How much do you charge for digging Trenches

AC\DC

Senior Member
Location
Florence,Oregon,Lane
Occupation
EC
I stated Digging trenches with my Jhon deer with Backhoe attachment. For underground pipe job.
Not super fast but better than my back.
How much per linear foot do you guys charge.
Did a large RV remodle my first time and made good money but did not charge enough for digging, this is what hit my profit. Hit a couple water line !!!!
I charged $2400 for a 3' deep 120 foot and a another 100 foot trench . So basically 10 dollar a linear foot.
Any help, Thanks
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I'd say there is a difference between hitting water line that was accurately marked and hitting one that wasn't accurately marked or was never identified at all and how you should handle cost of repairing it. That being on top of whatever your base charge for digging was in the first place.

Around here water lines are deep enough they usually aren't much concern for most electrical installs, but I've still had an occasion or two where I found a water line the easy way, which is to hit it with the excavation equipment.

Lawn sprinkler lines - those are never installed with tracer lines and never mapped well enough to be able to mark their location, I tell people I dig and if we hit them we charge whatever is needed to fix them, usually isn't all that much to begin with unless you are close to a sprinkler head, valve box, etc. and end up damaging those components as well. But then those components are not all that expensive as a general rule anyway, will possibly cost more in time spent to locate them ahead of time than to just fix them if you hit them.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Location
Henrico County, VA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I usually offer the customer the choice of handling it, doing it themselves or hiring someone. If they decline, I hire a service to trench or bore, and mark up the cost like any other expense.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I'd say there is a difference between hitting water line that was accurately marked and hitting one that wasn't accurately marked or was never identified at all and how you should handle cost of repairing it. That being on top of whatever your base charge for digging was in the first place.

Around here water lines are deep enough they usually aren't much concern for most electrical installs, but I've still had an occasion or two where I found a water line the easy way, which is to hit it with the excavation equipment.

Lawn sprinkler lines - those are never installed with tracer lines and never mapped well enough to be able to mark their location, I tell people I dig and if we hit them we charge whatever is needed to fix them, usually isn't all that much to begin with unless you are close to a sprinkler head, valve box, etc. and end up damaging those components as well. But then those components are not all that expensive as a general rule anyway, will possibly cost more in time spent to locate them ahead of time than to just fix them if you hit them.
 

rambojoe

Wireman
Location
phoenix az
Occupation
Wireman
Its usually per hour... Used to be 180$ per for a full size backhoe, not including a water truck. Per foot isnt a great way to do it... Might want to figure both ways, but including proper compacting you cant loose per hour.
 

Dzboyce

Senior Member
Location
Royal City, WA
Occupation
Washington 03 Electrician & plumber
Ditchwitch R6510 6"x36" deep. 3-400 feet per hour if no other utilities
Case 580M backhoe 24"x 36" deep 100-200 feet per hour if no other utilities.
City street with asphalt 5 ft deep trench. 50-250 feet per day, depending on other utiilities.
 

edward

Senior Member
Location
CA
Occupation
Electronologist
$30 to $50 per foot. Hand digging and back fill. 14" wide by 40" On private property with regular soil.
 

Another C10

Electrical Contractor 1987 - present
Location
Southern Cal
Occupation
Electrician NEC 2020
If I dig by hand, I charge the normal 80.00 per hour, if it takes me 8 hours to dig 15' then that's 640.00. if it takes me 15 hours to dig 15' then that's 1200.00, I wont hand dig below 18". 95% of the time the clients kid or gardener does the trench and I fine tune it.
 
I'm in the per hour camp. Here there are lots of rocks, shale, bedrock close to the surface.....Ditch witch type machines are pretty much out. I'd probably charge $80-$100 per hr to bring my tractor loader back hoe to a job.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
If I dig by hand, I charge the normal 80.00 per hour, if it takes me 8 hours to dig 15' then that's 640.00. if it takes me 15 hours to dig 15' then that's 1200.00, I wont hand dig below 18". 95% of the time the clients kid or gardener does the trench and I fine tune it.
When I was only 19-20, my boss was about 10 years older than me, I remember digging what was nearly the equivalent of a grave to repair existing underground (probably rodent damaged, I can't remember anymore) several times. Luckily most or even all those we hand dug like that were at least in easy digging sandy soil.

Might not cost the customer much different but today most would still probably use a backhoe just to get more work done in a day.
 

retirede

Senior Member
Location
Illinois
But how "mini"? I once came to a site and a guy was digging footings with this tiny mini excavator, not much bigger than a lawn tractor. I asked him if he was going to put that thing back in the toy box when he was finished with it.

Needs to be upper end. 50HP, 20’ reach.
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
I'm in the per hour camp. Here there are lots of rocks, shale, bedrock close to the surface.....Ditch witch type machines are pretty much out. I'd probably charge $80-$100 per hr to bring my tractor loader back hoe to a job.
$80-$100 for just the machine, and another $80-$125 for you, right?

IMO, the machine charges a separate man rate
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
$80-$100 for just the machine, and another $80-$125 for you, right?

IMO, the machine charges a separate man rate
I think around here the hourly rate usually covers the machine and operator for equipment like this that is brought in, but hard to say how it works when the equipment is owned by the contractor.
 
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