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  1. #11
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    313
    Location
    Central Lower Michigan
    Tractor
    Kubota L3430

    Default Re: Tractor per hour rate?

    I am doing the same thing as you in Central Michigan. I bought my tractor for myself, but like running it so much that I started a LLC to do customer work. I have a commercial policy through Auto Owners with a 1,000,000 liability, runs about $1800.00 per year.

    I have only done several jobs this year to get my feet wet, going to ramp up for 2006. I prefer to quote by the job as the customer knows the full cost up front. However on jobs that are hard to pin down I charge $90.00 per hour for the first hour (covers trailer time) and $60.00 after that. Rates seem to vary greatly depending on location.

    ksmmoto

  2. #12
    Veteran Member BillyP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Posts
    1,769
    Location
    Eagletown, OK
    Tractor
    JD 4610 ehydro MFWD

    Default Re: Tractor per hour rate?

    I recently had a pond built. The guy used a JD 750C and charged $70 per clock hour. This was working hours. When he stopped for a break or to talk, the dozer was shut down and the time stopped.

    Edit: By clock hour, I meant hour meter on dozer. He did give me a choice to do it by the hour or cubic yard.

  3. #13
    Elite Member Cliff_Johns's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2,697
    Location
    Northern Illinois
    Tractor
    JD 4110

    Default Re: Tractor per hour rate?

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( Thanks... What I was saying about "tractor clock", meaning going by the hour meter of the tractor, in other words if I turn the tractor off to say have lunch, I would not charge for that time when the clock wasn't moving. )</font>

    That's fine so long as you (and others reading this) understand that the hour meter on many tractors do not represent hours, but rather hours at PTO RPMs. That is, an hour on the tractor's meter is more than an hour or real time if you are using the tractor at less than PTO rated RPMs.

    Cliff

  4. #14
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    313
    Location
    Central Lower Michigan
    Tractor
    Kubota L3430

    Default Re: Tractor per hour rate?

    I failed to mention in my post that I charge by clock hours not the tractors hour meter. And if I take a lunch break or have mechanical problems I don't charge for that time. Only working time.

    ksmmoto

  5. #15
    Gold Member MrSteve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    479
    Location
    Booksville, Florida
    Tractor
    Massy MF-1533

    Default Re: Tractor per hour rate?

    Thanks everyone for the GREAT info you ALL are giving me!!!

  6. #16
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    1,060
    Location
    Minnesota
    Tractor
    JD 4100 HST

    Default Re: Tractor per hour rate?

    The excavator I hired when building my house used a hybrid approach. He priced excavating by the hour (plus drop charge) per machine. Different machines had different prices. I think the Bobcat and mini-excavator work was around $75 per hour and the big stuff (big track loader and large excavator) was $150 to $250 per hour. I think the drop charges were equal to the hourly rate. Hauling in or out was per load (mileage was already figured in). Hand labor and was priced by the hour as well. He also supplied an estimate for the job in total hours and dollars. Most of the hours on the estimate were rounded to the nearest 1/2 day. The bid also included a "Not to Exceed" cap that was only 25% above the estimate. It made me feel like they would share some of the risk and stand behind their estimate. Like they had actually dug a hole for a house in this area before and knew what they were getting into.

    They came in under the estimate on all phases of the project, except the part where the City gave bogus information on the sewer hookup. Even then, the price they billed was low for the number of hours they actually were on-site working - very fair and honest. They get lots of recommendations from me.

    - Rick

  7. #17
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    811
    Location
    eastern panhandle of WV
    Tractor
    Kubota B7800 with loaded R-4s

    Default Re: Tractor per hour rate?

    Around where I live, most people doing excavating work charge by the job, but have clauses in the contract for rock that needs blasting is extra.
    I've thought about doing some extra work on the side, but the price of the insurance is too much for me considering I wouldn't be doing that much side work.

  8. #18
    Super Member 3RRL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    6,825
    Location
    Foothills of the Giant Sequoia's, California
    Tractor
    55HP 4WD KAMA 554 and 4 x 4 Jinma 284

    Default Re: Tractor per hour rate?

    I tried to get my tractor guy to give me a firm price to level a pad. He would not do it because of possible rocks or whatever he might run into. He said it would around $1000 ONLY if he didn't have any trouble. I thought that was too much so I asked him what his hourly rate was.

    I finally got him to agree to $87.50 per hour for an operator and his 450 CAT backhoe. I had to pay for travel from his yard and back to it...about 1/2 hour each way. I thought it was a pretty good deal considering I hired him to bulldoze my dirt road the year before and that was REALLY expensive.

    I stayed with the operator to make sure he got the pad right and when it was good enough, I told him to stop. Took 4 hrs plus 1 hour travel....way cheaper than than I (or he) thought....less than half his estimate. In this instance, I was much better off getting the hourly rate because if he ran into a big rock or something, I would have told him to work around it and move the pad area over a bit instead of messing with it.

  9. #19
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    368
    Location
    North Bennington, Vermont
    Tractor
    JD 4110 w/HST

    Default Re: Tractor per hour rate?

    My suggestion is that once you settle on an hourly rate is to use that for your job calculation but that you provide the customer with a 'per job' quote - i.e. don't disclose the hourly rate to them. In my experience, the average homeowner turns into a clock-watching machine once you're on the job. "You answered your cell phone", "you took two breaks", "you didn't work very fast in that section"...it was unbelievable. I switched to a 'per job' quote pretty quick and everyone was happy. I have the home owner chase any permits (fences around here need one, and you'll need to understand any setbacks the town zoning may require), and, if you're digging anywhere near power lines, water or sewer have the local utility guys mark them. As others have said, include a provision for 'unseen' obstacles that may suck up hours of unanticipated time.

    As for quoting stuff once you're off the tractor, usually a couple of phone calls will get you in the ballpark of what other companies will charge. But keep in mind that they have all the tools and tricks down pat; be sure you know exactly what you need for material - the cost of small stuff; nails, screws and fasteners will add up quick - as will your time and travel to schlep all the materials. Factor in a few $$ for fuel and wear/tear on your vehicle and tools, otherwise that 'hourly rate' you think ends up in your pocket disappears pretty quick.

    Good luck! -Norm

  10. #20
    Gold Member MrSteve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    479
    Location
    Booksville, Florida
    Tractor
    Massy MF-1533

    Default Re: Tractor per hour rate?

    2nstonge (Norm)... Thanks for that post, looks like a great thought. I guess I will understand what to charge real fast when I under charge a few time.

    Also thank you ALL again I am getting great info from all of you!

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