boulder retaining wall

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by cdsport, Jul 17, 2007.

  1. cdsport

    cdsport LawnSite Member
    from NE PA
    Messages: 13

    HI, I have an estimate to do fo ra boulder retaining wall 30 w x 8 h, I have done versa lok, flagg stone walls before , but neer a boulder wall, Was thinking 2x3x 1-2h boulders.

    What would a price for this be about. installation cost & material cost. of course there be drainaing or stoen behind & pipe also.

    ON hte sides are just stoen walls, I figured 1500 in stone plus time to dig & build the wall with drainage be about3500. is that about average.

    the site is easy axcess also workign on gravel.

    I rather bid in a normal range & not low ball to just get the job I rather lose it & not just screw myself or other in teh industry.

    Any other tips on building it would be great also.

    I line in North East Pennsyvania.

    thank you
  2. waltero

    waltero LawnSite Member
    Messages: 206

    I am having a hard time understanding what you are saying, You should try to read your post before submitting. If I am correct, your wall will be 30' W x 8' H that you will make out of boulders.

    You need to give us more information and pictures help alot for us to give you any feedback. It is like me asking you if $10,000.00 is too much for a used car? There are used cars that are worth that and there are ones that are not, so anything you can say without more information on the specific car that I am looking at is worthless.

    I have to be honest and tell you that an eight foot high wall is not a wall you want to build if you don't know how to bid it. The stones that you are using may be more difficult then laying regular SRW walls. I don't know what equipment you have that can lift larger boulders and move them once in place. An excavator that will handle the weight of all of the stones that you have would probably be your best bet and if you are renting you have to figure that into the price. There is alot of liability with walls this size and I would recommend that you figure that in your price. Also, what kind of warranty are you putting on this job. The warranty plays a big role in the price that you give a customer. If you plan to walk away once it is done vs giving the homeowner a 5 year warranty, You have to cover any of your time for possible future visits.

    I am in northeast Pa also and cheap people are killing me, I am not trying to beat you up, but I want you to realize that your probably way low on this bid. Don't put yourself in a situation that you don't want to be in for a few dollars. WALLS ARE EXPENSIVE!!!!!! Make sure that if you build walls, you build them correctly. Really sit down and figure out the real cost of this job, think hard. Make sure you are getting a good hourly wage and that your company is making a profit. If you know what you are doing $50.00/hr is not unreasonable, I know alot of people in this area work so cheap and they think they are still making money. Calculate how long you will think that it will take to get this wall built, and realize it never goes as quick as you think ( somehow in your mind you never run into the delays and problems that happen in real life.) so add some time for the delays. Don't forget the equipment that you need, this is where you really need to know how long the job will take because it cost you your profit when the job runs over.

    I wouldn't touch this wall for that much money. I would suggest that you follow my advice and really look at the true cost of the wall. My bid would be a minimum of three times yours easy. If I am correct you are building a wall in the price range that I charge for flatwork.

    Let us know how you make out and if you really want help on the bidding you really need to supply pictures, we aren't all there.
  3. pls8xx

    pls8xx LawnSite Member
    Messages: 64

    I'm with Walter on this one, for a 8' by 30' boulder wall. From the info, all I can do is a rough guess for work in my area, your mileage may vary.

    70 tons of boulders @ $60 per on a 5 mile haul $4200
    24 hrs track hoe time/ with operator @ $70 per (I have a contractor friend) $1680
    4 days, 2 men. @ $40 per hr $2560
    Drainage $700
    Profit $1000

    Total $10,140

    I expect the unexpected and start thinking 11k up for this wall. So I be asking the customer if his budget can stand the hit, does he really want a boulder wall. If not, I'm not going to waste my time refining a bid for him.
  4. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,623

    You can not do a bouler wall for a set fee. One boulder at a time.

    The 10-foot high wall pictured below was done for time and materials. Boulders were native to the property and were already onsite. We supplied the drainage gravel, etc.

    The job was performed at a per man hour rate, and equipment was charged for on an individual basis.


  5. cdsport

    cdsport LawnSite Member
    from NE PA
    Messages: 13

    Thank you for hte info,

    THe wall itself is 30'W x 8'H & 3-4' D
    then also of course you have drainage to add in, gravel, fabric etc.

    the $3500 price I mention was ONLY for the stone iteself to min specs not includign gravel, pipe, excavating etc. soory for the mis info on that.

    The flagg stone side walls here are abotu $135 per pallet. right side is 14 long, starting in the front 2'H & tapered up to 8 feet H to meet hte boulder wall.

    the left side is same way except about 8 feet in length.

    Slant is 1" per foot, base is 1/2 size of the heigt if correct ,

    I using hte RS Means Landscape estimating book as a refernce for price. stone wall $6-9 per SQ FT for labor of wall only. not including drain &, gravel, fabric.

    I am familar with stone & versa lok. Never did a boulder for price before.
    Any other information is appreciated.

    What is a average price for versa lok was get $17- $20 Sq Ft to build including drain pipe & 12 gravel behind (exposed only) is that good.

    Like i said before i dont want to cut my prices to get a job. I believe in doing the job correctly the first time & have it last. Not a over night person here.

    AS equipment I have:
    885 XL turbo new holland skid steer with braco 9'' deep 2' bucket backet hoe attachment, 2100-2300 rated
    JD 350 4 in 1 track
    JD 350 6 way dozer
    10 ton dump,
    3 ton dump 12 Foot bed
    & other small equipment tampers etc.
  6. cdsport

    cdsport LawnSite Member
    from NE PA
    Messages: 13

    JUSt replying back, the customer called me yesterday & asked if I could do the enite job For $5,000 I told her there was no way that it could be done for that price (in referencing above from Wlatero & pls8xx & my own cost in material , delivery etc.)& she went on saying apples to apples, though when i was there the lady kept changing her mind which I am sure different thing were said to other contrators also. THough to me better not to have this one, because of her, she is already causeing problem wiht the previous excavtor, saying he was to build the wall & refuse to finish paying him. I iasked "was it in your contract" no "she stated. but we talked about it". Well it wasn't in the contract.

    Also does anyone know how to directly contact members her? thank you each of you. I believe in doing it right the first time.
  7. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    She seems to think she can dictate a price to you. Really think about this one before giving an estimate. We just did a 40' retainer wall, only 2' high and material was $1,500 and it wound up costing them over 8 grand with labor. It's easy to work for nothing and wasting valuable time on retainer walls. WATCH OUT.

    Charge enough to be happy.


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