Customer wants 4ft. of Soil to be removed!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by DWL, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. DWL

    DWL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    He wants all the plant beds to have the soil removed. He claims that all his plants are dying because of the clay soil we have here in Southern California.

    After walking the property I I told him he didn't have to have 4ft. removed. He didn't have to remove anything, because the soil has been amended like a foot deep. :confused:

    I told him to be honest you really need to cut back on the watering, add about an inch of planting mix to raise the planter a little and cultivate the soil at least once a week to make the soil look nice and benefit your plants. It has never been cultivated and you can see all the algae on the surface.

    He also admitted he had at least a foot removed a year ago and filled with new soil, but still his plants were dying. What is this guy thinking? 4ft? I couldn't convince him that he didn't need to do this. He kept on saying that I maybe right but he and his wife would feel much comfortable knowing they had at least 4ft of good soil in their planters. So I said fine! let me make the bid and I will email it to you the next day. :rolleyes:

    The total square footage is 775 x 4ft depth that is like almost 115 cu.yds. (right?) that I have to remove and re-fill with new soil including the removal of shrubs and little annuals/perennials.

    There is no access for machines in the back yard and the front yard's planters are in a small court yard. All this has to be done by hand and put into a container.

    What would you guys charge for this kind of job assuming 1ft is good/soft soil and from there down it is all clay.

    Thanks in advance! :)
  2. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 601

    To be sure why not a soil test??????
  3. PlatinumLandCon

    PlatinumLandCon LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,315

    are you SURE no access? the smallest Bobcat excavator can reduce its width to only 31.3"!!! this should be able to gt thru any gate a wheelbarrow can get thru.....look into it. Contact a rental place in your area and carge the customer a bit more cause its such a small access route and work will be slow using a small machine.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Price him for the replacement of top soil then price him for fixing the drainage problem.
    Hundreds vs. thousands of dollars.
  5. DWL

    DWL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    I think I will mention that to him. The soil is premium, there isn't any clay. Soil has loam in it and plants are healthy (the ones that require lots of water).

    Thanks for your post. :)
  6. DWL

    DWL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Well the planters are only 1' to 6' wide and no room to excavate. The yards are so small there is no way to turn around. These homes are big with small little yards. If i had enough room, I really don't want leave any tire marks on their Colored concrete/flagstone hardscape.

    It really sucks. I think they are just nuts :hammerhead: 4ft. deep???? The plants they are going to use have what a 6'' - 12" root system. I'm tripping!:confused:

    Thanks for your post :)
  7. DWL

    DWL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    How much? No drainage problem, just over watering. The surface made a crust and the water is just sitting. If he cultivated he would not have that crust. The soil is soft and not hard for the 1st 1 feet.

    Thanks. :)
  8. PlatinumLandCon

    PlatinumLandCon LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,315

    The Bobcat Zero-Tail-Swing excavators can get right up to a wall and can excavate within 1/4" of the wall cleanly. The 316 is TINY and can fit inside any yard.....What are the yard's dimensions?

    Put down plywood:) If the yard is so small you won't need very much and you tell the customer it'll be $XXX more to guarantee protecton of his patio.

    Also, If its a simple watering issue, quote him on an irrigation install. Sub it out and make 20% on the irrigation contractor's price. It takes you 3 seconds to make a few hundred dollars. Sounds good to me:)
  9. DWL

    DWL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Thanks musclecarboy, I will look into that Bobcat or better yet I may sub this out and didn't think about the plywood. The home has an existing irrigation system but not professionally done. I don't need to sub that out.

    How could I price this? by sq.ft., cu.yd. with or without a Bobcat.

    The back yard is 50' length x 20' wide.

    Thank you again for your help!
  10. P.Services

    P.Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,319

    man thats a ton of work to do by hand, how are you going to haul away all that dirt(im assuming tri axles or semi) and how are you going to get it in the trucks from your wheelbarrows. the average wheelbarrow hauls 6 cu. ft. so thats about 516 loads out and 516 in thats alot of walking. 516 loads is not even factoring in the fact that dirt will expand once its been dug (if it is virgin dirt) i would not even touch that for less then $8000 give him your bid and i bet he will be open to new ideas.

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