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PRice per foot fot sod cutting / removal?

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  • PRice per foot fot sod cutting / removal?

    I got a job to quote, about 4000 sf of bahia sod to remove.
    Client wants just dirt left there. Later on a separate bid will be trees, mulch, rock etc. & that I've done before but I've never cut sod out & removed it. I haven't a clue how long it may take as far as man hours go or how many cubic yards of waste I need to expect to have to haul away?

  • #2
    I'm not sure on a going rate. I read something in the forum stating people will charge 5 to 7 for 1 cu yd of sod removal, hauling and disposal as well as topsoil when complete. I am guessing its 500 to 700 but that number seems a bit huge. I cannot imagine 5-7 dollars since the cost of soil can be much much more than that.

    I recently bid a job and bid high so I didnt shoot myself in the foot. Its 1806 sqfeet. He had the place 60% cleared of sod. the rest had been cut with a sod cutter in places and piled in 2 sq foot mounds in others. Also what weas completely removed had been put into bags and he wanted them hauled away.

    I figured I'll need to cover the bare soil with 2.5 inches of topsoil. At 144 sq feet of coverage per yard I need 12.5 yards. Well dont want to be short so I call it 13 cu yards. I called for a price and was looking at 425 to have it delivered and dumped. Well we need a markup so 425x2 is 850. Sounds good to start. Next I need to guess on man hours without getting screwed. I go a bit high at 20 man hours at 65 an hour. I figure 2 guys can knock it out in 8 hours but I want a cushion. We are not using equipment, just shovels and rakes to spread and rough grade. Thats 1300 for labor. Lets say another 300 to haul everything away and pay to dump it. I called it 2450. HE **** a brick and said you must not understand what I am looking for. I recapped what my understanding of the job was and he declined it.

    13 cu yards delivered = 425
    Markup = 425
    Labor 20 man hours x 65 an hour = 1300
    Removal from site = 300

    Did I bit too high? Possibly. I didn't really want to move 10000 # of fresh top soil and remove 7500 or more. I don't think it was unreasonable but who knows. Maybe next time I'll ask $1.00 per sq foot and see where that gets me. Try that number and see how it suits you. Of course you arent looking are adding topsoil so maybe you can cut it back to .50 or .65 per sq foot. I have found that when I guess how long a job will take me it takes double the time. I now go in guessing how long it will take and double it so I am more accurate. One of these days I'll get better!

    Hope that helped a bit. Maybe it is at least good for some insight.

    I dont regret not having to do all that work but I do regret not getting a bite and a hefty profit. I pay the guy I work with 7 an hour and told him if we get the job the hourly will go out the window. He will get a 200-300 depending on how long it takes. He is my first helper so I am winging it a bit.


    • #3
      As far as yardage of removal goes.. Figure you are removing about 3 inches in depth. Or just cut into it and see how deep it is. Then run the numbers.

      1' = depth is 320 sq feet per yard
      2" = depth is 160 sq feet per yard
      3" = ewpth is 120 sq feet per yard
      4" = depth is 80 sq fet per yard.
      It its more or a fraction take 320 divided by your inches to see how many sq feet per it takes to fill each yard.


      • #4
        Check your man hour rate. Seems VERY high... I run 9 full time employees, 5 trucks, riders, walk behinds, and all the goods... and were at a $37.00 per man hour rate... and I have alot of overhead.
        I've posted alot about learning your labor rate. It is vital to being a true business owner. Not just in this industry, but in any industry. When you know your numbers, you will NEVER lose money. If you need help with this or a more details about how to do this, just drop me an email at

        for anyone that needs assistance

        Occasionally, you'll hit a home run, but most of the time, swing to get on base.


        • #5
          After we talked on the phone, I tried to rebid that job but I don't think I'll get it at this point. oh well can't get emall right man?!


          • #6
            cant get email???


            • #7

              I told ya I am tired.

              Em' all... can't get em' all!


              • #8
                Yeah... i think you were a little high on the initial price... oh well... youll get the next one!


                • #9
                  I ended up getting this job though I discounted the price (it was kinda high) during negotiations. All in all was still a good day financially but man, is that hard work! I'm pretty #### sure I was boardering heat stroke on friday when we removed the lawn from this back yard. Next time I will spring to rent a skid steer rather than picking it up with shovels, rakes & pitch forks. Never Again. Lesson learned. The ridiculously hard way. About 3:30 in the afternoon I was dying (not literally but close) & my employee looks about the same. I started calling for back up to get a brother & another friend on the job. The customer over heard me on the phone, saying "I need help to get this job done if we're gonna finish it today, I'm already into a second days rental on the sod cutter as I didn't get it back in time.... it's a lot of work & we're exhausted... Can you come help us out?" He came out about an hour later & asked if I would be ok (financially) with the extra labor & rental fees. I said I should be ok but thanks for asking. Ya know you take the good with the bad in any business. He laughed.... When we finished as he handed me the final check he said "I added $200 bucks for you so please adjust your bill." I tried to decline & he insisted after watching us bust our butts all day.

                  What a great guy huh? I also picked him up as an annual lawn account & have a great chance of closing the deal on the landscaping too.


                  • #10
                    Chuck great job!

                    If you were to do it again, what advice would you have as far as bidding it?

                    Did you take any pictures of it or can you?

                    I'd love to see what you did.
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                        • #13
                          And after


                          • #14
                            hi guys,

                            Is that a sod cutter machine. If it is are they hard to use? Any one else try one?


                            • #15
                              Yes it is,
                              Not difficult to figure out but tiring. I got it all cut up in about 45 minutes but it takes alot out of you. vibrates like a jack hammer.


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