Starting out how do yall handle trenching.

Merry Christmas
Do yall contract out or rent equipment until u own a trachoe or ditchwitch?

Every company ive worked at has been establish for well over 20 uears and they all have cranes, trachoes, ect. Whats the most cost effective solution for someone with just cordless tools and a shovel.
 

Terminator5047

Senior Member
Location
Saint Louis
Occupation
Electrician
Do yall contract out or rent equipment until u own a trachoe or ditchwitch?

Every company ive worked at has been establish for well over 20 uears and they all have cranes, trachoes, ect. Whats the most cost effective solution for someone with just cordless tools and a shovel.
Rent on a Friday that way you get 3 days for the price of 1
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
Figure out if you're more efficient running wire or digging ditches, and do that.

I can tell you for sure, I can do $3,000 worth of electrical work in the time it would take me to dig a $500 ditch. Therefore, I sub out ditches
 
Figure out if you're more efficient running wire or digging ditches, and do that.

I can tell you for sure, I can do $3,000 worth of electrical work in the time it would take me to dig a $500 ditch. Therefore, I sub out ditches
Definitely. I have a TLB and dig sometimes, just for something different but yeah usually it's not worth my time and hassle.
 

romex jockey

Senior Member
Location
Vermont
Occupation
electrician
easy.....i'm old, slow, got one speed .....and it's not getting any better

folks that hand me a shovel usually figure that out quick

~RJ~
 

James L

Senior Member
Location
Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
Occupation
Electrician
So im guessing contract out is the concensus.
Depending on what you're trenching...

The guy I use does services, pretty much exclusively, and uses a mini-ex. He provides all the pipe and fittings and installs it. Everything he does is 3" because that's the minimum size for Evergy (the biggest POCO here). He backfills immediately after, and it's one-and-done.

If I had something else like a detached garage, I would look for somebody to use a walk-behind. Last one I did, my price was high enough to make the remodeler look for somebody else to dig and backfill. Turned out to be the framing carpenter. And it was the best trench I've ever seen.
 

paulengr

Senior Member
1. You can’t avoid some hand digging even with tools.
2. Price equipment rentals into the bid. Big companies have big overhead and often even if they OWN the equipment they charge for it. I’ve seen charges per labor hour and by craft/title (field electrician, foreman), plus pickup trucks, welders, man lifts, you name it. Plus those big companies may own equipment but it still needs service and they can’t ever own enough so they rent too. And they have the accounting departments, storage and maintenance on that equipment, buildings, HR departments, and owners yachts to pay for. So they honestly can’t compete with small companies and go after huge jobs where they can spread out the overhead and still make money. Don’t be afraid to include equipment charges too. If someone balks, roll up the costs. So if you have a detailed bid with say $10k materials, $6k labor, and $1k equipment just change it to $17k or $10k materials and $7k labor. Does it matter that not all the labor is in that number? No.
3. The companies that own cranes, etc., are mechanical or rigging companies. Look at any mechanical crew and what do you see? Trucks and trailers everywhere, and tons of people. Mechanical jobs are typically 90% labor. They are spreading all their overhead over the mechanical crews, and mechanics, bricklayers, concrete laborers, etc., are cheaper than millwrights and electricians. In a typical say new chemical plant project with a million dollar budget the electrical might be say $100k. That’s a pretty typical number. Masonry might be say $100k. So the focus is on the $800k mechanical cost. The problem for you is the big contractor can cut the electrical bud by say $50k and just make it up on a $800k job some place else so they can outbid you every time on big jobs just to get the entire $1 MM job. But they won’t touch a $25k electrical only job which is fine for someone starting out.
 
Yea ive been in heavy industrial jobs and i wont do it more than likely when i get established. I really dont want an outfit that big. Sure small creosote plants and cooling tower installs are fine but working in paper mills around acid salts and brown liquor and all that red tape and anxiety just doesnt mesh well with me. When i did it our boss contracted us out to a bigger company and we had never done it before. All i did the whole time was install infrared windows and the other guys just painted grease onto buses and breaker connections. Makes for a real slow day.
 

hillbilly1

Senior Member
Location
Atlanta,Ga
Occupation
Field coordinator/ technical support
My sub does it cheaper than I can rent the equipment alone. We sub all of our parking lots now. They will do it turn key. Pole bases, conduit and wire.
 
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