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Tree well bid

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by roscioli, Aug 12, 2001.

  1. roscioli

    roscioli LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 749

    Okay, did the search, got nothing. A guy 2 houses down wants me to dig a bunch of tree wells for him, the trees were burried in a bank from a new septic. Each probably 2-3 feet deep, sloping, so deeper on one side than the other. Have to dig them out (probably 5 large trees and 15 smaller than 2-3 inches), and build makeshift wells around them to prevent erosion. It doesnt matter how ugly, as long as it saves the tree, and lasts. SO, I bid the job at $800, and the guy is complaining. I bid that on the LOW side because he is a neighbor. I dont need advice about the digging, or about giving neighbor's better prices, I need reassurance that this price was cheaper than it should have been. What would you folks bid something like this at? Am I overpriced?
  2. roscioli

    roscioli LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 749

    Sorry, didn't even think about the forum I was putting this in, just got back from this guys house 5 minutes before writing it, need some responses by tomorrow
  3. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073


    Price sounds low, but you should make a little money and possibley have a 'happy' neighbor, whatever that means.

    I would bid it out as:


    use a mini-excavator.....you gonna be there all day, so a full day rental at least, plus the cost of picking up/returning, cost of trucking, cost of operator...I'd say $500 alone.

    Tree Wells:

    not really sure what you are going to do here.........use rocks from property, bring in stone, use other type of material.

    I've done tree wells, and well.....(lol) what a pain in the but.
    I'd charge at least 1000 to do a 'crappy' job if I had to bring in material or hunt though the guys yard for rocks. More than likely, I'd be in the 1500 range for this if I had to keep it 'friendly'. I could really see it being closer to 3k though if the job was done right.


    my estimate would be arond $1500.....no less. Even if he is my neighbor, and that is a good price

    one more thing, as for the tree wells working......well, if you aren't going to dig them BIG, I really can't say they are going to work. As for the 2-3" trees.........I wouldn't waste my time....yank them now.

  4. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Posts: 1,625

    ok, your taling about opening them up to keep the roots zone free of dirt, look how wide you have to go, make sure you go at least 6' passed the canopy of the tree. What about holding the drit back? timbers, natural stone, concrete retaining wall, or just sloping the dirt back with a nice grade? Are you generating any extra dirt?? What about hauling it away? or if left on site grading it down?
  5. what i would have done is this- dig the dirt out by hand to prevent further compaction problems and also so you dont risk doing as much damage to the roots with a possible machine blade. then on top of that- like i had said to you- have a big tree company come in and use an air spade to aerate. if you do that you shouldnt have to retain the soil or anything. so in answer to your question - yes you are low.
  6. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 1,277

    If he wants a half-baked job, let him do it himself. Otherwise, you'll be back to fix your half-done job, even though you both agreed it would be of low quality.

    Do high quality or nothing. You'll be avoiding future headaches.

    Using that as a guide, and recognizing that I haven't seen your site, I would be charging much more than $800. If you are setting timbers or building retaining walls of stone, this project should be in the high 4 figs to low 5 figs.

    For 2" trees, I'd think it'd be cheaper to do nothing and wait to see if any survive. For those that don't, plant new 2" trees at new grade. That's still cheaper than retaining walls for each tree.
  7. roscioli

    roscioli LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 749

    Hey guys, thank you very much for your responses thus far. To answer some questions and clear up some confusion:
    Dirt to be left on site, just thrown down the hill (this area is in the woods, he rakes all his leaves there, just wants the trees to survive).
    Walls to be built of rocks from the site if possible, otherwise I will buy materials at his cost.
    Thinking about it, I will probably leave the smaller trees without any kind of wall, but just dig them out if needed.
    I am going to be doing this all by HAND, with the slope and access, there is no efficient way to get any kind of machine in.
    The guy just wants these trees to survive (mainly worried about the few larger trees) to keep a barrier between himself and the road.
    He really wants a half baked job, and I know for my company image I should not even touch it, but its 2 houses away, and the guy is very understanding (a good neighbor basically). He won't be the kind of guy to come back AT me if anything goes wrong, but he will come back TO me with more work.
    Sorry for not being more clear the first time around, was just kind of anxious after meeting with the guy. THANK YOU GUYS AGAIN FOR THE RESPONSES, THEY ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED. I am so thankful that I found this site when I did, it has been so helpful over the past few months.
  8. air spade- all you need to be able to do is get a compressor hose in there.
  9. cos

    cos LawnSite Addict
    Posts: 1,253

    When giving a bid, I always include everything involved in order to avoid any confusion. If the guy is not happy with the price, then I just walk away a winner. :)

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