View Full Version : 12 yards of dirt and one man?

04-15-2001, 11:12 PM
I just got a call from a new client that wants 12 yards of fresh dirt moved from a pile to a new bed 12 ft. away. He doesn't want machinery used in the area. Also he wants 30 azaleas planted in the bed and some daylilies moved into the bed. My ? is how long would it take for one man to move 12 yds of dirt with shovel and wheelbarrow? I figure about 2-3 hours to plant the azaleas in fresh soil. That seems like a lot of back breaking work, but it's in very nice section and could mean more work. I got this from being seen in this neighborhood while doing some other bed work.

04-15-2001, 11:22 PM
You should be able to move 2-3 yards an hour depending on your physical condition, weather that day, size of wheelbarrow, etc.

Excuse me. I mean, I could...

Actually, Ill let you know exactly how long, during the week, as Im having two, 12-yard loads delivered to my own home, one tomorrow the other the next morning.

[Edited by thelawnguy on 04-15-2001 at 10:25 PM]

John DiMartino
04-15-2001, 11:45 PM
That is the perfect job for the steiner 420/430-with dual tires,and the front loader,it could do that job,with less turf damage than your feet/wheelbarrow,and in much less time.I dont use my Steiner's loader much,but it is nice for that type of work.I don know if anyone rents them there,but its the hot setup for that job.

04-15-2001, 11:58 PM
Depending on the distance you're traveling with the wheelbarrow, you should be able to move 1 6cu ft wheelbarrow every 3 minutes. About 5 wheelbarrows per yd gives you 15 minutes per yard. 1 hour you'll move 4 yards. 3 hours you'll move all the soil.

Now this is assuming a certain level of physical conditioning. I'm not in that physical condition at this point in the season, but will be in a month. You should be able to do the whole job in a day.

Make sure to charge more because he wants it all done by hand. :)

04-16-2001, 12:01 AM
I just moved about 5 yds the other day and it took me almost 3 hrs but I was going a bit farther than 12 ft and it was NOT nice topsoil(rocks roots and wet!) I did take alot of breaks but it was hot that day..I also was not getting paid as it was in my own yard so with a little prodding it could have been done faster Im sure.

Just my $.63 cents worth of info!


04-16-2001, 12:05 AM
Boy Stone you would have had to fire me!!!

04-16-2001, 02:40 AM
personly i would use a tarp and drag it. you can take 4x the amount with every swip. but this would mean that you would have to have strong legs, which you might not have, this i could do because of lifting everyday. good luck to ya.

just my 8 cents worth

04-16-2001, 10:29 AM

Not sure if you own a machine, but if it is only 12 ft away, why not use a machine. I understand that they may be 'those types' that do not want any damage on their lawn, but for 12 ft worth of ruts, a machine would sure make the job go quick. If anything, you can lay 4 pieces of sod down to cover the damage.

I love these people who 'insist' not to have a machine. Then, when you give them a price for a full days HARD LABOR, they flip out. IF you had a machine, you'd be done in 30 minutes. Better yet, if the guy had the truck that dumped it there back up 12 more feet, there would be no work at all.

Maybe you don't own a machine, but this would be a perfect job as a 'fill in' when you do. What I mean is, if you rent a machine for another job, make time to stop there quick and spread the dirt.

Maybe the site is unaccessible or something, but people that 'refuse' machininery just make me laugh.

If anything, make sure to get a good days pay for all the extra work. This to me sounds like one of those typical DIY's, who sees the job as being easy and decided that he could save a 'LOAD' of money by ordering the materials himself. I'd hammer him on the price. Sounds like he should of called you first before he decided to get 12 yards dumped on his property. No planning at all!

Sorry about getting a little carried away. I just hate these people who cut corners and then want you to bust your but because of a mistake they made. Seen too many jobs like this.

By the way, this job has 'toro dingo' written all over it!


[Edited by steveair on 04-16-2001 at 09:39 AM]

04-16-2001, 09:59 PM
I have to agree with Steve on this one.I would get me a couple of sheets of plywood and my Dingo and knock it out in no time.I moved a tandem dump load from the cull-de-sac to the back of a house in an hour last week.

04-16-2001, 11:13 PM
Ok got thinking!

get a old grain elevator the paddle type , a small section 12 or 14 foot long with a electric or gas motor on it. set one end on the ground and the other on two or three cement blocks put the dirt on and watch it go! this works great for decks can't get there and its to low to the ground so the answer is the elevator look around old equipment yards or may be a rental yard or farm fertilizer plant .

theres always a different way to do things just look at it the other way!

j. morgan

04-16-2001, 11:16 PM
I went and looked at the job today and I think I'm going to have to pass on it. He wants the dirt dumped on his concrete drive and then taken thru a bed of daylilies and monkey grass. He also has drip irrigation running all thru the beds and to the trees surrounding them. I have a large old garden tractor with a 4' blade and chains and weights on it that would probably do this bed. I could cut the irrigation line and then patch them back together or lay some plywood or something on top of them. But I've got a bigger problem, he's got 5 or 6 other beds that are much less accessible than this one and I don't want to do one and leave the others hanging out there. There's one other thing my wife and I talked about this evening. We're working way too much and I've got to cut back. I'm neglecting to spend time with my family and her. We don't have any time to ourselves lately and it seems like everytime I do one of these jobs I end up getting 2 more. I really hate to turn work down but I'm afraid I'm going to have to start saying no. There must be huge need for people to do just this very type thing. He told me it is very hard to find someone to do this type of work. Most of the Lawn Cos. around here want to zip in and mow and get the heck out. I'm just not like that. Thanks everyone for the help on this one. If anyone in this area wants the job he's said he probably had 5-6 days worth of work for someone.

04-17-2001, 12:46 AM
Sounds like you just have a scheduling problem, not a work problem. Just don't promise to jump and run on these jobs. Work it into your schedule if its a good money maker for you but don't be afraid to say it will be one or two weeks until you can do it.