Trench and foundation pricing: Back Hoe  -- Tractor Attachments Implements 3ph Discussion Forum and Review Trench and foundation pricing: Back Hoe -- Tractor Attachments Implements 3ph Discussion Forum

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 04-20-2001, 09:16 Post: 26968
Arnie



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 Trench and foundation pricing

I have a John Deere 855 with a Kelly backhoe. What is a fair price to charge customers for digging trenches or building foundations (footers)? Do most operators charge by the linear foot? Normally the size of the footers are 3' deep by 2' wide, trenches vary in width. I've been asked to dig some trenches and footers, just wondering if any of you do this, or have a good idea of what to charge for the work. Thanks in advance.






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 04-20-2001, 09:50 Post: 26969
Rob Munach



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 Trench and foundation pricing

Most guys around here charge by the hour - about $80. That is for a real backhoe, not a compact tractor.Since it will probabaly take you twice as long - if not more, you would have to charge at least 1/2 the price per hour. At that rate, it may not be worth your time and the wear and tear on your equipment.






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 04-20-2001, 10:29 Post: 26974
JeffM



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 Trench and foundation pricing

Arnie, I agree with Rob that I would charge by the hour, and I think that $40/hr for a compact backhoe sounds about right if you are a decent operator. My retired uncle charges $40-60/hr for similar work with a larger, but older, backhoe. He is in a rural area and figures $25-40/hr covers his expenses, wear & tear, and machine transportation and $15-20/hr covers his time. Bigger, easier jobs close to him for good customers get the lower rates while smaller, tougher jobs that are farther away for tough customers get the higher quotes.






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 04-20-2001, 11:03 Post: 26977
Ted Kennedy



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 Trench and foundation pricing

Arnie, federal, state and local governments love to get into the act and spoil the fun of doing part-time small machine work. I've seen it happen so many times that it makes me angry and sad at the same time. If you aren't a legally registered business, don't have insurance, and get a taste for the easy money, you could get stung - badly. Now that I'm done pontificating, most landscapers I know who do small machine work in uncontested soil all charge the same, and that is: $150.00 to get the machine to the job site including up to 3 hours as the minimum charge; $50.00 a half hour after the 3rd hour; plus tax. We never shut down the machine if the customer is home from the start, having shown him/her the hour meter when starting and when the key is switched off after the machine is put on the trailer at the end of the job. I take a half hour to eat with no other breaks if its going to be a long job, otherwise, the machine is constantly working. What happens when the going gets tough and your small machine can't cut it? On your own land that's one thing, on a customer's, now that could be cause for some interesting moments. Do you have access to a full size machine if you can't complete the job with yours? If you know the customer and are pals, what the hey, so you part pals. If you go into the deal cold, things could get hot as most states require the contractor to either complete the deal as agreed, or clean up their mess at their expense before leaving the job. And what Mother Nature has hiding for you under the surface can be very difficult for your machine to handle - go into the deal making the customer aware of your limitations and what your plan is if you can't finish the job. If you come across as being fair, chances are they'll be fair too, and you'll both make out. Be flexible on your price. Good luck.






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 04-20-2001, 11:45 Post: 26978
JeffM



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 Trench and foundation pricing

Ted, sounds like good advice from the voice of experience.






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 04-20-2001, 16:34 Post: 26992
Paul Fox



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 Trench and foundation pricing

I have a Woods 650 hoe on a JD750 tractor. At 6.5 foot maximum, (4' practical) working depth, and limited reach, I stay away from major jobs like foundations. I get all the work I want to do at $35/hr doing water lines and electrical lines, uncovering septic lines and access manholes, and occasionally, a little ditching. I have standing deals with local plumbers and electricians, and I've never had a complaint. I've accepted a couple of bigger jobs, for which I rented a small Takeuchi trackhoe for $200 a day, and made money on the deal. Having 360 degree swing and being able to move without getting out of the seat saves an incredible amount of time. The point about liability insurance is a good one. If you snag a septic line, you can fix it. If you snag a telephone cable or a gas line, you are ROYALLY screwed. Call Dig Safe before doing ANY digging inside city limits or in suburban areas. I live waaaaayyyyy out in the puckerbrush, so I don't have to worry about it as much. Good thing too, because (assuming you can even GET coverage) liability insurance for excavators is EXPENSIVE!






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 04-20-2001, 18:44 Post: 27006
Arnie



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 Trench and foundation pricing

Thanks for all the good advice. I have an appointment to get the lisence and be registered. I also have an appointment with my insurance agent. I have also checked out National Contractor Estimator book and got some prices from the backhoe section. I am also aware of the "unknowns" under the surface and I will have to tell the customer my limitations. The one reason I'm getting into this is, a fairly large housing area has to hook up to the city water and sewer. Their septic tanks must be unhooked and backfilled,and of course they need to be hooked up to the new line. In many of the cases there is not room for a big backhoe in their back lot. I hope it's worth my effort!! Thanks again.






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 04-21-2001, 17:57 Post: 27059
Ted Kennedy



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 Trench and foundation pricing

Arnie, you have a good game plan. Many contractors are happy to sub-contract just the kind of work you are talking about. A suggestion, and that is, offer a "turnkey" package. For only a small amount of effort on your part you can offer: open and close trench, rough and/or final grade, and seed. Besides the hoe and FEL you'll need a rake, but that could be rented if you don't have a lot of startup capital. I think you'll do O.K., best of luck.






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 04-21-2001, 19:43 Post: 27061
Mike K



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 Trench and foundation pricing

Arnie

Might want to consider trading the tracotr in for a compact Excavator. IT is designed to perform the work you are talking about. It will probably pay for itself in the time you save alone.






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Discussion Boards > Active Subjects > Messages as Posted > Back Hoe Forum

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Arnie 2 | JeffM 2 | Mike K 1 | Paul Fox 1 | Rob Munach 1 | Ted Kennedy 2 |




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