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View Full Version : What to Charge for landclearing?


ASCHAL45
01-27-2008, 08:52 PM
Wanting to dabble a little in land clearing just wondering how you land clearing pros charge?

P.Services
01-27-2008, 08:54 PM
it varies from job to job depending on: how dense are the trees, can chips be left there, stumps pulled, location. check out my link to see some of the job i was doing. that fecon runs about $150- $200 an hour to give you an idea

AWJ Services
01-27-2008, 08:59 PM
Wanting to dabble a little in land clearing just wondering how you land clearing pros charge?

Do you mean underbrush removal or actual Land Clearing for lawns and new construction?

bobcat_ron
01-27-2008, 10:25 PM
A 200 size excavator should be charging in the range of $100-$115 per hour depending on conditions, add a brush cutter head to it and get another $40-$60 per hour.

Per hour is best, if you go buy square footage or acreage and you sink your machine out of sight, you'll lose your shirt.

ASCHAL45
01-27-2008, 10:41 PM
underbrush removal

AWJ Services
01-27-2008, 10:52 PM
With a skid and a mulching head 100 per hour is the going rate in my area.

With my Tractor and heavy duty bush hog I get 65 an hour.A lot less maint and alot cheaper to run.
About 20% of my buisness is this type of work.

ASCHAL45
01-28-2008, 12:39 AM
I will be clearing mostly ceder thickets with some trees being as big as 12 inches any advice on what setup to use was wanting to stay with using a skid steer

AWJ Services
01-28-2008, 07:37 AM
Thats Skid Steer/mulching head territory.

Yellowdogsvc is a member here and the resident expert on this type of buisness.

The mulching buisness is almost nonexistent here in Georgia.
In other areas it is pretty big.Hence the low price for getting it done.

Here is a link to a demo with a Cat and a mulching head.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=212320

Kepple Services
01-28-2008, 08:35 PM
That is mulcher area of expertise. If not availible you could get away with a rotary mower, but it would take longer. Just depends on what you have availible to you.

SouthernLandworks
01-28-2008, 10:55 PM
For me it varies on job to job but I get $100 an hour with my trackhoe, $45 and hour for tractor work, $50 an hour for Skid steer, $40 an hour with the trencher. All of these are 2 hour minimum. If im running 2 or 3 pieces of equipment at one place I usually cut a discount. My hauling rates vary greatly.

RockSet N' Grade
01-28-2008, 11:20 PM
At $45 an hour for my tractor and $50 per hour for my skid, I would plain and simple be out of business......I have seen many come and go - heavy on the go part because they charge those rates and then when repairs come around or an unexpected they are flat broke. We are $65 hr. for grading tractor, $75 hr. for a skid, $110 hr. for 18,000 lb mini. It may be a regional thing for price differentials, but I still don't get running a piece of equipment for $45 an hour. At that rate, you would be better off hanging it up and becoming a welder and gross $80-$100 per hour with near zero mechanical maintenance.

SouthernLandworks
01-28-2008, 11:38 PM
All of my equipment is paid for, I get most parts and all maint. items for cost, and the last diesel I bought was for like $2.10. Its also not my main source of income. I farm and am a part paid fireman.

YellowDogSVC
01-29-2008, 12:20 AM
I'm thinking 12" trees are beyond the rated maximum of most skid steer mulchers. Myself, if I can get the customer to agree to the extra steps, would use a tree shear for anything 10" and up and either stack for grinding or chipping. It's a lot cleaner to shear and stack and chip or grind than grind larger cedars in place especially if it is a thicket as you mentioned.
If the piles are here and there, you can consolidate the shreds and not have so many larger shredded stumps sticking up. This is just the way I do things but I lose a lot of business to straight brush mowing guys (but I get hired to fix things later).
A 70 hp + skidsteer and a 20" tree shear should be ample. If you don't have a grapple, you could use the shear to carry the 12" trees and stack them for a chipper guy to come in.

YellowDogSVC
01-29-2008, 12:25 AM
All of my equipment is paid for, I get most parts and all maint. items for cost, and the last diesel I bought was for like $2.10. Its also not my main source of income. I farm and am a part paid fireman.

...down here a lot of guys run ag exempt (tax exempt) equipment when their farms get slow. They have $5 farm trailer tags whereas I pay $130 per year for my tags. I also pay hefty sales tax on my machines. I have a ranch but it wouldn't be honest to run my ranch equipment on commercial jobs so we bite it and pay sales tax. Anyway, around here, you can find $50/hr skid steer work from farmers and ranchers looking to make some cash clearing. I compete against them all the time and it's disheartening to lose a bid to an uninsured guy who is using an unfair advantage in his pricing scheme.

Not saying you do the same thing but it's common in my neck of the woods.

Gravel Rat
01-29-2008, 01:38 AM
It all depends on what the owner of the property wants. Landclearing for us is stripped bare nothing left. Mowing the underbrush never works around here it grows back too fast got to rip it out by the roots and burn it.

Most contractors give a homeowner a estimate to see how bad the squeel factor will be. If the homeowner/landowner starts squeeling like a pig when you start quoting off prices its probably a job you don't want to do.

If the job looks basic charge buy the square foot if the job looks like its going to be a tough one charge by the hour.

Find out what the person wants exactly done. Have them mark what trees or parts of the property they don't want touched. If your working in a area that they want to save some trees and you know its going to be a pain in the azz tell them. I don't know how many times I have been involved and the contractors I know have delt with is homeowners stupidity to try save trees that will 99% of the end up coming down because they are in the way.

Also for places like mine where a building lot may have couple grand worth of logs on it that can be sold to a mill. You have to find out what the homeowners want to do with the wood.

You will learn what works and what to charge.

ksss
01-29-2008, 02:10 AM
All of my equipment is paid for, I get most parts and all maint. items for cost, and the last diesel I bought was for like $2.10. Its also not my main source of income. I farm and am a part paid fireman.


If your working cheaper than everyone else in your area that does not make sense. If you have some advantages (cheap parts?) although none of what you mentioned is that much of an advantage. Having your equipment paid for does not change anything but create a false illusion that can charge less. Do yourself and everyone that relies on pushing dirt for a living in your area a favor, charge the going rate for your area.

SouthernLandworks
01-29-2008, 08:06 AM
In my area there are guys Charging $110 an hour for a cat 330 size machine, I charge $100 for my 312. There are also guys charging $35 an hour for tractor work. So I feel my rates are right there with what people around here will pay.

bobcat_ron
01-29-2008, 11:35 AM
In my area there are guys Charging $110 an hour for a cat 330 size machine, I charge $100 for my 312. There are also guys charging $35 an hour for tractor work. So I feel my rates are right there with what people around here will pay.


$110 for a 30+ ton excavator???? That's dirt cheap! :hammerhead:

BIGBEN2004
01-29-2008, 12:28 PM
In my area skid steers go for $75.00 hour dirt work and loaders are most popular, over track-hoes and a cat 953C goes for $100.00 hour. How come I dont see more people on here using track loaders? They are the most usable thing around my area besides a skid steer with tracks.

ksss
01-29-2008, 12:38 PM
$110 for a 30+ ton excavator???? That's dirt cheap! :hammerhead:



Thats a lot of excavator for the money. I seldom work it by the hour but I run my 160 at $125.00 an hour when it is a T&M type job. I have yet to see a tracked loader working in my area. Actually I don't recall see one at all. The only time I have ever seen one in person was in KY. Seems to be an East of the big river kinda thing.

BIGBEN2004
01-29-2008, 05:03 PM
I wonder why that is. I love running a track loader since they are very versatile. The only down side to one is the fact that a brand new 953D now runs around $190,000 in my area and then we only charge $25.00 more dollars an hour than a skid steer.

ksss
01-29-2008, 05:27 PM
I don't know either, maybe the dry conditions, most work like that is done with a wheel loader of which there are many. You can't throw a rock without hitting an excavator, you would likely stop traffic if you showed up with a tracked loader. Not to mention that is a whole bunch of money for a tracked loader. 190K will buy a lot of excavator which at least here would be more versatile. How does it pencil out getting around 90 an hour for such an expensive piece of equipment? I would assume the upkeep would be similiar to a dozer only with the added costs of having a bucket and loader arms.

Fieldman12
01-29-2008, 06:14 PM
Track loaders where almost gone around here about five years ago. In the past several years though they have made a big come back. They are very handy. They use to dig allot of basements with them. I have use a 931C Cat a good bit. As far as charging. I did a bunch of research in the past several years on what people charge around here versus you guys on here. From what I have found it is best to price by the job if you feel you are confident enough to bid the job. On little jobs that wont take long I charge a four hour minumum. If I think it's it's going to take six hours than I try to price the job for a full day. In my opinion $50.00 an hour for skid steer is way to cheap. I mean lets face it.

1. You need a truck that can pull it.
2. You need a trailer built to carry it.
3. Tires are a good thousand dollars or more for replacement
4. Need some type of insurance if you damage something not to mention insurance on truck, skid, and trailer.
5. Need some type of fuel tank to fill it up or go to the gas station every time.
6. Mine burns about 2.2 gallons an hour and IM sure the bigger ones burn more.
7. If need help you will have to pay them.
8. Oil changes, lube, and general repair
9. At times need bigger tools than just what you work on a car with.
10. fuel for truck, maintenance on trailer and truck including tires, brakes, oil changes and so on.
11. Eventually will need enough money generated to replace all of these things in say five years and still make a profit.

After all of this $50.00 an hour in my opinion is pennys.

Gravel Rat
01-29-2008, 06:17 PM
If you seen a new trackloader in this area the old time contractors would have tought they time warped back to the 60s early 70s :laugh:

The only thing with tracks and a loader bucket on jobsites nowwadays is CTLs. The use of fullsize trackloaders dissapeared atleast 30 years ago. There is trackloaders still around but they are on private acreage. The use of them on jobsites is non existant.

I have ran trackloader 963 Cat ya they work good for some uses. What I was doing the trackloader worked great. One benefit of them is you can level out a bad leveling job by walking over the area with the machine :drinkup:

Excavators are the machine of choice for 95% of the job. Even bulldozers are rarely used for residential work. Not enough work to warrant to have one.

BIGBEN2004
01-29-2008, 07:42 PM
I like running dozer's also but they are very useless now a days. Most of my work and everyone else's in my area is down in the outskirts of D.C. If I do run into a large yard a 953 track loader can do the job just as good and at half the time. Also if you have to carry dirt from the back yard to the front it can be done easy where a dozer you would have to push it around the house or bring in a CTL which then it gets expensive and the builder doesn't like that much. On the small yards which most are now a days my CTL will handle them great and do a beautifull job. Still around here a track loader can dig a basement fast and efficient but a track hoe can too. Also we like using track hoes with a thumb to do our demolition safely. The one thing is after you pay to move a track hoe in to do the tare down of the house, then you minus well leave it there to dig the foundation.

Scag48
01-29-2008, 08:32 PM
The reason track loaders aren't prevelant in the PNW is the fact that we're not working on large sites where all the dirt stays on site. If you talk to most guys who run track loaders vs. excavators, the reason they do is because with an excavator you'd have to have a site truck to move spoils around the site. They're working on 2-3 acre lots where the dirt stays there and the track loader is a one man operation for digging a basement. Around here, all except for enough dirt to backfill the basement leaves the site on a typical basement job. And since there's a basement, chances are it sits on a nice slope and the back wall could be 10+ feet high. If the entrance to the house is on the second floor i.e. where the truck is sitting, good luck getting a track loader up that hill to the truck. It would take FOREVER to dig a basement like that. This is all assuming you have enough room to move that machine around. I start basements on the toe of the slope and work back to the highest wall as do most people. I suppose this type of work could be done with a track loader but I guarantee that 90% of the time it would be the wrong machine for the job. Most lots we work on they build right to the 5' setback from the property line. I give the concrete guys 3 feet of flat bottom between the basement walls the the cut, not including a slope bank if it's over 4 feet tall, this puts you right at the property line. A track loader would be in a hole with no way to get out. The only other job for a trackloader out here that would make sense in land clearing, but that's easily done with an excavator. I'll take an excavator on steep ground all day vs. a tracked loader, although I'm sure they're plenty stable. Dozers aren't very popular back home, only a couple of the big boys use them for doing roads and such. I can rough in a road pretty good with an excavator and a grade beam and finish it off with a backhoe/skid steer, dozers aren't very popular either.

coopers
01-29-2008, 11:16 PM
I agree with Scag. They are just not very popular here. A LONG time ago when my parent's house was being developed....a guy had a tracked loader...he barely used it. He wanted his new JD 490E (Shows how long ago) to get some time out there moving stuff around. It sounds like dozers are a tad more popular over here on the west side of the mountains but most seem to get what they want done with an excavator. Backhoes they can use but it's easier in some applications to get things level with an excavator and a beam.

Fieldman12
01-29-2008, 11:45 PM
We are really pretty lucky here in Ohio. We see pretty much every type of construction equipment imaginable. I see skid steers, CTL's/MTL's, mini excavators, large and medium size excavators, dozers that are small, medium, and large, wheel loaders,track loaders, and backhoes pretty much on a daily occurrence.

AWJ Services
01-30-2008, 12:23 AM
Excavator/Trackloader debate is an old one around here.LOL

I still say it is like saying a Mini ex takes the place of a Skid steer?:confused:

Gravel Rat
01-30-2008, 01:24 AM
A mini ex has taken up allot of jobs that used to be done by hand or jobs that took forever with a skid steer.

BIGBEN2004
01-30-2008, 09:21 AM
Just curious, what are you guys talking about when you say a track hoe and a beam? What do you mean by a beam? Is that a lazer level or do you mean clamping a steel I beam with the thumb on the bucket and dragging it across the ground to level the job?

coopers
01-30-2008, 03:30 PM
BIGBEN,

Yes, using a steel beam to level the ground out, you do it right you can get it as smooth as if you ran a roller over it.

Blake
WA

Scag48
01-30-2008, 11:30 PM
PNW specialists, we do it all with 120's-150's, hydraulic thumbs, grade beams, and 36" buckets. :drinkup: I've been known to grab trees, telephone poles, etc. to grade with as well if you're out in the sticks and left your beam on the trailer.

Blake, slick deal having the diverter on there. Our 303CR has the diverter so if you want to run a hammer/hoepac you don't have to unplug the thumb lines, just flip the valve, plug in the hoepac to the remote aux. lines and go. Our 312 didn't have that handy feature, what a PITA. I switched out from hoepac to bucket about 4 times one day and I thought I was going to jump off the slope I was working on, what a hassle. It's nice to just flip a valve, plug, and go. When you unplug the thumb, you have to chain it up and secure the thumb hoses as well. Not really sure why on a $140K machine Cat couldn't get that on there when the $40K mini has it.

RockSet N' Grade
01-31-2008, 12:41 AM
so which would you prefer......."H" beam or a piece of railroad track? I use a piece of track that I picked up somewhere, but have been thinking 8" H beam would hold more dirt as I spread. Now on the prowl......

Scag48
01-31-2008, 02:30 AM
I prefer what Coopers has posted, I beam about that width and usually 6 feet is plenty long enough. The width is important, I like to be able to set that beam on a slope that isn't equal to the excavator and still be able to grab it. If there isn't enough distance between the top and bottom, you can't adjust the beam to grade. I know that's getting way technical, but I like options.

coopers
01-31-2008, 03:45 AM
Yeah, the diverter is so nice. My boss doesn't have anything for that hoe yet but I know when I worked for Birch Equipment Rentals they all had them and we put hoepacks and breakers on often and you just flip the valve. Pretty neat. I wouldn't like flipping hoses and stuff, you're right, what a PITA.

The beam is nice and long too, that way you can grab the end and clamp down on it and grade a slope with one side of the beam pointing down and you get a lot of the slope graded. My boss also digs a hole next to the foundation, and being that the beam is long, takes the very end of it and shoves the beam under the foundation (carefully) to add a hole for the crawler drain if the cement heads didn't put one in the footing. Another nice reason to having a long beam. I don't work a lot with the beam and never have in the past so I'm not good at it. It takes practice but I don't really get to so I end up doing other excavator stuff. Oh well...some day. :) haha.

Scag, did PSM not give you that option for your 312C? All CWS on hoes I see always put that on. One of our 160's at Birch had CWS bkts. and QC and a PSM thumb and they still had that valve installed. Maybe you have to ask for it?

Blake
WA

Scag48
01-31-2008, 04:01 AM
All the 312's that NC stocks, unless you order one from the factory, are equipped with the same thumbs and couplers, except some machines have hydraulic couplers and some have manual couplers. I've been told that NC puts 315 sized couplers on 312's so that if they don't sell them, they can put them into the rental fleet. This way, 315's and 312's can share buckets in the rental fleet, smart on NC's part. Chances are, you're going to want that setup here in the PNW and they HAVE to rent them that way, only makes sense for them to stock them that way. So unless you order a machine or you luck out and they have one without a thumb, they're pretty much all the same. I believe lack of a diverter is a PSM deal, not Cat, but I'm sure the Cat boys install the thumbs at the dealership shop, it's doubtful that they send all the machines to PSM's headquarters in Woodinville. I guess if Cat wanted to be cool, they could put that diverter on there when installing the thumbs, but those thumbs show up on pallets with the plumbing and cylinder all ready to go and I bet they don't think twice about it.

Using the beam does take practice. With a progressive link thumb, I like to hold the beam and drag the flat bottom across the ground. If you don't move the thumb and bucket through the cycle, it's a little tricky as the heel of the bucket will drag. This is where multitasking really comes in, running the thumb to hold pressure on the bucket while rolling the bucket out as the beam is being drug toward the machine. I know it took me a while to finally learn that, but you can get thigns pretty darn smooth with a beam.

coopers
01-31-2008, 04:15 AM
If you don't move the thumb and bucket through the cycle, it's a little tricky as the heel of the bucket will drag. This is where multitasking really comes in, running the thumb to hold pressure on the bucket while rolling the bucket out as the beam is being drug toward the machine. I know it took me a while to finally learn that, but you can get thigns pretty darn smooth with a beam.

That's what's hard for me still.

Yeah I'm sure Cat puts those on at their shop, Pape does at theirs, they naturally push CWS anyways but yeah, all that is standard unless you specifically ask for something else.

Blake
WA

minimax
01-31-2008, 10:59 PM
I like railroad rail for a grade beam, a flat side and a round side. they work great on a mini-x.

minimax

ASCHAL45
01-31-2008, 11:28 PM
Man did this thread get hijacked or what
Just Kiddin

coopers
02-01-2008, 01:47 AM
Man did this thread get hijacked or what
Just Kiddin

Well this "what should I charge for land clearing" question comes up way too often and since it was answered pretty quickly....switch topics...:dancing:

Blake
WA