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Old 04-01-2010, 07:03 PM   #1
BioHazard
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Default How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

I need an approximately 200' long trench to lay 4" conduit in 36" deep for new power service. Nice straight line, soft clay soil. Plenty of machine access.

I'm just guessing I need somebody with a "ditch witch" to cut me a small line, right? Do they go 36" deep? I don't need to dig out the whole thing with a backhoe do I? It only needs to be wide enough for conduit...

Anyway, I've been getting quotes around $800-1000 for this plus materials...and another $500 to backfill! Does that sound like a ripoff to anyone else? Can I rent a machine and do it myself?
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

Sorry dont know cost to have it done. I rented a walk behind bobcat for weekend for $200 and had never used one. It was easy and I had good time. They had the small backhoe for the same price. After you dig it and lay line dont you have to wait for inspection? If so then you would have to do it by hand or rent again?
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

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Originally Posted by trade-n-games View Post
After you dig it and lay line dont you have to wait for inspection?
No, I'm just laying a pipe, then the electric and gas guys will come fish wires and pipes through it. I'd think it would be easier to do with the trench open, but they insist.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

When I was looking to do the same thing I could only find trenchers that went 30" x 4" wide.
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

Small tractor with a back-hoe, rent for a weekend for usually under $250, and do not only your trench but everthing else you need done! Even plant the partner's flowers, if need be...

Your quotes seem *way* too high, and if you don't wait for inspection you should not be really paying anything to backfill.
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

Please keep in mind the "backfill" should entail rolling or compaction especially if concrete is going over it
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

That bottom 6 inches is going to cost you.
As you said, most walk behind rental trenching machines only go to 30 inches.

But the rental places around here did have mini back hoes that could do it easy.
The problem is you have to rent the trailer, if you don’t have one.
Then you have to have a truck big enough to pull the trailer……

The estimates you have seem about right for an “official” job.
If you cannot find someone who takes his equipment home with him and can “drop buy” after work that may be the way to go.
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:47 PM   #8
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

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No, I'm just laying a pipe, then the electric and gas guys will come fish wires and pipes through it. I'd think it would be easier to do with the trench open, but they insist.
Electric and gas in one 4" conduit!? Not a good idea. Depending on local code gas can probably share the trench but not conduit.

I'm thinking you should do at least 2 conduits - 1 for electric power and 1 for low voltage. A third for future use is cheap and easy now.

Renting a small backhoe loader is probably the way to go. Lets you do the excavation and backfill with one machine. My local rental yard rents one for about $300 a day including delivery and pickup.
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Old 04-01-2010, 08:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

I just had my power lines buried. The trench cost me $1000. It was just over 100' x 3' deep, bottom was filled with sand. Then I ran 3 2" schedule 40 conduit. Then he back filled and added the caution tape just below the surface. He spent the whole day here and he brought the sand. $1000 bucks was cheap compared to what the electrician charged me!!
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:08 PM   #10
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

Its hard to say, all depends on were you live. For just conduit you should be able to go to a local rental place and rent a maching to do it. There is a number of machines you can do it with. compact skid steer with trenching attachment, backhoe, walk behind skid steer with trncher, compact excavotor, ride on or walk behind trencher, are the main ones youle see. I would say for your application a walk behind trencher is best.

home depot has a contract with ditch witch and there the company that makes walk behind trenchers there not a acutal machine
this should work ok
http://www.homedepotrents.com/proTools/trencher.asp

If you go to a rental place they should be able to guide you to what you need

As far as the backfill you can get a compacter or just do alot of walking and patting with a shovel I would recomend a "jumping jack plate compacter" there small and can get in tight spots for specific areas.
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:11 PM   #11
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

Why so deep? Is this for power company cables? Transformer to meter?

Code doesn't require anything deeper than 24 inches in most cases for residential. Did the power company specify 36"?

When the service was run to the meter on my shop, I had to hand dig across the septic line as I didn't know its depth. Top of the gravel was right at 30" which was what the PoCo engineer had told me it "had to be". Engineer also told me the conduit from the meter down into the ground had to be in place and buried with only the open end exposed in the trench. I was stupid and believed him. When the "underground crew" got there from the PoCo they cussed up a storm. I told them what the engineer had been so insistent about and they cussed him. Called him every name in the book, said he was an idiot and knew nothing about field work. They told me the trench only had to be 24 inches (they were right), and it was OK if the riser was inot installed or buried, they could feed the cable thru it and install it easy enough.

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Old 04-01-2010, 09:57 PM   #12
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

And I wanted EVERYTHING, electric, telephone, and water buried at least 4', and better yet 5' deep, and I am still pissed that none of the shit got done deeper than maybe 2 feet.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:05 PM   #13
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

I had 4" conduit for electric, 1" for telephone, 1" for cable and 2" for gas horizontal bored and pulled 350' for $850 with me supplying the conduit. Ohter than the pit at each end no open trenches. Alpha crop never knew what happened under it.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:07 PM   #14
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

When I had mine done, the power company wanted the lines below the frost level. I went down 48" and used a 2" PVC. I also ran separate tubes for the telephone and cable, along with a spare. On the pipe that goes up the pole, I gave the installers a weather head to use a the top. They really liked that idea, since the clay that they pack it will will eventually dry out and the pipe will fill with water. I also used weatherheads on the telephone and cable pipes.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:39 PM   #15
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

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Originally Posted by Art From De Leon View Post
And I wanted EVERYTHING, electric, telephone, and water buried at least 4', and better yet 5' deep, and I am still pissed that none of the shit got done deeper than maybe 2 feet.
Why the hell would you want it that deep?
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:39 PM   #16
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

Last summer I had alot of trenching done. I used a guy with a small Catapiller Backhoe because there were too many obsticles. I think that it was a 12" scoop. He charged $75/ hour. I was there with my shovel to make sure that his butt stayed on the digger. Anything that needed done on the ground I did while he kept digging.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:48 PM   #17
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

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Why the hell would you want it that deep?
I didn't want to take any chances of snagging anything if I wanted to plow a garden.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:54 PM   #18
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art From De Leon View Post
And I wanted EVERYTHING, electric, telephone, and water buried at least 4', and better yet 5' deep, and I am still pissed that none of the shit got done deeper than maybe 2 feet.
I buried some conduit a couple of years ago for running coax from the house to a tower I put up in the front yard. I found the specs and formulae for sch 40 pvc conduit and calculated the depth required, given an estimated load of a truck driving over it (which would only ever happen by pure drunken accident). Depth of 18" was much more that adequate to prevent crushing of the conduit.
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Old 04-01-2010, 10:56 PM   #19
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

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Originally Posted by Charles (in GA) View Post
Why so deep? Is this for power company cables? Transformer to meter?
Yep. I'm going for a new 200A 3 phase service, if not 400A. They call it "Unity" service...all the utilities are supposed to work together in one trench. They will pull power and phone through one pipe, and then I believe another conduit is used for the gas at around 24" in the same hole. Haven't decided if I want to pay for gas or not yet.

I've been trying to just find somebody that owns a tractor and needs some extra work...craigslist is where I got some of these ridiculous $1000+ quotes. It doesn't need to be compacted much, it's just grass on top.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBurgess View Post
I had 4" conduit for electric, 1" for telephone, 1" for cable and 2" for gas horizontal bored and pulled 350' for $850 with me supplying the conduit. Ohter than the pit at each end no open trenches. Alpha crop never knew what happened under it.
Now that sounds cheap! I didn't think they could do 4" like that...is it less expensive to hire someone to do that kind of work?
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Old 04-02-2010, 01:26 AM   #20
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Default Re: How much should it cost to have a trench dug?

That price doesn't sound out of line. I do some trenching on the side here in Ohio. I charge $2.00 per mile, and $2.00 per foot to trench/$1.00 per foot to backfill. So, if the job is 20 miles away, and 200 feet of trench, the charge would be $640. I would imagine if you live on the east/west coast the price would be higher.

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