Neighbor of mine just bought a JD tractor with a bucket. He thought it would be easy to excavate for a paver patio. He has no experience in installation, but its just a patio according to him, how hard can it be. He has been digging and leveling for three days. By the time he gets done, his base will be about a foot. If you don't have the experience and PROPER equipment, proceed very cautiously. It will take longer than you think
I don't mind spending money, I mind wasting money!