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Old 05-04-2009, 03:31 PM   #1
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Would you spring to fill in your backyard?


I live in an area where it's very hilly so everyone needs fill somewhere on their property and it's always in short supply since if there's any at a construction site it's almost always used to level that contruction site (since flat ground around here is almost unheard of).

Anyway, over the past 4 years I've been able to gather about 12 yards of fill when my property needs 500 - 700. Construction companies don't have any, or laugh at me for asking (since so many people around here need it), and thus far the best I've done was get a quote for $6,000 ($9+/yard delivered).

By coincidence I almost got into an accident with a truck dropping off fill to someone in my neighborhood and decided what the heck so I followed the truck back to the site and talked to the driver and he said the fill is free he'll charge $4/yard ($80 a delivery). I said, I have $1000, drop off the fill until you feel $1000 has been reached. He then said something that really made a lot of sense, He said "Look, in this economy there ain't a lot of construction going on. The only reason I'm dropping it off here is cause you live closest. Once that site is done you and I are done I ain't trucking it cross town I'll go to the next homeowner that wants any so I recommend you get while the going is good. He said trust me, get a machine to move the dirt to keep me coming here cause I can't wait for you and there ain't a lot left at that site, you may not get another chance".

Anyway I'm so excited to actually have real fill come in I can't think straight but I do think he's got a good point. There most certainly isn't a lot of construction, hardly any have excess fill (since everyone needs it) if I don't get while the going is good I can miss my chance. Would you spring extra $ for someone to spread the dirt and keep him coming while it's available? I estimate the site will be empty of excess fill this week (and he's going to even throw in some 4' x 4' x 6' cement retaining wall boulders if I get the machine to place them, they're extra from the site and the owner wants to get rid of them).


Last edited by Piedmont; 05-04-2009 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 05-04-2009, 06:19 PM   #2
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Would you spring to fill in your backyard?


With that much fill you are going to need a skid-loader or tractor to move it anyway. Pay now or pay later, maybe you could rent a skid-loader or tractor with a bucket and spread it yourself.

You will have to figure out what the going rate is to have someone spread it out for you verses the cost of you renting something and doing it yourself.

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Old 05-04-2009, 11:11 PM   #3
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Would you spring to fill in your backyard?


The former lawyer in me feels obliged to ask: Does this man have the right to sell you this dirt or his 'delivery fee'? Seems Hokey to me, especially if fill is in such high demand in your neck of the woods that some random truck driver could just sell it off to whoever they want.

this sounds like every high pressure salesman I've ever heard. Sure, you followed him. It's clear you're excited, but take a deep breath and consider a few things:
1. Do you have the money and experience to rent and operate the needed equipment?
2. Do you have the time to move it around? If it has to sit until you have a free weekend will the city fine you for the giant pile of dirt?
3. Do you have a plan - a REAL plan - about where to put it. Do you need to put drainage under it. Can you afford to buy the materials for the drainage.

We need to re-grade our lot too. DH watches Craigslist for deals on fill. Every now and then he says "let's get three truck loads of fill delivered this week". And I say, "Ok, where are YOU going to put it." So, far. No dirt.

Good luck.
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:28 PM   #4
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Would you spring to fill in your backyard?


I would. He can dump 10 loads at not need a real huge area to do so. Rent yourself a skidloader (they are a blast) for the weekend.

You would have about $250-$300 rental for the skidsteer (delivered/picked up) Atleast thats what our local prices are for a weekend.

Some other things to consider. Your neighbor who just got some fill, how are they moving theirs. Maybe this could be a joint venture. IF they rent a skidsteer you could split the charges etc.
Is the dirt good dirt for growing grass. If its hard clay you may have to top off with some topsoil.

i'd say get it while you can. I pay $125-$175 for a 10 ton load delivered. Its not the best dirt but it works good for leveling and getting a nice lawn
It goes up to about $250 a load for screened/pulvarized black soil

good luck, be safe
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:14 PM   #5
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Would you spring to fill in your backyard?


To rent a skid steer costs me at least a few hundred bucks for 8 hours, not even a day.

When I had a few yards delivered and about 1/2 acre regraded/seeded, it made more sense to hire a guy off craigslist who owned his own kabota with a harley rake. $50/hour for him/machine/gas. Got it done for what it would have cost me to rent the skidsteer for a weekend or two and I didn't have to lift a finger (the best part). Oh and did I mention it was actually done correctly heh.

Consider the learning curve! It'll take you a few hours to even be comfortable... probably years to be any good at it.

It's cheaper to pay someone else to do it right the first time...
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