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Old 08-02-2008, 06:52 PM
jrumbaug jrumbaug is offline
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cost per foot to dig a trench

I'm new to residential irrigation and still trying to get a grasp as to "what is standard or typical". Today's puzzle is trying to estimate the cost of digging the trench that the pipe lays in.

I am writing a quote for my second job. My first trench was dug by hand by 2 men. When I look at the first job. It took 62 man hours to remove sod, dig and then re-fill, then replace sod on 240 feet of trench. That figures to about 1 man-hour per 4 feet. If I charge $20/hr per man, that's about 5$ per foot labor to charge for the service. Did I have slow employees or is this somewhere near reality?? Off the top of my head, I would have guessed $2/foot to be used to calculate how much to charge.

Or secondly, maybe someone can tell me where to read about the prefered way to dig an irrigation trench? I may be working the hard way and wrong way.

Thanks in advance

Jim Rumbaugh
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Old 08-02-2008, 07:00 PM
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CAPT Stream Rotar CAPT Stream Rotar is offline
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Whats your soil like? Clay?
I would get a trencher

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Old 08-02-2008, 07:28 PM
jrumbaug jrumbaug is offline
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type of soil

Ok, you caught me. Not a lot of clay here in the hills of West Virginia. It's new construction where dirt has been brought in. I will ASSUME it's an easy dig.

By the Way. Do you think the homeowner would notice I slipped in the cost of one those trenchers under "miscellaneous supplies" ??

Jim Rumbaugh
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:34 PM
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greenmonster304 greenmonster304 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrumbaug View Post
Ok, you caught me. Not a lot of clay here in the hills of West Virginia. It's new construction where dirt has been brought in. I will ASSUME it's an easy dig.

By the Way. Do you think the homeowner would notice I slipped in the cost of one those trenchers under "miscellaneous supplies" ??

Jim Rumbaugh
you what happens when you ASSUME don't you? I have found that on some new construction the digging is harder because the construction vehicles compacted the soil and then they just spread 2" of fluffy top soil. so do your self a favor and dig a little test hole
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:46 PM
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bicmudpuppy bicmudpuppy is offline
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You want help estimating HAND excavation and installation of lawn irrigation?

Ok, no comment...............
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:55 PM
jrumbaug jrumbaug is offline
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Good Points

I agree, I SHOULD of dug a test hole.

As to what all was done when the guys dug.
They just dug it and covered it, about 12" deep, about 8" wide.

Laying the pipe, setting the connections, setting the heads is a separate cost estimate in my "just learning how to do this" phase. The guys I can get to dig, I don't trust to make good connections or set the heads. Buying a machine is in the far future. I doubt if vibrating plows can be rented locally though I have not looked. ( nor do I know how to use one) I don't know about "ditch witches" I don't know about the cost and technique of mechanized digging. I have personally never seen it done locally. I do have a lot to learn. When CaptSteamRotor said, " we charge 1.50 a foot with the 255 to install 1 inch NSF poly 8 inches in the ground" , is a good starting point for me.

Jim Rumbaugh
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrumbaug View Post
I agree, I SHOULD of dug a test hole.

As to what all was done when the guys dug.
They just dug it and covered it, about 12" deep, about 8" wide.

Laying the pipe, setting the connections, setting the heads is a separate cost estimate in my "just learning how to do this" phase. The guys I can get to dig, I don't trust to make good connections or set the heads. Buying a machine is in the far future. I doubt if vibrating plows can be rented locally though I have not looked. ( nor do I know how to use one) I don't know about "ditch witches" I don't know about the cost and technique of mechanized digging. I have personally never seen it done locally. I do have a lot to learn. When CaptSteamRotor said, " we charge 1.50 a foot with the 255 to install 1 inch NSF poly 8 inches in the ground" , is a good starting point for me.

Jim Rumbaugh
hey brotha....the ditch witch 255sx is a sinch..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1OMoZDyges


any questions shout me out via pm if you would like.....also check out my manifold videos
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:34 PM
HooKooDooKu HooKooDooKu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrumbaug View Post
...

As to what all was done when the guys dug.
They just dug it and covered it, about 12" deep, about 8" wide.
...
8" Wide ???

How many pipes were you laying in that trench?


Now I'm only a homeowner with the only experience I've got is installing my own irrigation system. I can tell you that I was able to dig at a rate of about 10' per hour when I only had to dig 12" deep, 4" wide. That time does not include removing the sod, laying pipe, or backfilling. It was in rocky clay soil, but the soil was moist (going was MUCH slower during the dry season).

In several places, I hand trenched. I was doing such a terible job at restoring sod that I just decided to hack it
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Old 08-03-2008, 01:47 PM
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HokieAg07 HokieAg07 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmonster304 View Post
you what happens when you ASSUME don't you? I have found that on some new construction the digging is harder because the construction vehicles compacted the soil and then they just spread 2" of fluffy top soil. so do your self a favor and dig a little test hole
Quoted for ultimate truth..

Assumption is the mother of all screw ups.

We did a job a few weeks ago, commercial job at a hotel. We were pulling pieces of concrete out of ground that weighed over 150 pounds with the 1820 and there was no dirt it was all rock under the 2 or 3 inch layer of dirt.

Im fairly certain my boss had wished he did a little more exploration before he gave them a price.
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Old 08-03-2008, 02:10 PM
Kiril Kiril is offline
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Assumption is the mother of all screw ups.
Repeated for Boots sake.
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