Help - Is This a Reasonable Price for This Work??

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Widow, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. Widow

    Widow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I’d be interested in knowing whether $1500 is a reasonable price for the following work by a couple of guys just out of college who have recently started a rock cleaning and light landscaping business.

    I have a wide area on the backyard side of my house between the side fence and the house which is done in small cobble. A brand new stamped concrete walkway winds through it. The rocked areas on both sides of the walkway are about 6’ at the widest and tapering down to 3’ at the narrowest and 50’ long on both sides. The rocked areas probably total about 500-600 sq. ft. - tops. They will do the following work:

    ---Install about 50’ of French drain down the fence line (I supply the materials). “Soil” is clay.
    ---Remove rock and clean it using a machine they’ve invented/patented (dry cleaning, not wet).
    ---Remove existing landscape fabric.
    ---Level out the surface, including filling in 4” wide trenches along the walkway used for the concrete forms.
    ---Lay new landscape fabric. There are two small ornamental trees, 4 small bushes (2' x 2') and about 8 very small daylilies to work around. Also an AC unit. They supply the fabric.
    ---Respread the cleaned rock.

    There is also another area of about 100 sq. ft. which is included in the price which is directly adjacent (separated by fence) but on the front yard side of the house. There are three lilac bushes there.

    Thanks so very much for your thoughts!!
  2. openbook

    openbook LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

    This sounds strange to me. Why do you need drain tile put in along the fence? Usually people with heavy clay soil install drain tile along the foundation of their home under the downspouts and the water gets diverted out into the yard away from the home.

    I never heard of anyone dry washing landscape rock, usually the bottom layer of old rock is imbedded in dirt and it all needs to be thrown away. Sounds fishy to me.

    Either way though 1500 dollars is probably cheap for that work.
  3. Widow

    Widow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Thanks for the input! However, ...

    The water problem isn't at the foundation of the house; it's in the swale between houses which catches all the water runoff which comes down from the backyards above me. I'm at the bottom. The water won't soak into the clay soil and water is a constant issue. It sits in the rocks until it evaporates. The lowest spot is along the fence line in the swale, and that's where the drain needs to go. It's purpose is to collect water that flows into this area and direct it out, eventually through a chase in the front sidewalk to the street gutter. My use of a french drain is different from the use you speak of which I'm also familiar with.

    The rock sits on top of landscape fabric now. Over time dirt has blown into the rocks and the fabric has deteriorated over the 10 years it's been there. Everything is shoveled into the machine which, to put it simply, vibrates the rocks and blows the loose dirt off. There's nothing fishy about it. I've seen it work. The guy who invented the machine was an engineering student and got several awards for it. It's published material on the college's website. It's a "green" way to deal with the problem - better than dumping the rock in a dump and bringing in new.

    Thanks for your words of caution though!!
  4. coolluv

    coolluv LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 4,509

    I have a hard time believing this post.

  5. chavezkm

    chavezkm LawnSite Member
    Messages: 24

    I would say you are getting a great deal! Installation of the french drain alone would be $600 - $800. Removal of rock, cleaning rock, new landscape fabric and putting rock back is a tedious task for a company to do and would require a lot of man hours the old fashion way of washing rock to remove dirt and debris. I would really be interested in seeing this job being performed and possibly talking to the company that is doing the work. I have been asked numerous times to quote jobs like this and the labor is intense and long due to the tedious task of washing rock. If there is such a machine I would be a big promoter to my clientele. We have done jobs that require us to remove, haul away and install new rock to avoid this tedious task. My estimate would have been $1900.00 and we would have removed old rock, fabric and installing new materials. Please contact me if I can watch this job being done, I'm local and very curious. Thanks.
  6. Widow

    Widow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4


    What's so unbelievable about my post? Do you think I'm making it up or what? It was an honest question about a bid I've received for actual work I need to have done to resolve two problems.

    ChavezKM: I'll be in touch. Should I decide to have this company do the work you're more than welcome to come watch. If not, I'll let you know how to contact them. I appreciate your input.
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Been there, done that. Cleaning rock is extremely labor intensive, and once removed you should re-grade, lay new edging if needed, and lay new fabric. In my thread I just recently did a job like that on a small area. 2nd recycling job I've done and probably the last.

    I pretty much came to the conclusion that it is cheaper to remove the rock and get new. If you're customer wants to recycle it, tell them to find someone who needs it for fill or their driveway.

    Regardless, a job like that would be around 3500 or more depending on the site conditions.
  8. JNyz

    JNyz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,087

    We charge $17.00 a foot for french drains. I would say you are gettting a great deal.

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