How much $ and how deep to bury wire?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by wooley99, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. wooley99

    wooley99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    I bid on a mowing job today the homeowner "installed" lighting wire (175 feet of it) is running over the grass. I gave the guy a quote to mow but only if either he or I bury the wire first. I searched this forum and found the the "how to do it" part but didn't find out how deep or an idea of what to charge if he wants it done. The ground here is 20 feet of sand before you find a rock so digging isn't a problem.

  2. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Messages: 1,988

    My suggestion, since I also cut lawns, is to calculate how much time it will take you, at 6" deep (code). Pro-rate that by your lawn rate (60/hr., etc.). You should charge double since the work is much harder. Also factor in that you'll most likely need to buy a quality flat spade ($65). Or, maybe you can rent a trencher made for LV wire.

    Or, just add the time it would take you to pick up the fixture and get the wire out of the way, and return it, each time you cut (5 - 10 minutes = 5 - 10 more dollars per cut).

    Personally, I would just move the wire each time and charge for it (you don't have to tell him you are charging for it, just simply tell him you'll move it each time, and your estimate for his lawn is ___).

    If he goes with it, you'll make money from moving the wire. If he doesn't like your rate, move on.

    I have a customer with the same thing. A dumb light in the middle of his yard with the wire on top, and a dumb fountain with a wire on top. He moves the wires himself. He also has a dog leash in the back that I always have to move. So I make the guy pay cash, which really annoys him.

    Whenever I sense a PITA customer, I always estimate more. Puts me in a win win situation.

  3. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    In sandy soils its almost easier with 2 guys... Keep the wire behind the spade... one guy kicks it in and tilts it forward and the other guy tucks the wire in. Once you get in a rythm it shouldnt take you that long. Since your new at it I would qoute an hourly rate.

    If its wide open and I had to quote it I would be someplace between 50 and 75 cents per foot and could probably knock our your 175 ft in short order.

    6 inches is code... Extra deep at any place you would edge such as sidewalks or bed edges and extra deep or in conduit in areas frequently dug in such as seasonal color beds.
  4. wooley99

    wooley99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    Thanks for the info! It's a spiderweb of wires to something more than a dozen lights (I quit counting lights and just pushed the measuring wheel). The wire runs under concrete curbing around all the beds (the curbing contractor I guess-who buys poured concrete bed edging and leaves electrical wire on the ground???). I appreciate the info. If he takes the quote I'll have a clue. At least I'm always learning and seeing something new in this biz.
  5. ChampionLS

    ChampionLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,066

    Ha!.. but you forgot the little Mr. Magoo cars to move out of the way.
  6. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Messages: 1,988

    Dog toys are the worst. Sometimes I run them over just because I'm so mad.
  7. mverick

    mverick LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 307

    6in deep is code.... LMAO.... I just hit a 12 wire phone line at 1in and a cable line at 1.5in. I had a heart attack. Also a irrigation line at 2in. I have 6 more jobs in the neighborhood. What a pain this is going to be.
  8. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    none of them hourly utility guys except for power ever go as deep as they should here. I cut a phone line while trimming bed edges with a string trimmer if that tells you anything.

    I got one client who has had lines running across his backyard for over a year... cable and phone both.

Share This Page