Lumber Firm Builds Profitable Fence Division

Article as PDF

“You might say we worked our way into fencing, A gradually at first, then wholeheartedly.” That’s the way Robert J. Soave describes the last 10 years of the company which he now manages and co-owns—the Standard Fence Company, 4880 Jason St., Deliver, Colorado.

Emerging from a stint in the Armed Services in 1957, he decided he would join the lumber company which his father had been operating for 25 years, the Standard Lumber & Hardware Co., also in Denver. After a few years went by, he made a study of the fence market and decided it had possibilities. On a limited scale, tho company went into fencing.

Business was so encouraging that in 1963, the company purchased three acres of land at the above location, erected a new building, and in 1984 went into fencing full scale, as a division of the lumber firm. After doubling the dollar volume each year for several years, business continued its strong improvement, and Scavo’s estimate for 1987 is a 25 percent increase over last year. Annual dollar volume is now in the medium six-figure bracket.

The huge majority of jobs, about 90 percent, are in residential fencing, with 75 percent in wood and the balance in chain link, the source of supply of the latter being the CF&I Steel Corporation, Denver.

As a specialist in wood fence, the company manufactures all its own styles (the basic and most popular ones) in redwood, western red cedar, and inland white cedar. The white cedar is obtained direct from a mill in Minnesota, and is shipped by truck either in fabricated sections or loose, in pickets. Redwood is purchased from brokers, by the carload, since the firm has its Own siding trackage, serviced by the Denver & Rio Grande NJ/astern Railroad.

“We specialize,” Scavo explains, “because we believe there is a better profit margin in wood. The basic styles boil down to about 10, the most popular style being red cedar pickets, 214, 3, and 4″ wide, in all heights—we fabricate a great deal of our stockade from these pickets. I feel that people are becoming more conscious of architectural styling, and I agree with them that fences should not stand out like a sore thumb, but should blend in with the background…

At peak season, the company uses about nine installation crews, keeping five on a permanent basis. During the slow season, they fabricate gates and wood fence panels. ‘So far as is possible,” Scavo explains, we try to have the crews specialize, assigning some to stockade; some to redwood styles other than stockade; and some to chain link.