a swatch and they will work with you to design the fence of your dreams. Just be mindful that any custom color work will typically take a bit longer to develop and may incur additional costs to create your individual color scheme.

However, if you’re looking for something no one else will ever have, then this type of vinyl fence offers you the perfect fence solution! And the good news is how long it will last!

With the Illusions series, you can design a fence with multiple colors!  Just remember, custom design will take longer and cost a bit more!

With the Illusions series, you can design a fence with multiple colors! Just remember, custom design will take longer and cost a bit more!

Colored Vinyl Fence: The One Fence You’ll Need That Lasts as Long as Your Home

True, you could put up a standard wood fence and choose to stain or paint it any color you like. However, you’ll need to constantly apply a fresh coat of color every few years to maintain your fence’s unique look. Wood fences can also occasionally warp and bow or suffer damage from the elements—especially difficult winters and extremely hot summers. When this happens, your fence can fade or the colors can sometimes end up looking distorted in certain sections depending upon the type of beating the fence takes from the sun or harsh rains or inclement weather.

The good news about vinyl fence is that it’s made to withstand the elements and it never fades. Vinyl fence is also maintenance free—once you install it, typically the only thing you’ll need to do is spray it with your garden hose to clean off any debris! That means your fence may last longer than the colors on your house, depending upon your building materials!

Want Color But Something More Traditional When It Comes to Vinyl?

Should you want a vinyl fence and want something that looks more natural, but with a bit of color, you can also choose to build your fence using Grand Illusions Vinyl Woodbond™ wood grain fence. You can chose a dark vinyl like Mahagony or Cherry or go as light as rosewood or Eastern White Cedar. These are some of the most gorgeous vinyl materials on the market and are completely lifelike!

v706_sahara

With this amazing Estate Series, you can choose the style of fence in practically every color, meaning you can match your door and shutters to turn your design dreams into reality!

Are You Ready to Get Wild With Color?

If you’ve been looking to build the most striking fence in your neighborhood and want something completely different from everyone around you, give us a call and we’ll send out one of our fence consultants to help you design a fence that’s truly unique. Simply click on our chat feature, visit our Contact page or give us a call at 1-800-49-fence and we’ll help you bring a dash of color to your neighborhood with your new vinyl fence!

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The (Vinyl) Fence With Something Extra: Natural Looking Color!

July 15, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

Remember when vinyl fence appeared in the marketplace and you could have any color you wanted so long as it was white? Yes, there used to be a time when manufacturers sold only one color of vinyl fence, which looked great in almost every setting.   In fact, many home owner associations often choose white as the main color for vinyl fence in many communities. White vinyl offers a clean look and if your goal is to establish community-wide curb appeal with a consistent fence style and color scheme, vinyl fence makes sense as it’s easy to maintain and never requires staining and painting.

But what if you live in an area where you have the freedom to choose both the style and color of your fence and you’re a bit creative and want to make a statement that reflects your unique personality or design a fence that complements the colors for your home’s exterior?

Simple, build a vinyl fence with natural-looking color!

Thanks to the amazing folks at CertainTeed, you can now design the perfect vinyl fence with an earthy color and texture that truly satisfies your singular taste in exterior décor while also looking like a natural part of your outdoor environment. Whether it’s a split rail fence built for simplicity and traditional charm or six-foot privacy fence that offers you and your family the opportunity to live outdoors without observation, CertainTeed’s Bufftech line of innovative vinyl products will showcase your home and yard at highly affordable rates.

Textures and Color: Blended to Perfection

One of the major innovations from Certain Teed home owners can choose from include a variety of textures in a fence design. If you want a smooth, classic look, you can always go with a smooth texture for your fence. However, if you prefer the look and feel of natural wood or the graininess of stucco walls, you can design a vinyl fence with either of these textures, and in various colors ranging from shades of brown to almond and clary. These natural colors will complement a yard filled with trees, shrubs and plants.

railgrain

Split Rail and Pickets: An Open Fence with Diverse Views

Looking for a strong, open fence for enclosing your horses, livestock or four-legged friends and want to install a fence that lasts a lifetime? CertainTeed’s Bufftech wood vinyl fence products come in wither a smooth or grain texture and offers the authentic look of a painted wood fence, but comes with the durability, low maintenance and limited-lifetime guarantee. The good news is that you can choose from 2 to 4 rails and mix it with a crossbuck pattern if you want a little variety in your fence design.

Want more traditional vinyl fence options? You can also design the perfect natural looking picket vinyl fence in various colors and picket sizes, included single-sized straight pickets to more concave pickets that create a swoop pattern.

Style and Privacy: A Wining Combination

vinylstucco

Want to relax outdoors in maintain some peace and quiet and a chance to enjoy your pool without being in a fishbowl? CertainTeed’s Bufftech privacy fences are truly works of art when it comes to color! In fact, their wood grain privacy sections look so authentic that casual passersby may not realize that they’re looking at a vinyl fence! If you want a more ornate and polished look, their stucco fence offers you that rich textured feel without having to ever worry about it peeling, chipping or cracking from the sun’s hottest rays. For added accents, you can also top your vinyl privacy fence with several lattice styles or design a fence that swoops in certain sections, giving you the ability to transition from low to high fence so you can still observe what’s beyond your yard while maintaining some sense of privacy.

 

Gates and Accessories to Match Your Unique Fence

CertainTeed’s Bufftech vinyl products include gate sections that complement every fence design, based on your unique style and color. You can go with a solid panel fence or design a concave or convex gate with lattice work on top that will truly set your entrance apart from the rest of the fence. For added beauty, you can also add a vinyl arbor or pergola to your fence, along with a variety of decorative post caps, including ones with solar powered lighting.

vinyllattice

Design the Fence of a Lifetime

When you install a wood vinyl fence, you’re getting the fence that will typically last the entire lifetime of your home. Now that you can choose vinyl materials with the look and feel of natural wood, a vinyl fence serves as a more cost-effective solution given that even the best wood fences often require full replacement after many years of enduring the extreme heat, wet and cold the seasons in our area bring.

Curious to see all the vinyl fencing supplies available to you? We encourage you to come by our showroom and see some of the amazing CertainTeed samples in person or schedule one of our expert fence consultants to stop by your home with the latest samples and up to date brochures. Simply click on our chat feature, fill out our Contact form,  or give us a call at 301 663-4000 and we’ll help you design the perfect, most unique colored vinyl fence to showcase your property!

Want something a little more whimsical and unique?  Check back for our next entry where we talk about some truly wild ideas for vinyl fence!

 

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A Pool Fence With a View

June 27, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

Installing a swimming pool in your back yard this summer? Have an existing fence for your property and just need to meet pool code without breaking the bank? Want a fence that allows you to maintain your current view of your surroundings?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, consider the one fence that will allow you to meet pool code, protect your family members and come in at an affordable price: An aluminum pool fence!

Many homeowners choose aluminum fence for enclosing a pool simply because they are decorative, affordable, durable and low maintenance—almost everything you would want from a fence! One of the distinct advantages of aluminum pool fence is that aluminum panels are made with pickets placed a few inches apart, allowing you to still see what’s on the other side of the fence at all times. If your yard offers you a magnificent view of the mountains or a lovely meadow beyond your property line, you won’t have to sacrifice function for form when installing an aluminum fence for a swimming pool. The great news is that in addition to maintaining your current view, you also don’t have to worry about your children climbing through the fence to gain access to your pool unattended as the pickets are placed just inches apart from one another.

Aluminum pool fencing is quite strong and made to last. At Frederick Fence, we use aluminum pool fencing products featuring a fade and scratch-resistant powder-coat finish that offers twice the strength of typical acrylic finishes – and never requires painting. Once you install It, the only thing you’ll need to do is clean it with a garden hose from time to time—wouldn’t it be nice if pools were that easy to maintain! Additionally, our materials come with a Limited Lifetime Guarantee which means you’ll have the fence for as long as you have a pool on your property!

The best thing about aluminum fence is that it’s not all that costly and is quite affordable when you compare it to other products such as wrought-iron or vinyl fence.

An aluminum pool fence allows you to preserve the view beyond the pool!

An aluminum pool fence allows you to preserve the view beyond the pool!

In Stock for Summer 2017: Aluminum Fence Panels!

Looking to install your own affordable pool fencing this summer and need supplies? Below are aluminum fence panels we currently have in stock to meet the requirements for pool code that you can use to install your own fence:

Residential Aluminum Panels

  • 48” tall 2 Rail (Series A)
  • 54” tall 3 Rail (Series A and C)
  • 60” tall 3 Rail (Series A and C)
  • 72” tall 4 Rail (Series A)

Commercial Aluminum Panels

  • 54” tall 3 Rail (Series A)
  • 60” tall 3 Rail (Series A)

Got questions about fencing around pools or pool fence installation? Simply call us or use our online chat feature and we’ll address any concerns you have about your DIY pool fence ideas or pool code regulations.

Want to see our panels in person? Stop by our showroom on Tilco Drive during regular hours and we’ll show you examples of our amazing variety of aluminum panels in stock as well as some custom options should you want a truly unique fence for your pool area! Since it’s summer, we’re now open every Saturday until noon!

Prefer doing this at your home? Feel free to schedule one of our fence consultants to come out and see your pool on your property to help you determine how much fence you’ll really need!   Give us a call or go to our Contact page and we’ll send someone out to work with you at your convenience!

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The Frederick Fence Story
Chapter 4:
Fences and Family: Thoughts from the Staff

May 23, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

RANDY

Randy Fouche

One of the notable things about Frederick Fence is that many of its employees have been with the company—on average—for more than half of its lifespan. Given the average individual makes 4 to 5 career moves by the time they’re 35 years old, the team at Frederick Fence stands out as a positive and significant anomaly. Some employees, like Jon “JC” Wisner and Randy Fouche, have been there since the beginning. Others—like Kathy Crum, Louise Barnard, Doug Martin, Joan Spangler and Roxanne Henline—are approaching their second and third decade with the company.

What is that draws people to Frederick Fence? The answer is simple—people feel as if Frederick Fence is not just a place to work, it’s home. The team of folks who show up every day—whether it’s the office staff, installers or sales folks who all make the fencing magic happen for the company’s clients—consider Frederick Fence the best place to work. In fact, Charlie Powers considers everyone who works for the company to be his partners. “People work with me, not for me,” says Charlie. “These are my closest friends and my family. I can’t imagine doing business any other way.”

Family First: The Secret To Frederick Fence

Jon "JC" Wisner, the longest lasting employee at Frederick Fence

Jon “JC” Wisner

Pay a visit to Tilco Drive and you’re certain to see a lot of smiles on people’s faces as well as hear a lot of laughter as the work gets done. “You can’t beat the work atmosphere here,” says Randy Fouche, who was first brought on board to answer phones and work in the supply yard. “When I first walked through the doors, I knew Frederick Fence was going to go places and I just wanted to grow with it.” Randy, who celebrates his 34th year with the company this August, appreciates that he’s been given significant opportunities to learn new skills and apply himself in different ways as part of his tenure with the fence outfit.

For JC Wisner, working at Frederick Fence has granted him a lifetime of fun and success with one of his closest friends. “When Charlie started the company, we just wanted to hold our heads up high if we walked around Frederick.” From the start, Wisner admits that Frederick Fence was built on Charlie Powers’ desire to build the best fences possible and make people happy. Wisner also admits that though there were times that he and Charlie fought like cats and dogs over how to get the job done, they always managed to end each day as family and not foes. “We built this company from 2 piles of lumber into something great,” says Jon. “How often do you get that kind of opportunity to be part of something special that makes you proud of the work you do every day.” As Frederick Fence’s longest lasting staff member, Wisner cannot imagine being anyplace else and is just as excited to see where the company goes next as the fencing company approaches its fourth decade.

Louise Barnard

Louise Barnard

Louise Barnard, the company’s most experienced sales associate, can’t imagine working for anyone else other than the Powers family. Helping families design the perfect fence for their home is what Louise loves to do and admits that working at Frederick Fence for more than thirty years has allowed her to learn a lot about herself. When asked why she’s stayed so long, Louise will tell you that Frederick Fence is a company that takes care of the clients when they could say no and that she sees herself as “part of a family and that Charlie would take care of me if anything happened.” Now that Charlie has passed the company onto his children, Louise feels highly optimistic about where the company goes next. “I have gotten to watch Charlie’s kids grow up to be hard working, compassionate adults and I’m proud to work with them. I know this because of the way Charlie and Diane raised them.”

Kathy Crum, Frederick Fence's General Manager

Kathy Crum

This sentiment holds true for Kathy Crum, Frederick Fence’s General Manager and Controller. Kathy joined the company in 1990 as a bookkeeper and soon found herself in the midst of something unique. “I noticed right away the casual/relaxed atmosphere and everyone seemed to be friends. The phones were constantly ringing—this was a fast-paced and busy office but everybody was having fun at the same time.” Kathy also admits her initial impressions of Charlie Powers were paradoxical. “He seemed intense, focused, all business and yet was personable and humorous.” As the company grew, Kathy credits being able to put new policies and procedures in place for efficiency as part of why she’s stayed with Frederick Fence for so long. “Sure, we bicker and fight, and joke around and laugh, but everyone here wants the company to succeed and be profitable. For me personally, I’ve seen the growth and I’d like to think I contributed to our success to where ’ll stay until I can’t work anymore!”

The notion of staying until not being able to work anymore is one most Frederick Fence staff seem to share. Even with the transition in company ownership from Charlie Powers to Erin, Kelly and Todd Powers, the team of individuals who walked through the doors of Frederick Fence years ago remain as committed ever to providing the best quality fence supplies and services for customers.

What will the next chapter in the Frederick Fence story look like? For that, we need to hear from the company’s new owners, who are working together to create their shared vision for where the company goes next. Expect them to share their thoughts as they prepare for a special celebration, which we’ll feature on our site soon!

The Frederick Fence Story
Chapter 3:
In My Own Words
by Charlie Powers

May 3, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

Charlie Powers earlier in his tenure as the founder and president of Frederick Fence

Charlie Powers earlier in his tenure as the founder and president of Frederick Fence

If you told me more than 35 years ago that I would go from simply owning a truck and a desire to make a living to support my family to eventually owning a huge supply yard with a large showroom and a great team that sells and builds some of the best fences I’ve ever seen, I think I would have laughed in your face. I never thought about the money, I never thought about running a large shop, and I certainly never thought I would be in a place to transition my company to new leadership. On the day I made a decision to start my own company, I just knew in my heart that I didn’t want to work for other people anymore and I also thought that I could do it better when it came to installing fence. That’s it!

I’ve thought a lot about Frederick Fence of late—maybe more so now than in the last fifteen years when things were really cooking and it was obvious to me that I needed to move from our own place on Grove Lane to where we are now on Tilco Drive. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time. Some might call it wisdom, some might call it drive—I just sometimes think I got blessed with “dumb luck” as a lot of what’s transpired with my business has been about being there for people who needed a product and I was fortunate enough to have the best people to make it happen for them!

My DIY materials for a Durable (Fence) Company

Great Employees

The main thing that has allowed me and Frederick Fence to remain in business is good people. I started on day one with just JC (Wisner) and that was enough to get going. I once told JC in the early days that one day he’d be sitting behind a desk and that he wouldn’t be outside working like crazy to build fences. He would just laugh at me and keep on digging post holes, but the joke is on him as that’s what he does now as our Operations Manager!

Shortly after we started, I got Western Fence to let me have their phone number for use in the Frederick area and once the phone started ringing, I started looking for people to work with me. My wife, Diane, helped out a great deal in those early days. She had another job, but she’d answer the phones and help with the paperwork so I could focus on sales.

Over time, I brought in more folks to help with the installs and that soon lead to having more people in an office to get potential customers’ names so I could do the sales. I always thought I’d be doing sales. For one, I loved it! I loved talking to people to find out what they wanted and I would offer them a fence at a great price so they could afford it. I love that kind of challenge and negotiation’s always been something I enjoy. However, over time, I knew I couldn’t be the only sales person so I needed more people. To jump start my sales team, I bought Seneca Fence as I knew they had some great people working for them.

A lot of fence companies hire contractors to do their work—that’s a very popular model for business. However, I never wanted to do things that way. From the beginning, I wanted my own team working with me and I wanted to be the one to lead them. I wanted to ensure that people got a quality fence and to do that, I needed to have folks under my care so I could show them what needed to be done to build fences that would last a long time. I also wanted to create a place where people could earn a living for themselves and their families like I was doing. I wanted to do a good job for others; I wanted people who told me they wanted to do the same thing.

A Strong Resolve

Tenacity is another thing I came to this business with and it’s still what makes Frederick Fence such a great company. Some will tell you that I’ve always been stubborn. And in the early years, I suppose I was. In fact, you can ask my kids and they’ll tell you that their daddy was always working. For years, I didn’t eat dinner at home. I worked and worked to get those fences sold and installed and I wasn’t stopping until I got the job done. Underneath all that resolve; however, was a huge fear of failure. Not that a fence would go in wrong or that I had undersold a job. I’m talking about personal failure. If I didn’t make things work that I would go under and I had people counting on me—my family, my team and my creditors—and I could not afford to lose. Fear’s a great motivator sometimes! But it can also work in your favor when you hunker down and focus on the job at hand.

Stamina and Grit

Another material that I’d say goes into making Frederick Fence such a sturdy company is fortitude. When combined with fear, I’m amazed at what a little courage and stamina can do. My favorite memories from those early days were when we were just selling and installing. I loved a good challenge! In fact, the harder the job, the greater the joy at the end. I sought out bids that would force me to learn more about fence installation. Those large jobs enabled me to grow my install team and allowed me to take on more staff to divide up the work as I knew at some point, I wanted to step back from what was happening and manage the whole show from one spot! But one thing I did early on was tell everyone who worked for me that we quit when we are all done our work. That meant if you ended your job at one site, you went to another one to help another crew finish up. We didn’t look at the clock back then; we looked at what was on the docket for each day and everyone started and ended their day together.

Was I sometimes a difficult person to work with those first few years? I’m not gonna even try to say I was perfect back then. Nope, I can’t go there—too many people would read this and laugh out loud if I tried to paint myself as the saint of the fencing industry! But what I will tell you is that at the end of each day, no matter how much pressure I put on my people, I reserved the brunt of that pressure for myself. When I sent a truck down the road, I knew there was always a risk in the reward. But I was driven to succeed and I liked things done a certain way that I knew would make customers happy.

Know Your Niche

The name of our company is Frederick Fence and fences are our only game. One of the greatest course corrections I made about a decade ago was to no longer install decks. We did them for a while, but I will readily admit that decks were not our strong suit. Installing decks was a challenge for some of our crews and I personally felt that some of the decks we built were just not our best work. At the time, it seemed like a good idea to expand our products, but we found ourselves sacrificing quality over quantity and so about ten years ago, I made the decision that we’d stick to what we do best and build people the best possible fence money could buy. Thankfully, that decision to remove decks was one of the happiest decisions I made as everyone in the company was glad to see them go!

Advocates for Success

In addition to having great employees, I was also blessed by building my own support team of experts who helped me shape Frederick Fence with their sage advice and candor. Early on, I hired a great accountant, a smart attorney, and established a great relationship with my banker. Each of them helped me make wise decisions as Frederick Fence started to take shape. Through the years, I learned from fence installation experts, web strategists and an executive coach and sales trainer who helped me re-energize my sales team at point when I felt I couldn’t do anything further to grow the business. To my surprise and delight, we started having some of our best years once I put in place a formal training program for my sales team.

My Most Sacred Lesson Learned

When I first started this company, I was a deeply driven man. I was bound and determined to succeed and do the right thing and make a lot of people happy by giving them a great fence for a great price. I created this company out of a desire to do everyone else in the business one better—I knew that if I had my own company and did things my way that I’d probably be a heck of a lot more successful. I pretty much controlled every aspect of the company and did everything I could to keep the lights on each year. Remember, I told you I was stubborn! I liked things done a certain way and during those early years, we got things done because I drove my team to its limits. For the first fifteen years, I was so committed to the company that I’m somewhat amazed that some of the original staff are still here!

When things really started to take off and the residential market in Frederick exploded, so did my perfectionist streak! Imagine trying to foolishly think you could control every aspect of running your business while more and more customers wanted a fence. Did I become my own worst enemy? Oh yes! Thankfully, I never had the major meltdown that some businesses owners experience. But as the company was steadily growing, I realized I was not happy with who I was.

When I recognized I was missing out on my family and my faith, that’s when things started to shift for me. I started studying the Bible again and reconnected to its many wondrous teachings.   The more I studied, the more trusting I became and I took to heart the lessons about letting go and opening my heart to others. I also learned what it means to be of service. My staff will readily tell you that in the past twenty years that I’ve mellowed quite a bit and am now a lot kinder, easier to work with, and a lot more fun.

One of things I’m most proud of is that I now serve on the board of the Frederick Rescue Mission and mentor folks whose lives need support. I love helping others see the bountiful gifts that life offers them through Christ’s teachings as His words have made my life infinitely better since devoting my life to them twenty years ago.

Preparing for What’s Next

Charlie and Diane Powers

Charlie Powers today, with his lovely wife, Diane. Thinking about what’s next in life as a new generation of Frederick Fence leadership begins…

This year Frederick Fence celebrates its 35th year in business and I am deeply humbled and proud that we’re still here. I cannot thank all our customers enough for their business and for making our company part of their homes. I am often humbled by the sight of our signs on people’s fences when I make my way around the area. It means that a lot of people placed their trust in our company and asked us to make their homes complete.

I also cannot thank my staff and advisors enough for their support these many years. Some of you have been with me since the beginning, some of you have made your careers here and I am so proud to know you wanted to work with me for so long. Of course, I also need to thank my wife, Diane, for her love and support. She’s my best friend in the world and she’s believed in me even on my worst day. I honestly would not be here if it weren’t for her.

Finally, I need to express my extreme thanks to my three children—Erin, Kelly and Todd—who are now make up the next generation of Frederick Fence leadership. I’m humbled that they chose to be a part of this business when they could have freely chosen something else to pursue. I can think of no greater honor than to see your own children wanting to follow in your footsteps. I hope I’ve taught you three well as this begins your time in making Frederick Fence a wonderful place to work and the best place for our customers when it comes to buying a fence!

Charlie Powers

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The Frederick Fence Story
Chapter 2: Anchored Posts for Future Success

April 9, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

When you examine what makes a great fence, you look to its posts to ensure they are properly set to hold up its sections. They provide strength and a strong foundation that help its pieces remain in place year after year. When you look at the history of Frederick Fence, you realize that Charlie Powers’ vision and his values are the posts for the company’s prolonged success. Though he remains humble about his achievement, it’s his strong work ethic, family-minded approach to his work and exceptional salesmanship that have contributed largely to Frederick Fence’s growth.

Expanding Perimeters for Success

To coincide with putting the finishing touches on its Grove Lane office in 1986, Charlie purchased Seneca Fence and inherited many of the company’s staff, including Louise Banard, one of the company’s most accomplished fence consultants who still works at Frederick Fence to the delight of her colleagues and clients. This purchase allowed Charlie to expand his sales territory while continuing to cultivate both a highly skilled sales team and installation center that accounts for the significant growth Frederick Fence experienced while the local economy grew.

As real estate prices soared closer to the DC area, residents and businesses began looking for more affordable properties farther from the DC line. The difference in the starting price of a home further up I-270 seemed to vary by $10,000 with each passing exit until you hit the highway’s end at the crossroads of Route 15 and I -70. As new commercial and residential developments cropped up within Frederick and its surrounding counties, so did opportunities for Frederick Fence. The real estate boom in the late 1990’s offered significant opportunities for Charlie and his small company to where it sometimes took 12 weeks to put a fence in the ground. “Just sell the fence” was Charlie’s motto, “we’ll worry later as to how to get it built!”

An Eye for Talent

To handle the increased business, Charlie developed a clear vision of how to sell and build fences that endure. He also became skilled at how to attract and retain talent. Powers credits himself for hiring the brightest and best people, many of whom would stay at Frederick Fence for decades before moving on. Jay Ely joined the company in 1983 and would eventually become Charlie’s business partner before leaving the firm in 2014. Randy Fouche, who joined the company in 1983 to “answer phones, pour concrete and work in the supply yard,” now serves as one the company’s accounting staff. When asked why he’s stayed for more than three decades, Fouche says he knew Charlie was building something “special and different” to where he now views Powers as less of a boss and more of a father figure who genuinely cares about people.

If you ask Kathy Crum, Frederick Fence’s Office Manager why she has stayed since joining the company in 1989 as a bookkeeper, she’ll express her extreme appreciation for Powers, whom she considers one of her closest friends and mentors. “Charlie valued my opinion and placed his trust in me—I got to help him create a lot of different programs to help with sales and other departments in the company. You don’t often get that kind of freedom in other places. And then there’s the family atmosphere, which really sets us apart from most companies. People love the sense of belonging at Frederick Fence; they invest early and stay for long periods of time.” At one point in time, five of the six sales people working for Charlie had seventy-five years of fence consultation between them.

The distinction Charlie makes about his staff’s longevity is simple: “People work with me, not for me.” For him, every person who walks through the doors of Frederick Fence—whether they are an employee, client or vendor, they are family. If you know Charlie, you recognize that family represents a cherished bond for him. “I wanted to build a place where people wanted to stay,” says Powers. “I learned early on that I wasn’t always the expert and so I learned to listen and ask questions. I also would read and try to keep up with the world as it was changing so I could grow the business and provide for not just my family, but every person who placed their trust in me to get the job done.”

Bordering a Solid Future

As the local housing market continued to thrive in the early 2000’s, so did Powers’ desire to expand his company. The decision to purchase land and build Frederick Fence’s current headquarters on Tilco Drive was an easy one. “We needed the space for inventory and I wanted to increase our wholesale and resale business since there was a high demand for it,” says Charlie. Relocating to Tilco Drive paid off handsomely as a significant portion of Frederick Fence’s revenues still comes from residents and DIYers who frequent the showroom that showcases the wide-array of fencing materials and accessories Frederick Fence offers. In 2010, the company expanded its capabilities by purchasing equipment to fabricate its own vinyl fencing, allowing the company to upgrade its product lines now as more residential communities want fencing solutions with greater curb appeal.

“The internet also played a big major part in our growth. I’ve never been one for mailers and coupons. I like the idea of folks finding us on the web because it’s easier for us to explain what we do and how we do it without having to resort to cheesy sales pitches and discount coupons to get people to want to do business with us.” While many small businesses spend ample time looking over the shoulders to see what the competition is doing, Charlie prefers to find ways to continue to do what he does best—offer the best fence products at affordable rates. To keep up with doing business in the digital age, Charlie invested in new technologies, such as laptops, a CRM tool, and the creation of a behavioral based training program for his staff, which he contributes to more than a decade of sustained sales growth—even as the real estate bubble burst in 2008. “Nothing happens until we sell something, so my focus has been on making sure we have a great product and awesome people to sell that product.”

Looking Back and Moving Forward

Since opening shop more than 35 years ago, Charlie Powers ensures that something is always happening at Frederick Fence. Although it meant lots of sacrifices and missing meals with his growing family in those early years, Charlie credits his faith in God as the basis for his success. His spirituality and passion for the Bible are equally as important to him as are the enduring relationships he’s had with his wife, Diane, their children and the staff at Frederick Fence. Ask Charlie and he’ll unashamedly tell you that God’s been his co-pilot his entire journey, even today as he plans for what’s next in his life.

One thing is certain. So long as Charlie continues to share his unique knowledge and wisdom, Frederick Fence’s story will continue for years to come.

In our next chapter, we’ll have Charlie reflect on his success and what he’s learned over the years in his own words!

To be continued….  

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The Frederick Fence Story
Chapter 1: Humble Beginnings

March 20, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

When you look at the reasons why most entrepreneurs start their own business—personal freedom, professional pride and a drive to succeed— you’ll find that Charlie Powers’ motivations for starting Frederick Fence in 1982 appear no different. Having worked for three fence companies, including Western Fence, where he held 25% ownership, Charlie was driven to succeed. “Why did I do this? I wanted to make a living and care for my family. I never thought about the money; I was discontent working for others and wanted to do things differently. I felt I could do better.”

Thirty-five years later, Charlie’s tenaciousness, natural sales ability and commitment to always do the right thing, have allowed him to build one of Frederick’s most successful small businesses. With a large lumber yard and showroom located on Tilco Drive, Charlie Powers managed to exceed his expectations and dreams of supporting his family. However, the company’s current geography was barely in sight when Charlie first started Frederick Fence.

Starting from Scratch

On day one of the company, all Charlie had was a strong back, a truck and his friend, Jon “JC” Wisner, to help with labor. Charlie’s father, Billy, gave his son a loan of $5,000 to get started, which Charlie paid back in less than one year’s time. Charlie’s wife, Diane-who was working at the Maryland School for the Deaf when the company started—also pitched in by acting as “administrative support” and answering phones. With no warehouse to store materials or equipment—such as a forklift or drill—Charlie and JC purchased materials as needed. Thanks to one of his former employers—Western Fence—who extended him credit for vehicles and equipment, Charlie slowly built up enough business and revenue to purchase his first bit of property off Route 355, just south of downtown Frederick.

The original loan documents that started Frederick Fence

The original loan documents that started Frederick Fence

For $50,000, in the form of a five-year note, Charlie purchased a half-acre piece of property off Grove Road in 1985. At the time, the road on which the property sat had no name so Charlie named it Grove Lane. Because he lacked the funds to build a permanent office initially, Charlie set up shop on Grove Lane in a small camping trailer that had no bathroom. For Diane, this meant she had to walk to McDonalds when nature called!

When Charlie set up shop, Frederick looked extremely different. Back then, the county’s population hovered below 129,000 and I-85 was still a two-lane road. You could still see a lot of corn fields alongside most roads before hitting the downtown area. Popular restaurants then were the Red Horse, Barbara Fritchie’s (with its infamous candy cane sign) and the Chat and Chew on Patrick Street. Frederick County still had Blue Laws in effect and the major downtown revitalization was just beginning. Because there was no internet, you had to rely on the yellow pages and ads in newspapers to get customers. When you look at what made Frederick Fence a success, you can narrow it down to one key word: salesmanship.

The Secret’s in the (Sales) Sauce

If Charlie Powers gave you a sales pitch for purchasing a fence, you pretty much bought it. His approach to sales was simple: Be direct, offer a good price and deliver a quality product. For Charlie, customers were like family; his desire was to treat them fairly and build the best fence possible. In the early days, there were several occasions where upon finishing the last fence panel, Charlie would review his work and yank the fence out of the ground and start over because he didn’t like how he’d done the job. He never wanted a customer to ever feel dissatisfied with their purchase. Charlie was also highly persistent.

Recognizing that partnering with home builders would prove critical to his success, Charlie would repeatedly stop by the offices of Ryland Homes to meet with Bob Pearson, who was a buyer for the company in the 1980’s. Charlie would stop by unannounced and wait for Pearson until finally he met with Charlie just to “get him out of the office once and for all.” Once they met, Charlie began forging a relationship with Ryland Homes to where many a Ryland homeowner in the Frederick area now has a fence with that infamous yellow and red sign hanging on a back panel.

Signs, in fact, were what helped Charlie experience much of his early success. Instead of spending money on large ads, Charlie hung signs on his completed projects, which still serve as one of his best marketing tools. “A well-built fence sells itself,” says Powers. “When you put your name and company number on a fence, people will call because they know you can deliver.” Before there were toll-free numbers available and calls to certain parts of Maryland were considered long distance calls, Charlie was granted the use of Western Fence’s phone number—the same one still on the signs today: 301 663-4000—for use in the Frederick area. Having access to this already published number afforded Charlie the opportunity to increase his sales at a consistent pace. When he originally designed the signs and his logo, he purposely chose the Maryland colors of yellow, red and black as a symbol for creating community with each fence built.

Prior to setting up shop on Grove Lane, Charlie had four trucks and a handful of employees. Once he put his first trailer on the property, he increased his sales and installation staff to 15 and purchased a second trailer before finally building a small office in 1986. Charlie then rented a second piece of property across the street from Grove Lane so he could store inventory for fence materials and additional trucks.

If you ask Charlie if he expected this to happen, he’ll readily admit that this 35-year trajectory comes as a bit of a surprise to him. “Honestly, I thought I would still be digging holes,” Charlie says. The thought that he would go from a man with a strong back, a truck and one loyal friend (who is now Frederick Fence’s Operations Manager) to a business that operates with sustained success still humbles him.

In fact, once Charlie built his actual office building (with-finally-a working bathroom), things began to shift and the life of Frederick Fence took a surprising turn…

To be continued….  

 

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