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mikecaldwell1204
10-09-2007, 12:10 AM
I need some help on this one as this will be my first digging of a pond. I need to dig a pond 50 feet by 200 feet with an average depth of ten feet. Soil is mostly sand with no trees. What would you guys recommend using an excavator or a loader? Any help would be appreciated.

GradeMan
10-09-2007, 12:54 AM
Excavator all the way, I would did a test hole first and see if you have a liner that will hold water{ clay, sub soil etc.. } If not you are wasting your time or paying a fortune to have clay hauled in. Just my two cents

Scag48
10-09-2007, 03:05 AM
Dozer, no doubt. With an excavator you'd have to handle the material like 5 times before you got it where it needs to be.

dozerman21
10-09-2007, 07:42 AM
Dozer, no doubt. With an excavator you'd have to handle the material like 5 times before you got it where it needs to be.

No way. You definetly want an excavator to throw it out, then have the banks sloped with a dozer. If you only have one machine to work with, a high lift or a dozer will do it, but it will take much longer. Even if you had to sub one part out or rent, definetly get an excavator in there. Sand can be a PIA for a crawler to get traction trying to push out material.

Dirt Digger2
10-09-2007, 05:07 PM
trackhoe with a truck to haul dirt onsite...if you cant get a truck then go with a trackloader...963 for that size pond...but your going to have a tough time holding water in sand and at 10feet down in florida you might even hit groundwater before you get to the full 10feet. i would go in first and dig a few perc holes and see whats down there

YellowDogSVC
10-09-2007, 06:41 PM
would definitely have an engineer sign off on a 10ft dam design. Safety first with earthen dams.

RockSet N' Grade
10-09-2007, 08:40 PM
Great ideas all.......do your homework first with perc tests, engineers, permits and yada-yada. Lots of ways to skin this cat. What kind of equipment do you have? Do you have a pic of the site?

mikecaldwell1204
10-09-2007, 09:38 PM
Just wanted to thank everyone for all of their help. I forgot to mention the pond is not in Florida it is in Michigan. Its a friend of the families the only reason Im doing it. Whatever I use will have to be rented as I only have a skid and a mini excavator thats why I was asking everyones opionion on what to use. I would like to have two machines there but I do not know if he is willing to pay for that so Im probably leaning towards the excavator and he can finish grading the sides at a later date if he would like.

P.Services
10-09-2007, 09:47 PM
what part of michigan are you in?

RockSet N' Grade
10-09-2007, 11:38 PM
If that is the case.........if you are proficient on an excavator, rent a 160 or larger sized machine and bring in a loader on the 2nd day. Make piles with the excavator and have your buddy move the piles the next day while you start at the end he has cleaned up and finish cut your bottom/sides and put that in piles for him to move again. That is assuming you guys have room for your "little" spoils pile of a couple thousand yards of dirt.........I would think it would be a wiser move to hire someone, sit and watch and learn while having a cold one........

mikecaldwell1204
10-09-2007, 11:52 PM
I tried to convince him to hire someone but he claims hes called for estimates and there outrageous. I just did the math and it comes out to about 3700 yards of dirt. Just curious what would you charge to have this done as Im now considering backing out after really thinking this through.

RockSet N' Grade
10-10-2007, 12:28 AM
Yeppir.........that's pretty close yardage wise, if there is no overcutting and everything is "perfect", which it never is. I guess outrageous is all relative. Think of it this way, it is 370 truck loads of dirt that have to be dug out, moved, and then replaced properly........welcome to the money game, opps, I mean dirt game.......Fuel here just went today from $3.20 a gallon to $3.34, prices were low yesterday and just went up on bids going out tomorrow. I would guess $30-$40k for a little tank like that would not be out of the park.....just guessing........

AWJ Services
10-10-2007, 03:08 AM
I would be curious if you can get it dug without getting into water.

I would rent a trackloader and get too work.
A 953 would make short work of the project.

In Floridas type of dirt an excavator is not needed unless you hit water.

Use your skid too help spread it when the loader gets it too a staging point.

I have a lake behind my house that was built with a box blade and a tractor thats over an acre.
Time is on my side however.:)

mikecaldwell1204
10-10-2007, 07:03 PM
Yeppir.........that's pretty close yardage wise, if there is no overcutting and everything is "perfect", which it never is. I guess outrageous is all relative. Think of it this way, it is 370 truck loads of dirt that have to be dug out, moved, and then replaced properly........welcome to the money game, opps, I mean dirt game.......Fuel here just went today from $3.20 a gallon to $3.34, prices were low yesterday and just went up on bids going out tomorrow. I would guess $30-$40k for a little tank like that would not be out of the park.....just guessing........


Wow I can see why he does not want to pay someone to do that as he wants it all done for 10 grand and thats with me renting the equipment. Friend of the family or not Im not touching this with a ten foot pole. Thank you though everyone for your advice I really appreciate it now.

Scag48
10-10-2007, 09:19 PM
I think it can be done for $10K. I still think a dozer would work, the cut is a little deep but you could make it work, especially if you don't have anyone to drive a truck around the site. Problem with an excavator is that you need another mode of transporting dirt around the site. I think a Cat 963 would probably be the best for this job. Either way, it's only 3700 cubic yards of material, that's not an astronomical amount. It would take no more than a week to do this job, easy. Rental for a week on a machine is gonna be $2K pretty easy, fuel will be somewhere in the $1,000 range, don't see how this job could really cost that much. Depends on how much you want to walk away with in your pocket, fuel and rental should be no more than $3500.

ksss
10-10-2007, 10:53 PM
I dug a hole that was approx 3000 yards to grade in 3 days. I used my 160 sized excavator and a 621 (3 yard) loader. You could make money at 10K but it wont be a great deal. Excavator rental for a 160 sized machine is $475 here. Loader was 400 I think. You could dig yours in three days since you wont have to hold a very tight grade and I was digging in a really tight area. you could leave with 5K in your pocket rather easily. Whether that is worth it or not is of course up to you.

SiteSolutions
10-10-2007, 11:57 PM
I think it can be done for $10K. I still think a dozer would work, the cut is a little deep but you could make it work, especially if you don't have anyone to drive a truck around the site. Problem with an excavator is that you need another mode of transporting dirt around the site. I think a Cat 963 would probably be the best for this job.

I agree...

If you aren't hauling it around / away in a truck, then you will be pushing it somewhere. I'd probably get a 953 / 963 because I am more comfortable with a loader, but either way you're mostly using it like a dozer. You can push a much bigger pile than you can carry.

Is this pond located such that you can berm it up around the sides?

I'd have to see it before I could give a price but if he's a good family friend, tell him you will do 10,000 worth of work on it. If you get 3/4 done and your costs start to approach $5,000, slick off the edges, say "voila", and have the rental co come get the equipment!

Make sure somebody up there has a big enough machine you can rent by the week, and get your account set up with them in advance. The Cat dealer here won't go less than a month on a 963, and he gets close to 10 grand for that. Doesn't leave much for fuel or your efforts. United gets around $600 - 700 a day for a 455 JD, which is a much smaller machine. I am guessing your costs will be close to $5000 for a week.

RockSet N' Grade
10-12-2007, 11:41 AM
If fuel and straight rental rates for pieces of equipment were the only factors in doing a job, any job, life would be good. No insurance, no breakdowns, no downtime, no hidden's on a job, no start up and shut down and restart, no red tape, free labor, and everything runs like clockwork, plus if you don't have any bills to pay for a couple weeks $10k may get 'er done. If you want the practice and feel the risk is worth the reward, it could be a good time. Working for family or friends and falling short on expectations, for me, is not worth it.....

RockSet N' Grade
10-12-2007, 12:45 PM
I guess I should qualify my thought process on this. You mentioned in the thread that the friend of the family got bids, assuming from legitimate contractors, and he thought they were outrageous and wanted you to do it for an amount he chose. My feeling on that whole type of deal is that this guy is out for himself and not looking out for your interests, and it sends out red flags to me. If this chap would let you see the bids, openly share the information with you and do it on a time and material basis.......it could be a good job and learning experience for you. I just hate to see someone holding all the cards holding a carrot out to someone that is not a win/win situation......

dozerman21
10-12-2007, 09:30 PM
Good points. If you go into it with the mindset that you're not going to make great money off of this job, and that you're helping a friend, getting a learning experience, you have free time to work on this job and not miss out on better paying jobs, etc... you get the picture. Then it could be a nice job.

Remember if you're renting equipment, you're going to need to get the pond finished in X amount of time, or else you're cutting into your profit. What happens if it rains for 3 straight days after you have the machine(s) delivered? Like RSG said, 10K would be good, but only if everything went smooth. I would allow some extra money for any hiccups you have along the way.

Good luck... I think it would be a fun job to tackle, just get your ducks lined up first so you don't take a big hit if something goes awry. I would work out a written agreement with your friend for the weather and other things that you can't control.

bigboy24
01-29-2008, 12:59 AM
I just came across your post while looking around. If you're still needing advice......
You're looking at around 15000 dollars. Fuel and rentals are killer now.:cry:
You only need a dozer....either a cat d-6 or seven. We push the top dirt past our dam line until we hit clay then take about 6" of clay out for the base of our dams which we then cover with the excess dirt. Works out nicely. Being as it is sandy soil....making test holes will save you in the long run. Hope that helps ya.

good luck and have fun with it!