Foundation work pricing?

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by Wing 97, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. Wing 97

    Wing 97 LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 62

    A neighbor/building contractor approached me the other day and ask if I would be interested in digging a 25'x25' foundation for an attached garage he will be building for a client. With the exception of digging my garage foundation I have only used my equipment for my landscaping buisness and charged an hourly rate otherwise. I want to give him a reasonable bid for the complete job but I feel I am a bit unexperienced with pricing a job like this. I know discussing numbers is a bit touchy but any thoughts would be appreciated. I would be using a 331 mini-x and s175 and the job would include removing asphalt (20x20 section), digging three walls (sandy soil),backfilling, compacting, and most likely removing any leftover material. My best guesstimate would be three partial days and travel is all around pretty close. Is 1500.00 too high? too low? Thanks again for any info!
     
  2. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    The way I see it, if you have the opportunity to learn something AND get paid for it, go for it! Regardless of how much you actually pocket, just cover your direct expenses (like fuel and helper labor, if applicable) and learn something new. I did this all through high school, I rented equipment before we had our stuff and charged the customer straight across for rental and fuel. I also charged $15 an hour for my time, which is nothing, but I now have a pretty broad base of knowledge.

    Now, with all that said, you could dig the footprint in a day, easy. The footings won't be stepped, so you're going to have a flat bottom floor with walls on 3 sides. Once the walls have hardened out, you'll backfill subgrade inside the walls for the floor and backfill the exterior walls. Depending on the cut, I'd estimate maybe 4-6 hours for digging the floor, depending on how much material you're moving out, if you have a guy in the truck dumping spoil for you, and how far the dump site is. All are variables in how long a machine is sitting on site waiting to run another load. Once the floor is done, the walls will be poured. Then you come back to backfill the subgrade for the floor. That shouldn't take more than 4-5 hours or so, depends if you have a guy on the ground running a compactor and a laser. Once that's done, the exterior walls are cake, probably only a 2-3 hours to backfill and compact the exterior walls. I'd say 3 full days is a safe bet.
     
  3. mastercraft

    mastercraft LawnSite Member
    Posts: 38

    I'd say $1,500 is a little on the low side, especially for your area. But, it should definately cover your costs, and you should make some money. Will you be leaving your equipment on site, or will you have to drag it back and forth 3 times, something to think about. Do you have to haul out the blacktop and dispose of it? What about the agregate for the floor, or is the gc taking care of it? At the very least have the gc put in writing "exactly" what he expects from you, or it could turn into a loser very fast. Good luck!
     
  4. Dirt Digger2

    Dirt Digger2 LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,396

    i dont know...if you've never dug a foundation it can get tricky especially in sandy soil, also how deep is it going to be?...3 feet you might be ok but anything deeper i would leave to the true dirt guys. you will also need a laser level to get the correct depth set...i imagine the builder will lay the site out but if he doesnt make sure you remember to leave a little bit of extra overdig (about 2-3 feet) depending if they are going to tar the outside of the walls, if the soil is very sandy you may have to make it more so it doesn't cave in...good luck but for me with a backhoe and 3foot bucket i can dig out a 15'x50'x3' septic bed in a little under 2 hours by the time i get it perfect so you can use those numbers to estimate your time.

    and another note when you backfill make sure you leave plenty of time for the walls to harden...if the builder doesn't put pilasters in make him sign a contract saying you arn't responsible if the walls crack...seen that before...what a mess
     
  5. Dirt Digger2

    Dirt Digger2 LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,396

    and i dont think i would mechanically compact the backfill...i would leave a pile of dirt on site, when the job is nearing completion go back and fill all the areas that settled...mechanically compacting dirt right next to new walls puts a lot of un-needed stress on green concrete and you are risking failure.
     
  6. Dirt Digger2

    Dirt Digger2 LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,396

    sorry..wasnt thinking right, i was thinking regular house foundation when i wrote this...for the garage you want to backfill the outside at the same rate you backfill the inside so you don't bow the wall out either way...use a trench roller inside because it will go a lot faster...let nature take its course on the outside.

    also you'll have a tough time doing this with a mini-ex because the ideal way would be to dump the dirt over the side and push it across with the bucket, but what you will have to do is make a ramp that you can get your loader down inside the basment to push dirt around...this adds a lot of time so you could easily spend an entire day backfilling...and make sure you build a solid ramp so you dont break the concrete walls
     
  7. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    Well, you can backfill the footings a week or so after they're poured if you're not using a compactor, depends on how big the lift is. If you're doing a heavy lift backfilling behind a concrete wall, like a daylight basement rear wall, and running a jumping jack concrete guys will say you need to wait 28 days or something like that for the concrete to cure. I've heard stories where excavation guys were forced to compact behind basement walls after 14 days or less, the building contractor usually is running behind and needs to get the basement walls compacted so they can access the second floor. This isn't an issue for a garage, so I'd backfill these shallow footings after a week.
     
  8. Wing 97

    Wing 97 LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Posts: 62

    Scag, you are definitly correct there something to say for getting paid for experience. Mastercraft, I would be able to leave my equipment on site when necessary and there is an asphalt plant close bye to dispose at. Dirtdigger, I believe I need to dig to 4' for the footings and walls but I have dug a foundation for my own 24'x24' garage in sandy conditions without any major problems. I'm trying to get the concrete work for the contractor that did my garage foundation and already ask him if I could lean on him for final grade adjustments. He said OK and that he prefers to be on site for final grade? As far as compaction goes the floor is the only area I plan on having to compact. Please let me know if there is something I am forgetting. Thanks again!
     
  9. Dirt Digger2

    Dirt Digger2 LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,396

    if you've done it before then you know the ropes...just a little time saving tip..when you go to stone the floor dump a pile at the opening (where the garage door is going) and push the pile across the garage to the back wall leaving about 6 inches under your tires/tracks... as opposed to carrying 1 bucket at a time in all the way to the back and working your way back out..then set the laser and fine tune.
     
  10. wanabe

    wanabe LawnSite Senior Member
    from So. IL
    Posts: 943

    Digging a footing for a garage is a pretty easy deal. They contarctor will explain how tall the walls will be(Usually 3 or 4') and then he will tell you how thick the fooling will be. Just add them up, and set the laser off of the existing house foundation, or where he specifies. Some times there will be a step in the footing, which is no big deal. Most of the houses here do not even need to have the dirt under the floor removed. We just usually backfill with rock and plate compact.
     

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