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10 Factors That Affect the Price of an Excavation Project

Many different renovation projects require doing business with an excavation company. Without knowing the specific information relating to the project, it’s hard to give an idea of the final cost. However, we’ve assembled a list of all the different factors that could affect the price, in order to give you an idea of what to expect.

Factors that affect the price of an excavation project

1. The type of project

The main factor that affects the price is the type of work that is being done. Why is it that you need to excavate the soil around your house? Here are a few examples of projects where the ground will have to be excavated:

  • To dig a basement;
  • To work on the building’s foundation (repairing, rebuilding);
  • Installing a French drain;
  • Installing or repairing a septic tank;
  • Removing a layer of soil to clean or decontaminate the land;
  • Repairing an asphalt entrance or paving stones that are cracked;
  • Putting in a swimming pool.

2. The type of equipment that will be required for the job

Each of the aforementioned projects is completed using different processes and the equipment is different from one task to another. Excavation tools and machinery are big and heavy. Companies spend a lot of money on operating and maintaining these machines.

For information purposes, if the contractor uses a caliber 160 excavator, an hourly rate for using this machine would run approximately $120/hour. Add to that a basic fee of $200 to cover transportation costs. Using a bulldozer will be charged around $100/hour, adding a basic fee of $150.

3. The size of the hole and the amount of soil and waste that has to be moved

The price will also depend on the size and depth of the hole that is being created. For example, the hole will have to be much deeper for a pool, compared to what has to be done for a French drain. Digging a bigger hole will also increase costs relating to soil and waste removal. The contractor will charge an extra fee to cover this part of the task. Some charge an hourly rate, whilst others bill according to the size of the truck they will use to bring the piles of soil and rocks to a quarry or to a dumping ground.

4. The time of the year during which the work will be completed

During certain periods of the year, contractors are more or less busy. This means that prices will likely be cheaper during the off-season. However, before you start hiring a contractor during the early Spring or during the Fall, check if the outdoor temperature could affect the work to be done after the excavation process. In certain cases, you will have to wait for mild or warm weather (ex: paving an entrance cannot be done when the air is too cold).

Photo: Landscape Advisor

Photo: Landscape Advisor

5. Where you live

Prices may also vary depending on where you live. The farther away you are from the excavation company, the more they will charge to get to your house and to cover the cost of various trips (to the dumping grounds, to the home renovation store, to the gas station…)

6. The type of soil

If the soil in your yard has particular characteristics that complicate the excavation process, this could affect the final price. Many different types of soils exist. Of course, soft ground is easier to dig whereas soil that is hard and stony will make things more complex. In certain cases, the excavation company could also have to demolish a concrete slab or a solid structure.

7.Cost calculation methods

Each company uses different cost calculation methods. In some cases labour costs and equipment usage are charged on an hourly basis, soil removal is calculated according to the size of the truck and extra charges, like adding a new layer of soil, are added subsequently. That’s why it’s so important to ask the contractor for a precise breakdown of all the costs.

8.Staying away from offers that seem too good to be true

Be careful not to fall into a trap. If a price seems too cheap, something must be wrong. To turn a good profit, some companies will schedule numerous contracts back to back, prioritizing quantity and speed over quality. You’ll save money on the spot but will end up paying further down the road, when you are faced with problems relating to the quality of the work.

9. Specialized contractor or general contractor

Some contractors only work on excavation projects; therefore, you’ll have to hire other people for the other tasks. In other cases, one company can offer multiple services (ex: excavation and installation of a French drain). If you do business with this type of company, the full price will be on one bill and you won’t have to deal with different contractors, which could make things easier for you.

If you’re planning a large-scale renovation project, it could be worthwhile to hire a general contractor who will be there to oversee the project from start to finish. General contractors tend to be a bit more expensive but they take care of everything.

10. Don’t make the mistake of wanting to DIY

Thinking about renting an excavator and a waste bin and doing things yourself? Think again! Many people believe that they can operate and maneuver the machine by themselves, spend a few hours digging a hole and get rid of the extra soil by putting it into bags that they will leave on the side of the road. However, so many things can go wrong. If you make a mistake and cause damages, it will end up costing you a lot more than if you’d done business with professionals in the first place.

Choose a trustworthy excavation company

One last piece of advice: before you sign a contract with an excavation company, make sure that the quote contains specific information detailing the prices for each service. This will prevent unpleasant surprises.

Get 3 renovation quotes for your excavation project

RenoQuotes.com can help you find a trustworthy contractor for your excavation project. By submitting your project to us, we’ll be able to put you in contact with the best companies in our network. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes) and you will be contacted by home renovation specialists. 



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