View Full Version : Arborvitae Removal Price?

04-02-2011, 06:25 PM
I got a call from a potential client who has 4 dead arborvitaes (between 5 and8 feet each in height). I'm not sure how to price something like this.

They want the trees removed (roots and all) and taken away. Any advice?

04-02-2011, 07:16 PM
It all depends on how well rooted they are? Were they recently planted.... maybe its still root bound and a simple pull out and go? Or did they grow them to that height from saplings?

How would you remove them? What equipment....

Do you have a burn pit to dispose of, or do you have to haul them off?

Are the close to the house, cable lines, water lines, septic, etc.....

Id double wrap a chain around the base of the trunk, lift out with my backhoe, toss in the truck and be done in less than 15 minutes and charge $15 to show up (gas cost), and maybe $20 to $25 a tree.... but thats me. considering they are small trees.

04-03-2011, 11:25 AM
Id double wrap a chain around the base of the trunk, lift out with my backhoe, toss in the truck and be done in less than 15 minutes

At what point do you have to start being concerned with the roots potentially being wrapped around something or into something that could be damaged when they are pulled out?

04-03-2011, 12:32 PM
Time and materials. My normal price for landscaping is $40/hour but for working with Arborvitae it's $60/hour. If I never see another arborvitae it'll be too soon.

04-03-2011, 12:42 PM
Why? What do you feel is the problem with working with them?

04-03-2011, 12:56 PM
Why? What do you feel is the problem with working with them?
Putting them in? The rootballs are so heavy, it's just back breaking work. The bark is also fragile. Nicking it can brown out a whole side.

Taking them out? I guess it really depends on how high they are. They get HUGE. If they aren't bigger than 12 feet high and the customer would let me cut them off at the ground and leave the rootball in, I'd consider it. Otherwise, someone else can break their back. :)

04-04-2011, 10:01 AM
I guess the rootballs just get proportionally bigger compared to the size of the plant.

04-16-2011, 05:12 PM
The root balls are heavy, although the small arb's should pop out pretty easily. Are they easily accessible? Or far from road or driveway? I get $80 per hour for 2 guys plus dump fees and travel time. Also figure in any equipment if needed.

04-17-2011, 03:01 PM
I ended up charging 25 per tree. They were all in flower beds by the driveway in the front yard. It took me about an hour to remove them all by hand (15 min. per). I pretty much just rocked them back and forth to see how much they would uproot that way. Then the rest I used a pick and a garden spade, threw them on my truck and took them away. The job ended up growing from just 4 trees being removed to also adding more soil to the beds, killing the weeds, and putting down fresh mulch. I made some money, so it worked out nicely.

04-19-2011, 05:28 PM
Looking back now, would you have bid any part of the job differently? Do you feel there were any learning lessons from the job?

04-19-2011, 07:16 PM
Actually it worked out nicely. I think I priced everything out correctly. I found a formula for estimating the required cubic yardage of mulch in a home depot 1-2-3 gardening book. The formula worked out correcltly. I think it was "(square footage X depth of inches desired) / 324" It worked out nicely. I needed about 2.4 yards, so I bought 3 and had just enough to fill some small beds at my aunt's house, too. Not bad.

04-20-2011, 12:15 PM
How do you feel the estimated time compared with the actual job time?

04-20-2011, 08:48 PM
This is my first year on my own so I have had some trouble estimating jobs. Some of my clean-ups have been a little off in terms of time expected.

As for mulch, my previous experience is working with 2 other guys. Doing it myself is a much slower process. I've done 3 mulch jobs this year, and I think about 1 hour to spread 1 cubic yard of mulch has been working accurately thus far.

But I'll be honest, it's frustrating to see these jobs go slowly when I know how fast they could go with some help. I guess I have to find solace in the fact that all the money is coming to me. That being said, I can't wait to get enough clients to sustain hiring an employee. Not only do I want the help, I also wouldn't mind the company.

04-21-2011, 10:29 PM
Do you have any friends in the area that you could hire on per job depending on the size of it? Doing it that way, might help you scale your business up faster.

04-24-2011, 08:44 PM
Probably not. All of my friends have full time jobs. I could probably get them to help on weekends, but that's really not much help for me because I don't have that much work. I wouldn't want to wait for the weekend if I have free time to do a job during the week.

I think in my area the only source of labor I could use on an "as needed" basis would come from an illegal immigrant source. I'm not really interested in doing that, but I don't know anybody else who'd be willing to work whenever I need them.