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  1. #1
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    251
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Tractor
    John Deere 4300 HST

    Default How much to charge for backhoe work?

    Over the last few days, I've been doing some work for my uncle who is my next door neighbor. He told me up front he'd pay me a fair rate. If he hadn't gotten my help he either would have had to hire a contractor or had his backhoe shipped home and back up north to do the work on his own.

    I spent about 10 hours digging for him. He filled the holes back in with a skid-steer. I'll use my landscape rake to finish the ground over the dug-up area. He really needed the work done, so I used some time off I had from work to help him.

    What does anyone else use for rates? In my mind there are probably different rates for people, family and even friends. Is $25/hr fair for both sides? Too much$, not enough$?

    I do lots of other little things around his place like tilling and spraying for bugs. In return he has given my wife and I gift certificates and taken me out on his boat fishing.

    Thanks. I didn't have much luck finding previous posts on the matter. Maybe a few on brushhogging.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    1,726
    Location
    Cambridge, New York
    Tractor
    JD425 lawn tractor; JD4710 CUT; JD JX75 Walk Behind

    Default Re: How much to charge for backhoe work?

    <font color="blue"> "...Is $25/hr fair for both sides? Too much$, not enough$?.."</font>

    It's way too much. Charge him nothing. Consider it as an act of good will given from the heart and your uncle will very likely return the favor one day in his own way many times over. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

    ...Bob

  3. #3
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Posts
    251
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Tractor
    John Deere 4300 HST

    Default Re: How much to charge for backhoe work?

    Thanks Bob. It's already a great give/take relationship. I'd like to keep it that way.

    To give a bit more insite, a month and a half ago, one of his sons inadvertantly ruined part of their drainfield (oops). He needed it fixed ASAP. My uncle doesn't consider this a scratch my back, I'll scratch yours scenario.

    My uncle owns a gas station, and I never expect or am given gas, pop, etc while being a patron there.

    I'd like to do it for free of charge, but really don't think I should. Just want to think of a fair amount to charge. It's not a charge for labor, just machine wear, tear, fuel, etc.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How much to charge for backhoe work?

    I have a neighbor who does custom work with a 30-HP CUT. He does tiller, loader, leveling and mower work. He charges $40 an hour for anything he does. 'Course he has insurance/etc to pay for, and other business expenses.

    $25/hour seems like a good deal to me.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    97
    Location
    Florida
    Tractor
    2000 John Deere 430 Hydro. 32 HP

    Default Re: How much to charge for backhoe work?

    Here in florida, hrly rates range $60-$75 per hr. I done a few favors for friends, then it started getting out of hand. They tell their neighbors, them theirs and so on. Next thing you know, er'one expects you to work for free. Its ok to do favors for a select few, but you have to make it perfectly clear, its only for them, and they should not advertise your services for free or even "cheap". They should leave that part up to you. Just off the top of my head, I'd say I donated 20 hrs for free, another 50hrs. for minimum fuel, say $50 for 3-4 hrs, "I had to trailer machine" and yet more at $20-$30 an hour, and its really not worth it. If you have a friend who actually helps you, then its different, but dont let er'one run your machine in the ground for free. You have to consider, it cost you what? "$20,000++??" and the warranty will expire before you know it, and then, it'll start costing you to maintain it on that level, and its not cheap. I would say under the circumstances you described, at least $30 per hour would be more than reasonable. I will no longer offer mine for less than $50 per hr. Unless its like just loading the bucket by hand and moving "like firewood", then I make some adjustments. But if the tractors runnin constantly and workin hard, its worth every bit of $50 hr. At 300 hrs. the depreciation schedule according to my dealer, takes a drastic drop, then 400 another and so on. Its a fact of life, these machines cost us money!!! Better yet, ask if you can borrow his caddilac for trip to the other side of the state in exchange, LMAO!!!!!!

  6. #6
    Elite Member hazmat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
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    4,023
    Location
    West Newbury, MA & Harrison, ME
    Tractor
    Kubota L5460HSTC

    Default Re: How much to charge for backhoe work?

    <font color="blue"> To give a bit more insite, a month and a half ago, one of his sons inadvertantly ruined part of their drainfield (oops). He needed it fixed ASAP. My uncle doesn't consider this a scratch my back, I'll scratch yours scenario.
    </font>

    The rate should be $0. He is your uncle &amp; Neighbor and needed the work done. Maybe let him take you out to dinner.

    <font color="blue">My uncle owns a gas station, and I never expect or am given gas, pop, etc while being a patron there.
    </font>

    Big difference between your 10 hours of work &amp; a free fill up every time you need gas. - Besides that is his livelyhood - I'm assuming you are a weekend warrior on the tractor like most of us here at TBN.

    My parent's just bought a second home in Maine. It has about 8 acres of field that will need to be cut. My pops is paying for a cutter &amp; a trailer. I'll provide the tractor &amp; labor as long as they own the place for no charge. He has helped me out countless times my entire life. It's the least I can do (especially since I'll get to enjoy the "farm" as well).

    If I'm able to pick up a couple of side jobs with the tractor because of the trailer - I'll be sending a good chuck of it his way to pay for the trailer.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    97
    Location
    Florida
    Tractor
    2000 John Deere 430 Hydro. 32 HP

    Default Re: How much to charge for backhoe work?

    Yes, I will still do some favors for a select few, but when needed, I would hope they might give me a hand too. If someone is close "frienship" and might help you in a jam, then yes, I would do them a favor, but then again, 10 non stop hrs. is a BIG favor. If I were you, this is the way I would look at it. If he's not real close "as a friend" and there's not much of a chance of his helping you out "not that you would ever ask", I'm sure you know what I mean,,,good luck,,,,

    I very seldom ask for anyones help, its just whether they would be there for me, "if I did need them".
    Otherwise, I would be doing favors for the whole neighborhood "again", and most just drive by and throw empty beer cans in my yard, lol

  8. #8
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    251
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Tractor
    John Deere 4300 HST

    Default Re: How much to charge for backhoe work?

    Thanks for the input...

    It's all been taken care of. When they first asked me to help, they started out by asking if I wanted to make some extra money. They wouldn't have let me do the work for free.

    I recommended $25 an hour, they payed $40.

    If I never did a single "favor" for friends and neighbors, I might never get enough wear on my tractor to have to rebuild anything major in my lifetime. That would be great, however I'm not a big enough jerk to tell anyone I won't help them.

    Labor is one thing, but equipment and materials are another. I would thoroughly enjoy doing work like this for all my friends and family for free, however I can't afford that. The cost of my equipment is my comparison to my uncle's gas station. Not just that it's his lively hood. More of a point that I don't expect him to spend money to help me out and vice versa.

    The other odd-jobs I'll do around their place this summer won't cost them a dime.

    I really have some wonderful family members around. My parents, grandparents, 2 uncle's, 1 aunt, 1 great aunt, 2 cousin's, and 1 2nd cousin all live on the family's original quarter-section-bought back in 1848.

    They would all help each other anytime that they could.

    Sorry upfront if any of my comments were snippy [img]/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]. Spent the evening, with my uncle and family at the international freedom festival fireworks in Detroit/Windsor. I'm tired and my thoughts may not be complete.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Posts
    97
    Location
    Florida
    Tractor
    2000 John Deere 430 Hydro. 32 HP

    Default Re: How much to charge for backhoe work?

    Well, I hope they aren't snippy, and/or snippy in my direction. You asked for advice, and I basically told you how I resolve these issues in my own mind. I never "act like a jerk", Its just it started getting out of hand as far as me and my machine are concerned. It appears you pretty much used the same logic as I have described, and I meant no offense to "Anyone". Eve n "I" said I still help a select few, and even, "for free". But when you have 10 people a week bangin on the door, you have to draw a line somewhere. There's a piece of Vacant property nearby, actually, swampland, you would not belive how many people "I dont even know them" go in there 4 wheelin, bury their truck/car up to the doorhandle and then come to my house because they see the tractor and other equipment. I pulled a few out, and no-one ever offered a single$ for helping, finally, it got to be an every day affair, and I just had to tell them. I'll be truthful, almost every single neighbor has been over to ask for something, and I just cannot afford to donate all the time and energy, I mean like 20 people!! Maybe you dont have as many needy neighbors as I?
    But anyway, Im happy to see you got it worked out, and I in no way meant any offense to you or your uncle or family, those were hypothetical situations, as I dont know you or your family. I was just trying to describe the way my scale slides. Have a nice night, take care,,,,,,,,,,,,,,gott+

  10. #10

    Default Re: How much to charge for backhoe work?

    butzkeg:

    Glad you got it worked out. The fact that your uncle insisted on paying a fair rate is a good sign - tends to show he's a value for value person.

    Financial issues (including "favors") with friends and relatives can cause all sorts of trouble. Remember, there is a normal human tendency to remember what we do for someone else and forget what they have done for us. Too many "favors" back and forth tends to confuse things.

    Some have suggested that charging something is questionable - or even suggesting that "labor" is less important than equipment costs. Question?? Is your life (i.e your time and labor) worth LESS than the equipment??? Are the hours and days of your life, as they trickle away, worth less than some fuel or a piece of hardware???

    JEH

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