Whether you want to renovate your home, build a new property or put away a pile of rubble, you will need the services of an excavating contractor. Excavation may not be the most exciting job in the construction industry, and the contractors rarely get recognition after a project is complete although they offer crucial services. Excavation projects include landscaping, hardscaping, installing/repairing/replacing sewers, septic tanks or wells, demolition services and maintenance.
Therefore, if you are looking for the best excavation contractor near you, we will guide you on the factors to consider before hiring the contractor, the costs of hiring, tips for finding the best contractor and questions to ask your potential contractor.
Factors to consider before hiring an excavating contractor
The process of selecting the right excavating contractor is vital in ensuring that your construction project becomes a success. Construction jobs are huge undertakings that require you to make the right choices for a tremendous impact. Poor decision making can result in setbacks such as delays and poor work quality. The main purpose of the selection process is to reduce risk, maximise the quality of work and improve the relationship between you and the contractor. The following are the important factors to put into consideration when selecting an excavating company.
1. Quality of the excavation equipment
It is vital to determine the quality of the equipment to be used based on past projects. This can assist you to assess the level of services the contractor provides. Also, the ability of the excavation company to manage their equipment can define the quality of work that their employees would offer. The contractor should have quality control and assurance programs to ensure that both equipment and employees provide high-quality services.
2. The right equipment
To complete the construction fast and as required, your excavating contractor will need a wide range of equipment for both small and large projects. Ensure that the equipment utilises advanced technology for grade control, and also ask for the requirements of equipment maintenance to ensure they operate at peak performance.
3. Experience and behaviour of the staff
Residential and commercial excavation is not as simple as it seems or sounds. There are building requirements for each project including local zoning laws, grades for excavating the soil and compaction of the fill. Only experienced staffs with knowledge, skills and good behaviour can deliver the required high-quality job.
Ask the contractor about the level of experience and competency of their employees regarding time management and quality of work based on previous projects. If the project involves the contractor providing energy sources, how keen are the workers on saving energy when doing the job?
Before you choose the right excavation contractor for your project, consider the cleanliness of the job site, and whether the contracting company is facing any prosecution due to illegal construction, waste disposal, as well as air and water pollution. Also, do the employees wear the right headgear, safety shoes, among other safety precautions?
5. Insurance and warranty
Your potential excavating contractor should provide a workers’ compensation, liability insurance and should also give you copies of both insurance certificates. The workers’ compensation ensures that all the employees are covered in case of any injuries when undertaking your project. The liability insurance is meant to protect your property from any damage that may arise during the excavation process. Lack of insurance can lead to litigation between you and the contractor if any of the employees are injured.
6. Disputes and risks
What is the level of competency of the contractor regarding delivery of the equipment and time management? Also, you should consider the contractor’s past projects to investigate whether there were disputes, arbitrations and the level of compliance with quality. Moreover, can the contractor predict any potential in the job site and can he or she establish prevention measures?
7. Recommendation and reputation
Before you hire a contractor, what is his or her company’s reputation? Your potential contractor should be reliable and honest. Moreover, you can ask your friends, family or co-workers for recommendations. You can also search online for their ratings and reviews from their previous clients.
Communication is an important factor in the construction process since you can’t always be there. Therefore, you must establish a method of communication between you and the contractor such as phone calls, emails, meetings among others. This will ensure that you are aware of the progress of the project and if there are any questions or anything that you would want to clarify, the contractor or project manager is available. Therefore, you should choose a contractor who can listen to your suggestions and ready to advise if there are areas you don’t understand.
Your potential excavation contractor should always be available although most of them have busy schedules and overbooked. Therefore before you hire one, make sure that he or she can commit all his or her resources and workforces to have your project completed on time.
10. Customer service
Although most clients overlook this factor, it is very crucial when looking for an excavation contractor. Choose one whose customer service is the priority. This is because, you feel satisfied if the contractor understands your needs and preferences, deliver high-quality job as well as manage your project as required.
The cost of excavation is very high. This is because the equipment used in the excavation is expensive to buy and very costly to insure. Most of the excavation contractors own or lease these heavy machines such as the excavators, trenchers, compactors among others. The contractor is responsible for submitting bids, and if it is successful, he or she should license the equipment as well as provide evidence of financial stability. The contractors are henceforth required to establish a bookkeeping system that helps to pay income taxes.
There is a lot more that happens when it comes to excavating other than hauling dirt around. This includes trenching, preparation of the site, grading and others, whose costs depend on the type of excavation that the contractors are doing. Excavators also called diggers has a bucket, cab mounted, and those with tracks rather than wheels are sometimes called trackhoes. Before we get to the costs involved in the excavation, let’s have a look at the various tasks that excavation contractors undertake.
The excavators draw up plans and get the correct permits to ensure they don’t cut through any gas or water pipes. The contractor removes the soils, sets new foundation and digs to the required depth to ensure that the soil is firm.
Excavating companies and contractors are seen as subcontractors as they normally are directed by general contractors, and their jobs are often associated to a larger project. They can be contacted to perform small projects, but they won’t necessarily oversee the whole construction project.
An excavation company can also do such things as dig ditches for grade roads,, water lines, dig ponds, gas lines and build drains on agricultural terrain among other soil works.
Land excavating and grading land
The contractors cut the land to lower the elevation area and sometimes fill an area to raise the elevation. These two form the main basis of land grading, which is commonly referred to the process of levelling an area to prepare it for building work. On the other hand, land excavation may involve setting out the corner bench to define an area, clearing the trees and shrubs, excavating to correct depth as defined in the building permit and installing systems to minimise erosion among other processes
Since the excavating contractors are responsible for laying grounds of various places such as banks, office, restaurants, industrial parks, shopping centres and laying grounds on the big infrastructural projects such as highways, it is hence important to know the cost that comes with this excavation services from the contractors. Among the many services offered by the excavating contractors include demolition services, compaction backhoes for trenching, earthwork among others. The below table summarizes the costs and prices of excavation.
| Type of excavation||Cost range per hour|| Inclusive||Cost per cubic yard||Cost per hour in $
|Major grading or resloping||Ranges from 118$-218$ ||Machine and operator||Ranges from 21$-42$ per cubic yard||Slightly over 168$
|Landscape grading||Ranges from 86$ -116$||Machine rental and operations||Ranges from 176-263$||Slightly over 100$
The cost of excavation for homeowners ranges from 1237$ to 4050$ and depends on a plethora of factors. For small projects, it can cost you up to 500$ while large projects can cost you a huge amount close to 8000$. It is important to note that each location presents its challenges and it’s for this reason that excavation projects from different regions differ in costs. The following factors would determine the price of excavation that the contractors will set out in the quote.
Type of work involved
There might be trees and hedges that the contractor is required to clear before starting with the work of excavation. Other things may include grubbing, digging and trenching that will affect the overall cost of the excavation
It may be difficult to access some places with large machinery such as excavator as there might be risks involved such as subsidence. Also, the geographical location, as well as proximity to endangered species or natural habitats, can determine the cost of excavation. In such areas, a lot of care should be put into consideration, which makes the whole process tiresome and costly.
The season and time of the year
During spring or even summer, many homes are being built; excavation tends to be on demand, which makes it expensive. During the winter season, the ground is usually frozen, which as a result skyrockets the cost of the excavation process. Also, different seasons come with varying thickness of the trees and vegetation. This means that in dense woodland, clearing the land through such things as removing trees and grubbing (roots) would be necessary, but costly. This is, however, necessary to prepare the land for bulk excavation. It is essential to note that while this is happening; the contractor should establish the right systems and measure to prevent subsequent soil erosion.
Size of the site
The total size of the area that excavation will take place can also greatly affect the cost of excavation. Factors considered involves the terrain of the area and type of soil and equipment that is needed to do the work. For instance, an area with loose soil mostly requires the contractors to cut the soil and refill the area. Excavation in a site with no trees or rocks in the dirt will be cheaper than working in a site that requires clearing and removing mature trees and even huge boulders that have been stuck in a clay-like soil.
As mentioned earlier, excavation is usually a part of the large construction project. Other parts that might be involved in the construction and can be added to the budget include:
|Construction work||Cost estimates in $
|Hiring a land surveyor||Over 450$
|Hiring a draftsperson||1600-1800$
|Hiring an architect||Over 4500$
|Hiring a construction manager||50,000-65000$
|Site cleaning||Over 400$
|Installing steel beams||Approximately 2500$
|Installing poured concrete walls||Over 10,000$
Machines used for excavation differ depending on the size of the excavation area and the type of vegetation available. Most of the time, piles of dirt and other debris that accumulate during excavation need to be relocated. This means moving the dirt to another place or spreading it out in another location; the overall cost will increase. Also, some methods used to control soil erosion include ground covering and compacting the area. However it all comes down to, the more involved an erosion control method is, the costly it will be for the property owner to pay for excavation services.
Ten Questions to Ask an Excavating Contractor
Excavating means digging or unearthing the ground which is necessary before construction can be done. If you need to remove a rock, dig a pond, swimming pool or a septic tank as well as grading and trenching, you may consider hiring an excavating contractor. The work involves the use of heavy machines- excavators hence the need for keenness in hiring an excavating contractor. In this case, you may need to consider asking the questions below to your prospect contractor.
1. Are you licensed?
This is essential for both parties to ensure that neither you nor the contractor may be breaking the law. In fact, a licensed contractor is more likely to be a law observer thus no need for alarm if they are licensed. Working with an unlicensed contractor is risky since, in case of a misunderstanding or damage, you may not be able to follow them up.
2. Do you have an insurance cover?
An insured contractor gives you a piece of mind. You are sure that if an accident occurs during the process or damage happens to your property, you will not be held liable. If the contractor is the one who causes damage to you, then you are guaranteed compensation. In this case, the process may also be easier compared to a contractor who has no insurance.
3. How much experience do you have in the field?
In today’s world, skills and experience are the key factors to consider when looking for an excavating contractor. Besides, you will be the employer right? A contractor with high experience guarantees good services since they are familiar with the machines and how to dig or unearth. However, you may consider a contractor with less experience, but who guarantees excellent services by showing you what they have done before.
4. Are there any referrals?
Referees also play a significant role in giving you proof that what the contractor says can do is true. You can ask the contractor to provide you with details of clients they have previously worked with. You may then choose to give them a call or even better, visit the site yourself for a better view and certainty of the services the contractor can offer. This gives you some guarantee of the contractor that you are about to work with. A reliable contractor who is confident with his/her services and employees should be ready and willing to give you the contacts.
5. What is the estimated cost?
Discussing payments of the contract is a key issue before the work starts to ensure that you agree to the terms and conditions. Ask whether there will be any extra costs for collecting the dirt removed? It is also important to agree on the right time to make the payments. Some contractors may ask for a percentage of pay before the work is complete. All you need to ensure is that the final payment is made once your work is finished to avoid arguments. There is need to read the contract thoroughly and understand the terms.
6. Where does the debris go? Do you offer waste disposal services?
Excavation process, be it digging a septic tank, swimming pool or landscaping involves removal of large amounts of dirt. It is important to ask the contractor whether they offer waste disposal services to cater for the debris. You do not want a large pile of dirt in your yard without an idea what to do with it. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the contractor you hire offers a plan for the dirt and mostly, go for one with dustbin services.
7. How do you dispose of dirt?
You may need to follow up on where the dirt will be disposed off once they put it in their dustbins. Most importantly in a case where hazardous materials are involved, then there is need to know how the contractor plans on disposing them of. There are city council laws in most countries that govern such disposals. Abiding by the law is the best option, and the contractor you hire should strive to do the same.
8. What can happen to my yard during the process?
Ask your potential contractor before hiring him/her whether the process is likely to cause any damage to your yard. Since the excavators are heavy machines, there is a probability that damage would occur during the process. Having an awareness of such a probability may ensure that you both get ready for such a situation. There is need to ensure that the contractor has put in place the right measures to prevent the damage as well.
9. What actions will you take in case a water pipe is hit or broken?
Water and sewer pipes, as well as other forms of pipes, run underground in the yards. During the process, a pipe can accidentally be hit by the machines causing a leakage. It is essential to ensure that the excavator you want to hire has such a case in mind and is prepared to handle it. With no prior knowledge of such events and how to handle them, it may cost you much more in the repairs. In some cases, one may be charged for damage where the pipes are public property.
10. How do you schedule the process and workers?
It is essential to ensure that you are aware of the scheduling of the work by the contractor. This allows you to plan yourself well to ensure that you will be available during the time they are working in your place. Similarly, where the contractor has several workers, it is important to know how they plan on organizing them. They may have badges on them, but there is need to know the persons you are expecting since it is your property and safety is always a key thing to consider.
If you are looking forward to hiring an excavating contractor to help with work in your yard, then the above questions are essential to ask. They will ensure that you both understand the terms of work to be done thus no arguments in the process. This plays a big role in ensuring that you receive excellent services.
Tips for finding the best excavating contractor
Never underrate the power of choosing the right contractor to do the excavation for you. Whether it’s just demolishing the area, digging a swimming pool, moving dirt around, land excavating or land grading or whatever excavation project that you have, it all comes down to choosing the right excavating contractor. This can help you save time and ensure a high quality work delivered.
It is not only important to choose professional contractors who will deliver excavating work properly, but also whom you can develop good working relationship since you will be working with the contractor for days, week or even months. There can be so much work while trying to sift through the various choices of the excavating contractors that you need to choose from especially if you don`t know what exactly you are looking for. These tips can help you choose the right excavating contractor near you.
1. Choose a licensed and insured contractor
Choose an excavating contractor who is licensed to do business in your area. The contractor should also be insured and bonded, as this demonstrates that he/she has passed the building codes tests and has essential knowledge of the building processes. The liability insurance covers all the costs of the damages that may arise during the excavation process. The codes of Practice cover excavation contractors, and it`s important that the contractor adheres to the rules and regulations set out
2. Choose a contractor based on your project type
Different contractors specialise in different kinds of projects. Therefore, it is important to choose an excavating contractor based on the type of project that you have and the one who understands the codes of your project. Find out the range of projects that the excavating contractor has been involved in and completed in the past. Choose a contractor who has completed a number of projects successfully since it means he/she can handle your specifications, as well as your needs and preferences.
3. Look at the previous projects
If you a placing a bid on the contractors, one of the specification would be for the contractor to have several work samples from previous works. This is very important as it sparks ideas for the projects and quality of work that the excavating contractor can do. You can also find information about your potential contractor by doing some online research since most of the well-established contractors have websites. You can also find some feedback from their previous clients, and this will help you rate their quality of work, and help you visualise what you can expect at the end of the project
4. Work with an excavating contractor you can trust
You need to have a good working relationship with your excavating contractor. This is because; you will be working together for weeks if not months hence a good working relationship that is built on trust is important, as it will determine the success of the overall project. You need to trust your excavating contractor 100 percent otherwise if you feel you can’t trust the contractor, drop him or her and choose another one that you feel comfortable working with.
5. Make a budget
It is most probable that you will end up spending some significant amount of money on the excavation services. It is, therefore, recommendable to shop around for the various costs of services from different contractors, and make your budget ahead of time before you finally make critical decisions.
Additionally, as you compare the bids, look deeply into the professional history of the excavating contractor and determine their rate of customer satisfaction.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
If you feel that a certain excavating contractor can do the job, don’t stop there. It is advisable to schedule for an initial consultation either on the phone or in person where you will have the platform to ask all the necessary questions. You can ask and confirm the kind of excavation project they specialise in, ask if the contractor has the right equipment. Also, you can also request for several references and get the opinions and thoughts of the previous clients.
7. Reasonable rates and flexible payments
Don’t always go for the contractors who offer their services at cheap rates since it is likely that their services are of low quality. Go for rates that are reasonable enough in the prevailing market and delivers sound value for the services that the contractor will provide. Have several options and weigh the one that offers the best value for your money. Also, ensure that the payment plan is flexible to make it easy to manage your budget and bills smoothly.
8. Set out your limits and guideline for your project
Before you decide to hire an excavating contractor, it is crucial to set out your rules and guideline on how you want your project done. You can set the date that you want your project to be done, and from there, the excavating contractor should be in a position to confirm if they can get everything done within the set deadline. A reputable contractor should be able to understand what you want and flexible enough to adjust to your needs. After all, the main aim is to satisfy your needs by delivering high-quality work by the set date. Other rules may be the reporting time and latest hours of operation.
There is so much that needs to be considered to consider when choosing the best-excavating contractor for your project. The contractor should be able to have all the necessary equipment to handle the specifics of your project. Important to note is that, before you finally decide on the excavating contractor to choose, you need to conduct a thorough research on various contractors and excavation companies out there. Additionally, do enough consultation, and check the reviews and ratings of the unbiased customers online. This is important before you settle for the contractor whom you feel can deliver your specific needs as well as high-quality work.