Directional Boring cost and method

I'm being told that I'm going to need to include the cost for directional boring on two sections of a conduit run. I have no Idea how much to charge? The first bore is under a 12' wide side walk and the 2nd bore is under a single lane roadway approximately 12.6 ' wide. How much is this service running? Is it possible with creative equipment IE 1" pipe and water or 1" pipe and mallet. Obviously I have no clue... I really would like to keep this client because most of there work is remodel residential which I do really well.


Senior Member
NE (9.06 miles @5.9 Degrees from Winged Horses)
Electrical Contractor
Setup charges for each of those bores would be high. $8-$10 per foot for the guy I use, plus setup. The rates in your area will be different. Call one & ask.
Could they bore the whole project? Remodels that want to save the landscaping is a good place for boring.

They used to sell DIY boring kits that use water and a right angle drill, which may work for you depending on soil type.


Senior Member
Nashville, TN
Some 20 years I was working for a company that hired a directional borer to drill under an employee parking lot. The boring company "found" one of the sprinkler system supply lines. :eek: Having a Certificate of Insurance from you sub is always a good thing.


Senior Member
Fort Myers, FL
In my lifetime I have seen, during boring operations:

Cut telephone trunk line.
Cut gas main (utility main; not a site main)
Found coffins with human remains. It stopped the job and archeology was required at property owner's expense.
Cut phone line (site only and I that one was on me when I was young & dumb).
Discovery of endangered species.
Abandoned foundations.
Buried junk.
Rock, gravel, clay and all sorts of things you never want to find.

Advice: Sub it out and as previous poster said, make sure he's duly licensed and heavily insured. Add on your 10% markup or whatever you would normally do.


~~Please excuse the mess. Sig under construction~~
In my lifetime I have seen, during boring operations:

Advice: Sub it out and as previous poster said, make sure he's duly licensed and heavily insured. Add on your 10% markup or whatever you would normally do.
yep. you don't want to do this yourself. under a sidewalk is one thing,
under a roadway is a whole nother thing. hell, anymore, driving a
ground rod is as much of a thrill as i want...

i watched the hor bor guy punch a fire main on a job i was foreman on.

did you know that the water squirts up all the way around a parking lot
at the seam between the asphalt and the curbing? not quite as dramatic
as the fountains at Bellagio, but you get the idea.... a little six inch mini
fountain, adds a nice touch to the parking lot.

then, 'cause there was now mud under the asphalt the parking lot was
removed, and replaced.

they never even made it to crossing the six lane roadway... they went
about 40'. good times.


Electron manager
NE Nebraska
You need to use some judgement on what you may encounter should you bore it yourself, depending on soil type and no further then you need to go connecting a water hose to a piece of conduit and "washing" it under the sidewalk works fairly well as long as there is no obstruction to hit. I've pushed 2" PVC about 30-40 feet under a railway in sandy soil with this method before, most other times has usually been smaller raceway and/or shorter distances.

Professional boring contractor will charge you more to show up then it will cost to do the short distances you are requesting. Be prepared for at least $100 just to show up, but depending on what they drag with them for equipment and crew - you may expect at least $500 in many cases. Guys that don't have the most advanced equipment still have over $1 million in equipment that they tote around to every site they go to on a daily basis, you don't recover that kind of investment by charging $100 for a job that takes at least 1-2 hours just to show up, set up and take down, even though the actual boring itself only took 5 minutes or less.


Senior Member
The cost depends on a few items missing from your post. How deep do you need to be? how big of a conduit? how many conduits? that being said I don't believe your project requires directional boring. The distances are not that long. Typically you excavate on each end and have additional trenching when boring.

if it were me i would do the following.

call dig safe and have them mark the area.
dig both sides of the sidewalk and the road.
if its a small pipe i would just sledge hammer through.
if its a bigger pipe i would use an excavator bucket to push it through. (helpful hint here make sure you have something between the bucket and the conduit or you could punch a hole in the bucket).

i would not recommend using water as that might undermine to much material.

here in MA its would cost you $1,200.00 just to show up.


Senior Member
Raeford, NC
I use a guy out of Hope Mills. He charges $1800.00 min. charge to put in 1 1/4" conduit for no more than 100 ft. Your problem is going to be the road way especially where you are located. You may very well have to submit drawings and get permits from DOT to go under the road. Is the job on the island?