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20ft trench

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by rosolar, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. rosolar

    rosolar LawnSite Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 172

    how long do you think it would take 2 guys to dig a trench 1ft deep, 1 ft wide, and 20ft long. Some is on lawn and some in a gardenbed. I was think about billing at 1 day w/ 2 guys ( shovels and pick axe). do you think this would require a small backhoe?
  2. paolaken

    paolaken LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 699

    pick axe? what are you digging in? 1' deep 20' long would be about an hour or 1 and a half hours at most here, and this is pretty crapy soil.
  3. phototropic1

    phototropic1 LawnSite Member
    from MS
    Messages: 118

    We really need more info to attempt to answer the question. What type of soil do you have? Sand? Clay? Loam? Lots of rocks? Has it been raining cats and dogs, or is it dry as a bone? In what month do you plan on doing this? What's the weather typically like then?
  4. phototropic1

    phototropic1 LawnSite Member
    from MS
    Messages: 118

    Oh, by the way. Where I am with the clay soil I have, I would say your estimated time is about right. Or, I'd say plenty over in order to cover your back side. Likely it'd take me and a helper half a day to dig that trench where I live.
  5. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    Out here, at trench like that would definitly take two guys all day.

    Is this for a drain?

    If any of your guys can operate a excavator or backhoe, do the math.

    20 minutes excavator work (4 hour rental here, $120) + one hour employee work ($20ish?) = $140 for your trench.

    Compared to 16 manhours (assuming its aroudn $20 after everything per guy, I don't know what you pay), = $320 for you trench.

    I don't know what you charge out for manhours, but at our rate ($45/hr manual labor, $60/hr experienced) we would have to charge $720 to have two guys dig that, which is just plain not competetive.

    Factor in a excavator Rental + $60 charge for an hour of machine time, plus $60 for experienced labor, and your at $240 bill for your trench, with your total cost being $140, your making $100 in 1 hour.

    Don't forget that the time saved means your guys can be on other jobs making you more money.
  6. phototropic1

    phototropic1 LawnSite Member
    from MS
    Messages: 118

    I think Dirty Water is right if you have difficult soil conditions. BUT, make sure you take into account any underground obstacles (sewer/water line, power line, cable, telephone, etc). Have them marked by the utility company, etc. And of course look for service entry into the house. Any mistake there with an excavator could be very costly. But if you're careful, you'll be through with your trench in a snap.
  7. gammon landscaping

    gammon landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    ok not to be mean, but if i was standing there and someone wanted me to dig that ditch, and wanted a price i would say 25 per hour per man. and then i would start digging

    that a way you get it done and don't have to drive home and post a question on here. and when you do get home you have acquired the knowledge the perfect way and you have a 100 bucks in you pocket

    i think that even some of us are getting lazy here. we need to stop thinking about how to do it and just get it done. with small stuff like this you don't need to be bidding you should just say ok and do it

    i will promise you if a customer ask you somthing like this and want a price and you tell them you labor rate and say you will give them a total in a few hours when you get done, you will get the job every time

    SDNCLAWNCARE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 232

    I agree... Sometimes just do the work..
  9. Duck Dodger

    Duck Dodger LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 347

    I dissagree completely. Most customers freak when they hear a hourly rate. 25$ an hour wow thats cheap. You also have to think of how worn out you will be for the rest of the day after digging. One last thing how many of you guys can be out in the feild drop what you are doing for the rest of the day and spend 4 hours doing something you might not be prepared for?
  10. Birdhunter1

    Birdhunter1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    $25 an hour.. I had a lady not long ago that acted like I was robbing her for $25 an hour labor. She paid it and has been a PITA everyday since.
    Funny thing is I charge her $30 to mow, trim and blow the yard and I'm done in 30 minutes ($60/hour).

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