Cost of minor grading work

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Old 04-25-15, 06:21 PM
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Cost of minor grading work

Been calling local companies with no luck of getting anyone out to give estimates however everyone seems to be eager to throw numbers over the phones.

I have roughly 1600sqft of yard that needs cleaned up. There are raised areas in the back yard from previous bushes and rocks that use to surround the boarder. This is the main area of focus to grade as well as the side of the house where I removed a concrete slab.

Any ideas what a realistic cost of doing this is? I am also not affraid to do it myself if I can get my hands on the right equipment. I'm getting pricing from .54 cents to $2 roughly a sqft just over the phone.
 
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Old 04-25-15, 06:28 PM
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this is the yard
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Old 04-25-15, 06:38 PM
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Not in that line of work but I would not bid a job like that by the square foot, I would figure it by the hour plus travel distance to cover fuel costs.

In our area I think Bobcat guys will get about $125 - $150 per hour with likely a 3 hour minimum. Add about $50 - $100 for fuel, and add for any disposal or fill needed to be brought in. Around $1000 does not sound out of line to me, but I live in Minnesota. YMMV

** Pictures tell me more. I don't know if I would want a bobcat in the yard with the pool there.
 
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Old 04-25-15, 06:51 PM
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Where anything is buried, gas line, electrical, water, those should all be hand dug to identify where they are and how deep.
Depending upon how deep the "good" soil is, once graded you may be exposing "bad" soil which would necessitate some excavation and bringing in some top soil.
I hate grading an existing lawn as trying to salvage that top soil is very labor intensive. On a DIY basis you might run a rototiller over it to break up the sod, but a contractor will just haul it away.

Have you priced the rentals in your area?

Bud
 
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Old 04-25-15, 09:59 PM
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Yeah I priced tillers and sod cutters which really are not all that much. I don't have drainage issues or anything so the grading is more for a level out and pitch for a clean slate to work with. Of course there is hauling out the dirt, rock and whatever else is needed which I can take care of but would prefer not to. No worries of gas lines or electrical lines in my back yard to worry about except the pool which is marked.
 
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Old 04-26-15, 04:39 AM
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Just an FYI, in my state calling Dig Safe prior to any ground work in mandatory if you want to stay in business. But it is free. They did some ground work not far from me and didn't call because they were well away from the road. But for some crazy reason so were the buried lines. In front of my house they marked the lines but the big machine didn't pay attention. Cut a fiber optic line. Repair was over $100,000 and the contractor had to pay. Plus he faced loss of service law suits from several businesses who were out for a couple of days.

I realize you are comfortable knowing what is in your back yard, but if I were doing the work I would have to call and so should any contractor you hire. The only negative side is it adds a delay. Not sure if AZ has a similar service.

As for no one coming out to give a quote, the good guys are busy and the ones who might come out, well, maybe you would be better off waiting for the good guy . Doesn't mean they are bad, but there is usually a reason they aren't busy.

Stop in at your local JD and Kubota dealers (or others) and talk to them about who might be available and reasonable.

Bud
 
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Old 04-26-15, 05:06 AM
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That yard looks relatively flat already . . . . how about investing in a couple truckloads of topsoil or horse manure and using a wheel barrow to spread it around ?

If permitted, an occasional campfire built on each old stump will rid you of those . . . . or maybe an inexpensive chainsaw.

Last fall, I took delivery of about 25 truckloads of soil/peat/muck from a nearby wetlands project, and hooked up an old sewer grate to the back of my riding lawn mower to drag over the surface a few dozen times to smooth it off. I've seen other people drag old bed springs behind them to do that smoothing.

You'd get some good exercise and be left with a few pieces of equipment that may have a future use . . . . or you could sell/rent them to your neighbors who admire your work; and it would be a good time to seed that lawn too.
 
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Old 04-26-15, 02:43 PM
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Bud: We had someone to come out and mark lines as that is why I am saying there isn't anything to worry about. This was one of the first things we did when we signed off on the pool remodel the other week.

Vermont: The yard is fairly flat as it is except around the border near the walls where it was a raised area with oleanders stuffed back there at one point. Everything needs to flow from the pool area around to the side of the house and drain towards the street. I just didnt think it would be that hard considering the yard is mostly flat to begin with but I would rather is get done professionally if possible. I just don't know what to expect in terms of costs.
 
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Old 04-26-15, 04:41 PM
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You may find that the cost of someone getting equipment delivered and then maneuvering it around in that little back yard exceeds the cost of the work they can actually accomplish for you.

And the liability associated with that concrete block wall makes working there even more confining. Make certain they are completely covered for any damages.
 
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Old 04-26-15, 05:47 PM
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I lived in Phoenix several tears and ground is rock hard unless it's rained recently. How much access to back yard when I lived there all we had was a man gate to yard. May have to be all hand work if no access.
 
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Old 04-27-15, 06:08 AM
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Roto Till

Check your local equipment rental business. Look for a small skid steer loader with a roto tiller attachment. One day's rental should be adequate.
 
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Old 05-06-15, 08:02 PM
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Just a quick update, I ended up hiring it out and I tell you it was def worth it as there was a lot more going on that I anticipated. About 16 tons of dirt/rock had to be dumped and there were two nice sized stumps hidden under the dirt and rock. Now onto the phase
 
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