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I want to estimate a trenching job to do with my Kubota KX91-3 mini-excavator. The job is to dig trenches of up to 1,500 feet in length, about 12 inches deep, 12 inches wide for perforated drain pipe, and washed gravel. The depth should be as close as I can reasonably get with the machine, but I know that some manual adjustments will be necessary along the way to be very accurate. The area is actually a ball field at a school, so accessibility is very good, and the only obstacle might be an irrigation system. The ground in the area is clay, and usually hard packed. Since is not the primary work that I do, I need some advice about estimating it. How many hours should it take to dig the trenches with my machine? I will very much appreciate any feedback from anyone that has experience with such work. Thank you.
 

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Radical Basement Dweller
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Do you own a hard hat?

Better put it on.....:whistling
 
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(time to dig 1 foot) x (rate) x 1500 = price
 

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Gotta figure out your material price (pipe,stone, filter fabric) cost to dig (probably two days), time to install pipe and stone (two days) price to get rid of dirt. The trick is doing it within your timeline. We're general contractors by trade and do excavating as well we have a hard time being competitive with our excavating prices. Good luck!
Ps i dig with a Kubota 057 so I can relate
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just to clarify, all I want to find out is how long it should take to dig trenches totaling 1,500 feet in length, 12 inches deep, and 12 inches wide.
 

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Just to clarify, all I want to find out is how long it should take to dig trenches totaling 1,500 feet in length, 12 inches deep, and 12 inches wide.
Hop on the excavator and try it out. If I was doing it, it would take me 2 hours to dig up a full bucket.
 

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Just to clarify, all I want to find out is how long it should take to dig trenches totaling 1,500 feet in length, 12 inches deep, and 12 inches wide.
You really don't expect a serious answer, do you.

There is so much missing information in this, and that is why pricing questions are frowned upon here.

If your trench needs to have a minimum of 1/4" fall per foot in a level field perimeter, you will be looking at 30' of depth by the time you get to the end.

I can dig it faster than you, do you want to use my estimate, or do you want to use your rate of production?
 

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How in the hell can anyone answer that question without knowing the variables. Whats the soil type. Production for rock, clay, sand, and topsoil will all be different. What are you doing with your spoils? Just leaving them lay? Loading them directly into a truck? Throwing them out with the hoe, then loading with skid steer? How are you putting your stone back in?

For now, I say your production should be potato
 

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How in the hell can anyone answer that question without knowing the variables. Whats the soil type. Production for rock, clay, sand, and topsoil will all be different. What are you doing with your spoils? Just leaving them lay? Loading them directly into a truck? Throwing them out with the hoe, then loading with skid steer? How are you putting your stone back in?

For now, I say your production should be potato
You could spend some time thinking up a creative satirical answer, or just say tree-fiddy....I'll leave it up to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Inner10, you did not clearly read what I wrote. You are asking questions that I already answered. Smart ass.
 

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I would figure 2 days of digging to be on the safe side. You should be able to get 1000 feet in a day though. You would have to add in extra time for whatever else is required for the job. Just digging though I would figure 2 days
 

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Asking a question on this site seems to be a waste of time.
I'm not trying to be smart...but put yourself on the other end of things.

In your job description, you have "trenching", then you ask how long it should take to dig a trench.

Part of what I do is cabinet making. I am dreadfully slow at it. Leo and many more here could probably have 3-4 built while I'm busy putting one together. So, to ask how long it should take to do something is kind of tough to answer. My answer is going to be different than Leo's.

Maybe next time approach the question a little differently.

Coming here is not a waste of time but sometimes there is some ribbing that goes with the new guy and the questions they ask or how they ask them.

Hang in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Robie, I know what you mean. I know that it depends on the machine operator. I guess I would just ask how long would someone think that it would take for an average skilled operator. Not the most highly skilled, but someone who is average skilled, who has some experience on the machine. Thanks.
 

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AV68 said:
How many hours should it take to dig the trenches with my machine?
That is essentially your question, correct?

Now, consider that no one here knows you, or your capabilities, I personally have no experience with the excavator you plan to use.
We have no idea if you will have a grade checker and or someone cleaning the trench behind you.
We do not know if you will be using a laser level with a receiver, or if you will be using a transit/optical level, or if you will be painting a line on the bucket and using it as a depth gauge.

Some days I get in the groove and can plow out trenches like there is no tomorrow, other days I struggle to get fifty feet on grade.

Given the best of conditions, I might be able to clear out that 1,500' in about 1/2 a day. Severe conditions it might take weeks.

There is no way for one of us to estimate how long it will take you to do the job.
 

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12" depth in clay with a 12" digging bucket (depending on how many irrigation lines) should be pretty easy to get 1500' in a day for a decent operator. That's barely scratching into the ground, hope your only burying 4" pipe max though pretty shallow.

Like others have said though, much more to the question: check grade, fine grade or rough 12", load out spoils or pile next to trench, etc?
 

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With my Cat 315, I can dig a 3.5' deep trench in clay and hardpan with a 2ft bucket at a rate of 100'/hr. That is just dig, throw and go. No checking grades. I use my bucket as a gauge to know my depth. You are digging with a 12" bucket. Material tends to stick inside of the narrow buckets, so you may have to bang the bucket each cycle which will slow you down. You are digging in clay and since it is a ball field, I am assuming topsoil. Dirt will definitely stick. Checking grade will slow you down too. You mentioned it is a french drain, is the area wet ?? How will you be placing the gravel, track skid steer ? You also have to haul out the excess material. Will you be placing it right into a truck or dumping on the ground ?? Placing in truck takes alot longer, but saves on re-loading and keeps a neater jobsite.
 

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I'm confused. You own a mini but have no clue how long it takes you to dig? I know it would take me 2 days but that's figuring on loading out and placement of stone and pipe with 2 other guys.
 
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