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Happy Holidays from Everyone at Frederick Fence!

December 23, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

FenceChristmas

Happy holidays from Erin, Todd, Charlie, Kelly and Diane Powers!

Before we all take a little time off this week to honor and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, we want to take a moment to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.  No matter what holiday you celebrate this time of year, we hope that each of you have a joyful holiday season with your family and friends.  Our wish is that everyone throughout the world find peace in their hearts and that we all learn to take better care of each other.

Thank You For a Fantastic Fence Season

Frederick Fence had an amazing 2017, thanks to you, our amazing family of clients.  As you may have read in this blog, our company celebrated its 35th year in business, an achievement we know is made possible thanks to the thousands of clients who chose us as their vendor for a fence solution.  We’re extremely proud to serve each one of you—we consider every client to be part of our family.  We value your patronage and we truly appreciate knowing that many of you have stayed with us as you’ve moved to bigger homes or have moved out on your own and chose us to put a fence around your first home.  We are truly humbled in our success when we think of all the great people we’ve serviced for nearly four decades. This was a monumental year for our company as we officially changed leadership since opening our doors many years ago.  Our founder, president and original owner, Charlie Powers, officially transferred ownership of Frederick Fence to his children—Erin, Kelly and Todd—and they are all happy and proud to be part of the next generation of Frederick Fence.

Our Newest Addition

Finn

Meet the newest Frederick Fence member: Finn Maddox Orman!

At Frederick Fence, we are pleased to announce the newest addition to the Frederick Fence family: Finn Maddox Orman, born to Perry Kelly (Powers) Orman, our Retail Sales Manager and Owner.  Charlie Powers, of course, is overjoyed to have a new grandchild to spoil!

See You in 2018

We hope that you and yours have a safe and prosperous new year and that you have the best year possible in 2018!  So long as the weather holds out and the ground doesn’t freeze any time soon, we’ll still be here to help you with any of your fencing needs.  Whether it’s a new fence, a small repair or materials for your own fence build, Frederick Fence is open for business.  If you have a question about a product or material, you can either click on our chat feature or just give us a call! Happy holidays, everyone!

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Winter Warning: Get Your Fence Repairs Done Now!

December 15, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

broken-fenceTemperatures are falling, holidays decorations are up, and hopefully by now you’ve remembered to shut off your outside faucets so that nothing bad happens while we experience chilly scenes of winter the next few months.  Before you settle in for the long cold spell here in the NOVA/MD area, we encourage you to take a few minutes and walk along your fence line to make sure that your fences are fine and that you’re not in need of any repairs.

If there’s a warped board or two or your fence panels are starting to lean, it’s best to get them fixed before we have our first major snow as a dense snow fall can sometimes prove detrimental to a fence that’s starting to fall apart.  Since our area can also experience an ice storm or two in the middle of winter, you may also consider trimming the branches on trees that may tend to droop or fall over should they end up covered in ice.

Here are a few of our tips for making sure your fence survives the winter months so you can return to the great outdoors and enjoy your yard once the warmer temperatures return:

Taking Care of Wood Fences in Winter

Check your wood fence and make sure that there are no warped boards or panels.  A heavy snow can easily create more damage.  Remember, it’s not just the snow that causes damage, it’s also the heavy winds and freezing temperatures that can wreak havoc on your fence’s structure.

If you own a split rail fence, make sure that the snow doesn’t tend to settle on any one section as the weight from the snow can cause the rails to break in the middle section.

If you’re a dog owner and you tend to let your dogs take care of their business in your yard instead of taking them for walks in winter, just make sure that your dogs refrain from trying to dig themselves out of your yard during cold weather.  Yes, sometimes your four-legged loved ones can damage your fence, especially if they’re left to their own devices in the cold.

Got a new snow blower and can’t wait to use it?  Just remember not to get to close to your fence or bump up against it while removing the snow as you could easily damage your fence should the rotors rub up against the lower portion of the fence panels.  Those high speed snow blowers are great and we recommend buying one if you live in our area; just don’t lose control of your machine and let it hit the fence—especially if you have a gate that straddles a walkway!

Inspect Your Vinyl (Aluminum and Wrought Iron) Fence

The good news about vinyl fence is that its maintenance free and so the most you may need to do during winter is wipe it down if any yard debris has left any kind of stain on the panels.  As long as your fence panels are set in concrete with posts at least three feet deep, you should be fine.  However, if you’ve purchased a home with an existing vinyl fence, we encourage you to check the integrity of your fence’s structure after any winter storm to make sure there are no panels that need reinforcing.

picket-fence-in-snowLikewise, if you own an aluminum or wrought iron fence, there’s not much you need to do to prepare for winter; just remember to take a walk and ensure your fence’s structure remains intact should we experience a brutal winter storm.

The only real danger for these types of fences are trees that may fall should they be subject to extreme winds and freezing rain.

Need a Fence Repair Now?

Regardless of whether or not we installed your fence, our service teams are happy to come out and repair your fence.  Depending upon the magnitude of the repair, we can take care of it while you’re away from home!

Need to replace a board or two and need materials?  Stop by our showroom on Tilco Drive during regular business hours and we’ll be more than happy to get you what you need to repair fencing issues.

To get started, either use our online chat feature to discuss a fence repair cost estimate or give us a call to schedule your repair or materials pick up!

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6 Tips for Building a Split Rail Fence

November 25, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

Traditional wood split rail fence is both economical and fairly easy to install.

Traditional wood split rail fence is both economical and fairly easy to install.

Homeowners like split rail fences as they are among the simplest and most economical type of fence to build.  Drive around the rolling hills of the western Maryland area and you’re sure to see quite a few of them surrounding some lovely farms or gorgeous homes in suburban areas.  To many of us at Frederick Fence, there’s nothing more gorgeous than a split rail fence—they’re one of the most decorative and you can now build them using vinyl, which means the sections will never warp or fade!  A majority of the time you’ll see split rail fence covered with welded wire, which helps keep your children and pets in the yard and pesky critters like deer and rabbits off property.

Adding a split rail fence to your yard augments its appearance with a natural, rustic beauty. Split rail’s design is simple and it’s one of the easiest fences for a first time DIYer.  If you’re considering building a split rail fence soon, here are seven tips to help you build fence that will make your process easier:

 

  1. Consider installing a split rail style gate.  It’s a lot easier than installing a picket gate fence.  However, if you want to install a picket gate and are not sure how, call us for help!
  2. Make sure to set your posts on 10’6” centers.  Rails for a split rail fence are 11’ tip to tip.  The ends of rails are tapered or “paddled” so they can overlap when they are put in the post. If you set you posts 10’6” from the center of post to center of post, this will give you the perfect space to accommodate the rails.
  3. Rails should overlap 3” on either side. If you have less overlap, the rail are more likely to fall out over time, if your posts are too close, you can’t overlap too much and the rails won’t fit.
  4. Secure your rails with a nail on the ends and corners, and short sections.  These portions of fence are the most likely to move.  The ends are corners are called terminals and bear a lot of the load.  The short sections are custom built and need to be secured to avoid any rails falling out.
  5. Dry pack all post holes with about 25 lbs of concrete.  This will keep them in place even among the harshest of weather conditions.  If your posts are not properly set, your fence may become less sturdy over time and you may find yourself re-installing some sections if we have to endure a lot of harsh weather during winter and spring.
  6. Your gate opening should be 2” wider than the width of the actual gate panel in order to accommodate for the hardware
3 rail vinyl fence

Vinyl split rail fence is the perfect fence for DIYers wanting to install one fence to last a lifetime that requires little to no maintenance!

Got more questions on building a split rail fence? You can chat with us online or just stop by our showroom on Tilco Drive—we’re open weekdays until 5 PM during winter and we’ll be open on Saturdays from early spring through late fall—we’re happy to offer you everything you need to build a split rail fence!

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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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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

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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.

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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 fencing 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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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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The Frederick Fence Story: A Tale Worth Telling

March 1, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

This year, Frederick Fence celebrates its 35th year as a small business, which is no small achievement for most businesses operating in the virtual/digital age. Founded in 1982 by Charlie Powers, the company grew from a start-up with a truck and a man with a plan to being one of the region’s most respected vendors in the fencing/home improvement industry.

Frederick Fence’s customers are loyal ones—a significant amount of the fences they sell today are to either customers who purchased a fence for one home that have moved to a new one or they’re the friends, family and neighbors of these customers. Likewise, commercial vendors and country governments often make repeat use of the company’s fence solutions.

When you look at the employees who work at Frederick Fence now, you’ll find that some of them have been on board almost all their adult careers, a rare achievement in today’s business world.

How did this happen?

What makes Frederick Fence such a special company among its customers, vendor partners, and staff? Why do people stay here for years and years? Why do customers keep coming back time and again for a fence? How has this one fencing company weathered so many storms? Whether it was the dot-com bubble burst, the crowded expansion of the home improvement and fencing industry, the collapse of the real estate market or the global financial crisis, or the advent of the digital age, Frederick Fence continues to survive and now thrive as its founder begins the next chapter in his life.

We think there’s a story worth telling.

For the next several months, we plan to devote some of our blog entries to telling the Frederick Fence story. From our humble beginnings in 1982 to our large showroom and supply yard—still headquartered in Frederick, Maryland from the day we opened for business. We’ll share how we got to where we are today and where we think we’re headed with the next generation of Frederick Fence leadership.

You’ll hear a lot from Charlie Powers, our founder, as well as from some of Charlie’s personal mentors, our devoted staff, some of our business partners and our most loyal customers.

And we’d like your help!

If you’ve been a past customer of Frederick Fence and have a special anecdote or experience you’d like to share with us as part or story, please reach out to Jim Jenkins, our official historian and blogger. You can reach him by leaving a message for him using our online chat feature or leave a message for him through our contact page. The deadline for an upcoming piece on Frederick Fence from our Customer’s Point of View is April 15, 2017.

Look for Chapter One: Humble Beginnings to appear online soon!

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Debunking the Myth…You CAN Install a Fence in Winter!

February 10, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

Even though Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow—meaning we’re all in for six more weeks of winter—now’s one of the best times of year to install a fence!

What? Seriously? You’re thinking “But it’s winter! Isn’t it too cold to install a fence?”

Just because we’re roughly six weeks away from the official start of Spring (March 20, 2017 to be exact), doesn’t mean you have to wait until the weather gets warm to put a fence around your property. Yes, the outdoor home improvement industry does slow down during colder months, but that’s typically because most homeowners hibernate indoors during winter. Unless the ground is truly frozen solid several inches below the surface, installing fences in winter is still possible. That’s right, even if we get a few inches of snow—as long as it’s not frozen solid and caked with ice, you can still install fences in winter.

Advantages to Buying a Fence NOW!

Here we are in early February and look at the weather conditions for the DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Southern Pennsylvania areas. We’ve had a few days where the unseasonal highs were in the 70-degree range and the lows have barely dipped below the low 30’s. True, we may still see a bit of snow and who knows how low the temperatures will go, but the environmental conditions outside lend themselves nicely for digging three-foot post holes that serve as the guide for fencing installation.

Buying in February and March also means that your fence project ends just as many your neighbors begin shopping for fence. That means longer waits to get permits approved, longer delivery times for getting the fence installed and the less time you have to truly enjoy your outdoor creation once the warm temperatures settle in and you start wishing it would snow or turn cold again.

If your idea of the perfect fence for your home is a custom design—one that includes ornate lattice work, a vibrant vinyl color or a unique logo welded to your driveway gate—now’s the best time to get started on your fence project. Custom work always takes longer because manufacturers keep a low inventory on special materials. If you want an iron gate that has trees, geometric patterns or your family name welded in a decorative font, these orders take time. During the summer months, people are surprised when they hear highly ornate fence materials can take as long as six to eight weeks to produce. That’s because there’s a high demand for custom work in summer and there are—realistically—only so many local vendors who specialize in custom fabrication of fence materials.

If you know you want something new and different that creates maximum curb appeal and sets you apart from your neighbors, get that fence project started now while there’s a lull!

Waiting until mid-June to get started on a fence project means more waiting to get what you want. Calling this time of year means your fence project can go in the ground even faster than getting your tax refund (You do know that April 15th is not that far away either!)!

Even if You’re Just Thinking About it….

If you’ve planned ahead for your home improvement needs and a fence is on your list, give us a call now or click on our online chat feature and see how easy it is to get your fence project underway. We think you’ll be surprised at how short the timeline will be.

You can also use our free online estimate tool, which gives you a realistic idea of how much your fence will cost! And, of course, any of our fence experts are more than willing to come to your home and walk you through a variety of options should you want some advice on the best fence to meet both your needs and your budget.

And Just in Case the Big Chill Happens…

If the weather does dip and things turn bitter cold and we’ve only just begun work on your fence, don’t worry! As soon as the ground thaws, we’re right back out there to get your job done in time for spring!

Still have questions about winter fence installation? Call us at 1-800-49FENCE!

 

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  • Frederick Fence Co.
    1505 Tilco Drive
    Frederick, MD 21704
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    301-663-4000
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