Need help w/ estimating sapling MOVE

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by topsites, Sep 17, 2005.

  1. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Ok, so this new customer wants a dozen Leyland Cypress trees moved about 6 feet or so... They're all between 7 to 10 feet high and I figure they've been growing where they are for about a year, maybe two. Either way, they appear solidly rooted.
    Now the last two times I moved a plant that's been in the ground for any more than a month, it turned out the root system was a real pita to deal with and I've further learned that the root system is roughly equivalent in size to what's above ground, surely with variations, nevertheless the root system always posed a real PROBLEM whenever I move plants.
    For this reason, figuring this type of conifer runs around $30 each, I told the customer it would be easier and cheaper to cut and haul the old ones away, and plant new ones... Course she said no, she didn't want that because she doesn't believe in killing a living thing (but then she hasn't heard the price yet, either).
    method 1
    So at $30 each times 12 = 400 (with p/up / delivery fee) + cut down and haul old ones = 300 plus labor to plant the new ones and tie each one down = 200 so 900 for this method of cut+haul the old ones and plant new ones.
    or, method 2
    To UN-earth a dozen trees like this would likely take an hour or two of hard-core digging each, and to move something that likely weighs between 75-200 pounds, well it would take several days or about 18 hours of digging and moving, then re-planting and tieing stakes to them, another 6 hours, so I was thinking 1,500 was about right and unfortunately, no guarantee on survival rate.

    Is this too far off? On the one hand it sounds way high at $60/hour, but on the other side it's hardly enough to get me motivated for this kind of work...

    Any input appreciated.
  2. rick2752

    rick2752 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 161

    If she wants to pay for it, let her. Go rent a bobcat with tree spade, pluck them out and move them. charge her for the rental and make a little money on it. You can rent a machine and spade for like 300 a day here in ohio. I dont know if they make a tree spade for the dingo type machines. Something to check into.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Yeah that's what I was thinking, actually something more along the lines of a ditchwitch MX which weighs in at 900 kilos (2000 lbs.) and is an excavator, then I don't gotta bust my tail with the shovel because digging up root systems like that is nothing but trouble.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Hey thanks again for the help, I found a rental place that delivers Bobcat Mini Ex within about 5 miles of the job site, $200/day and I haven't called but I would guess $150 for delivery and pickup comes to ~$400 for the rental and that lowers the estimate on the manual way of doing it by like 300 bucks or so.

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