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  • Writer's pictureMicah Taintor

What Does Everything in My Contract Actually Mean?

Once you decide to partner with Thrive Fencing, we will send you a written Agreement aka Contract aka Proposal aka Pact aka Magna Carta Libertatum aka….well you get the point. In it are key terms and conditions, as well as the all-important Scope of Work (….stay tuned, more one that shortly).  Our attorney would advise a Contract that is 30+ pages, but we’ve taken his main points and condensed it into less than three pages (plus a couple good attachments).  Regardless, it’s a good idea to understand what you’re signing.

The first thing to verify is your name, address, and contact information. That way, we can be sure to show up at the correct site when the time comes to build the fence, and if anything changes, we are able to contact you with any updates.

The next thing on the contract is the Scope of Work. This is a brief description of the project and what is included or excluded. This usually contains the style, material, and height of the fence, along with the estimated total linear feet. This also includes the number of gates included in the price. If the final distance of the fence changes, or if the number of gates changes, the final price may change.

Next on the contract is pricing. The base pricing includes everything described in the scope of work. Additional costs may also be detailed here on a unit basis. These usually include any hand-dig holes near utility lines, and the option to haul off dirt from the holes we dig. Other costs may include demolition and haul away of an existing fence, or removal of brush or other things that may interfere with the fence. 

The following section is “Terms and Conditions.” A lot of people like to skip over that, but there is some important information included in that. 

Deposit required to get on schedule. There may be additional costs for haul off of dirt if Client requests and/or if there are hand-dig holes for utilities (state law). There may be a fee for a building permit plus a $25 administrative fee. See page 1 for possible additional costs. Contractor will not be responsible or held liable for delays in materials supply, Acts of God, governmental actions, or other causes beyond Contractor control. Increases in material or fuel costs may be passed on to Client.

First thing is the deposit. In order to get onto the schedule, we require a deposit. This is based on the cost of the project, and can be refunded less our costs from preparing for your project if you choose to cancel. 

Client is responsible for location of property lines and all utilities including septic systems not located by 811 "One Call". Contractor is not responsible for damage to sprinkler systems, fiber optic or Internet lines, or septic systems whether marked or unmarked. Contractor will make reasonable efforts to avoid underground Internet lines. However, due to their fragile nature, Contractor will not be liable for their damage, and Client agrees to cover costs for any repairs, or Client may choose an alternate location for the fencing to avoid Internet lines.

Before every job, we call in for utility locates with 811 “One Call.” They locate utilities owned by the city and certain companies. They usually locate internet, electric, gas, water, and city-owned sewage and drainage pipes. They do not locate private utilities such as that electric line you and your cousin ran to your shed.  They also do not locate irrigation lines or septic systems. If those lines are unmarked, we have no way of knowing how to avoid them when we dig or drive posts.  It’s best if you have your irrigation company mark those lines (which can still be a guessing game). 

We also ask you to find your property pins before we come to build your fence. We can attempt with our metal detector (assuming the pins are still there), or help engage a surveyor to do so.  Your municipality or neighbor may raise a stink if your fence exceeds your property….and we’ll bet you don’t want to pay to have your fence installed twice. Check out our youtube video for more information Fence Location.

Client is responsible for understanding of and compliance with all HOA guidelines and development covenants.

Next, you’ll need to know what is allowed by your homeowners association if you have one. Get their blessing in writing if required.

Client will complete attached checklist.

Attached to the end of the contract is a checklist. This is important to ensure the project goes smoothly and with necessary approvals (municipality, HOA, neighbors etc).

Soil conditions are unpredictable; Thrive Fencing cannot assure Client has proper soil compaction to support post footings (laterally or vertically). In the event that posts and/or footings move after soil settles, Thrive Fencing is not responsible and will not warranty the installation.

Minimize movement in footings and posts

We tamp the bottom of each hole to minimize the possibility of having footings shift (and subsequently, your posts go wonky).  In new housing areas, the developers typically scrape off the topsoil material to reach an engineer-designed elevation. Engineers design the layout and function of the neighborhood….locations of streets, where houses will be built, and of course where stormwater will flow. After a house is built, the builder then will re-grade the site (i.e. put dirt back) to final grade elevation, but typically won’t fully compact the replaced soil. So settling is common. Especially if your site has grade changes (i.e. on a hill), posts may shift as the soil material settles.

All materials for this project remain the possession of Contractor until the full project price, including any additional charges, are paid in full by Client. Client agrees to provide Contractor with irrevocable access to remove such materials until project is paid in full. Prior to completion partial payment may be required commensurate with progress to date. Payment in full is due upon completion of work. Credit card payment is available for a 3% fee. 1.5% interest per month starting from original invoice date will be charged on all past due amounts over 30 days.

If you do not pay us after the fence has been finished, we reserve the right to take our materials back. We thankfully have never had to do that.

Client accepts responsibility for location of fence and payment to Contractor is proof of acceptance. Client will cover any costs for removing or moving a fence in event of a dispute with neighbors or the municipality. If Client cancels project prior to installation, deposit will be refunded less any costs incurred by contractor including material restock fees and a $250 administration charge.

This is why we ask for property pins to be found. We have unfortunately had to move a few fences because the property line was not where the homeowner thought it was. If you cannot find the property pins, hiring a surveyor is the best option. They have tools and skills to find the property lines even when the pins are not visible.

Persons or companies furnishing labor or materials for the improvement of real property may enforce a lien upon the improved property if they are not paid for their contributions, even if the parties have no direct contractual relationship with the owner. The mechanics' notice and lien registry internet site provides a listing of all persons or companies furnishing labor or materials who have posted a lien or who may post a lien upon the improved property. If the person or company has posted its notice or lien to the mechanics' notice and lien registry internet site, you may be required to pay the person or company even if you have paid the general contractor the full amount due. Therefore, check the mechanics' notice and lien registry internet site for information about the property including persons or companies furnishing labor or materials before paying your general contractor. In addition, when making payment to your general contractor, it is important to obtain lien waivers from your general contractor and from persons or companies registered as furnishing labor or materials to your property. The information in the mechanics' notice and lien registry is posted on the internet site of the mechanics' notice and lien registry.
The MNLR Internet Web site address is and MNLR toll-free telephone number (1-888-767-8683).

The rest of this says (in a bunch of words) that in the event of non payment, we can post a mechanics lien on the property. In order to do this, we need to file a Notice of Commencement. When we do that, a postcard is sent to the address. This does not mean that we have put a lien on the property, it just gives us the ability to do so.

The last part of the contract contains a drawing of the fence. This is important to look at and make sure it is correct with what was planned and discussed because this is what we go off of when we make plans and order materials for the fence.

Finally, the attached checklist runs through the important decisions that need to be made when we start the fence. Some of those items are in the contract, and others are not. Filling out the checklist ensures there are no surprises when we show up to start work.

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