Fencing is typically measured by the lineal feet of fencing.
To measure how much fence you need you will simply need to measure the length of fencing you need to install in lineal feet.
There are several technique you can use to measure the lineal feet of fencing needed:
If you have a good eye for lengths and distances you could visually 'eyeball' the measurement and guess your lengths of fencing needed to quickly estimate a rough fencing budget.
Another technique that can be used is your 'step length' or 'stride length'. If you know how many feet you take between each step, you can count the # of steps you take to calculate the total length.
A more accurate way to 'walk-off' a fence measurement is to use a rolling measuring tape. A rolling measuring tape can be used to measure the ground length more accurately on inclined or hilly yards.
A laser measuring tape can be a handy tool to quickly take measurements, however it won't be able to take into account hills.
Most Counties have a GIS mapping tool available that can be used to view the lot lines for residential lots. These GIS Maps generally have measurement tools that you can use to measure distances on the map to measure the length of your fencing.
Once you measure and calculate the lineal footage of fencing your property needs you can simply multiply the lineal footage by a price per lineal amount to calculate a rough budget for the fencing.
Below are some rough cost ranges for various types of fencing materials:
The type of material (wood, aluminum, wrought iron) will obviously affect the price of your fencing. Chain link fencing is the cheapest fencing option with wrought iron fencing being the most expensive.
The height of your fence will affect the cost of the material. A short 4 foot fence will be cheaper than an 8ft privacy fence.
The longer the fence, the more cost-effective the installation. If you are installing a short run of fencing (less than 50ft) then your price per LF will be more expensive than a larger project (economies of scale)
If the fence has polygonal shapes, corners it will require more layout and more posts which will increase the price.
Gates can cost around $250 to $750 to install depending on the size & material, so make sure you include those in your estimate.
Fencing contractors will generally provide an all inclusive bid to 'furnish and install' all labor and fencing materials on the project.
Here is an example of how to write a Scope of Work that insures your Fencing Contractor provides an all-inclusive bid.
All Fencing work is to be Contractor Purchased, Contractor Installed.