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What to charge for vibratory plow (per hour?)

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by Green KT, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. Green KT

    Green KT LawnSite Member
    from ontario
    Messages: 2

    Thought I'd put this out there for some advice. I currently own a Maxi Sneaker vibratory plow that I use for irrigation installations. I am in Canada and the winter has slowed us down. I recently completed a job installing/laying PVC conduit for an electrical company and was wondering what a resonable hourly rate is for the machine and operator(me). I had a helper and paid him $15.00 hr.

    Not sure if anyone else does this? I have been told $100 per hour, but think this might be steep...any thoughts on a decent price?
  2. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    Whatever you do, don't charge per foot...maybe use it to help estimate the cost, but there are too many hidden variables under the ground to make per foot charging practical when plowing and trenching.
  3. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    Charging for using a vibratory plow is something that doesn't seem to cross over or have a "standard". The $100 figure doesn't sound bad, but I'm guessing you meant Canadian and I'm thinking US dollars so..........(not even sure what the current exchange is). I always start with a minimum. That minimum is derived from the actual labor plus double what it would cost to rent the machine. (even when I worked for companies that owned the equipment) A three or four hour min. always seemed to help even things out. Around here a 410 will rent for under $200/day. You said you were using a helper so 2 men is $60/hour. Some where between that $100 and $150 would be my suggestion.

    As to John's "don't bid by the foot".........There was a time a few years back that 1.5" electrical conduit was being trenched in at $10/ft. with a guarantee of 12" min. depth. I didn't flinch an inch to openly bid $6/ft. for pulling the pipe using an 18" blade and a large DW ride on that I had access to at the time. Easiest Money I ever made. I don't remember the model, but it was one of the "smaller" DW backhoe/trencher combo's that they had added the vib to. It would pull 2 1/2 and 3" pvc without a hitch, and the backhoe was a dream compared to the usual excavation methods. We ran over a mile of conduit at those prices. I realized I left some serious cash on the table when I billed it out and they asked me about additional money for the pipe. My $6/ft included the pipe. They were used to paying for the pipe and $10/ft.
  4. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    We lost our pants recently doing a '5000 telephone trench. Bid it by the foot, would have been a nice profit at 1-2 days.

    It took me 5....Soil would have been better off with a rocksaw, and we broke down 3 times....


    Bryan, your description reminds me of the Old Ditchwitch R40's?

  5. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    John, that picture looks real close. Would an 18" blade w/ a 4" bullet be possible with that configuration? It has been to long ago.
    Job should have taken or was bid for 2 days and it took 5. Been there and done that, and......OUCH. But what did you bid per foot? 5,000' x $6/ft = 30,000? Doesn't sound like a bad weeks work for a couple of guys to me :)
    I've never bid less than $2/ft plus materials and 10K for 5 days still don't sound bad payup
  6. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,662

    I always bid by the foot , never by the hour for the machine . I know the soils in my area and my bid has clauses in it to cover me if problems arise.
    We usually run pipe for 1 or 2 homeowners a season who want " to save money " and do it themselves . At 2 dollars a foot plus pipe and dont touch a shovel , I will do those all day long .
  7. sprinklerhead

    sprinklerhead LawnSite Member
    from MI.
    Messages: 92

    We charge about $200.hour Thats including another guy unrolling. Includes gas for truck pulling equipment & pipe puller, wear & tear,insurance, experience, we are usaully done in 2hrs . And we charge the going rate for pipe.
  8. aquamtic

    aquamtic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    We do quite a bit for a few contractors. They supply the pipe and we charge $150. for the first hours. Which also includes travel time. 100. for each additional. If its for a homeowner. $200 for the first and 75.00 for each additional and we MUST supply the pipe and sell it at retail cost at 100' increments
  9. Green KT

    Green KT LawnSite Member
    from ontario
    Messages: 2

    I wanted to thank those who responded to my question. I appreciate all the experience that is represented on this forum. All the best for the holidays and have a great New Year.:drinkup: :drinkup:

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