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#163911 - 05/16/09 07:14 AM How much to dig new pond?
airborne3118 Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/09/09
Posts: 127
Loc: Indiana, Decatur County
I contacted a reputable person in south east Indiana about digging my new pond soon. His quote without looking at my place was 4,000 for a 3/4 to 1 acre pond if I have a valley to dam up, and 7,000 if he has to just dig the hole from a flat piece of ground. This sounds really cheap to me, what do you guys say. He said this included clearing out brush and small trees, but not heavily wooded areas.

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#163916 - 05/16/09 08:49 AM Re: How much to dig new pond? [Re: airborne3118]
Theo Gallus Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 05/14/04
Posts: 12282
Loc: Central Ohio
That is sure low IME. Make sure you and he both understand necessary work like coring, compacting, lining sand or gravel spots with compacted clay. Be prepared for the unexpected excavating needs which can drive the cost up (or, if not done, the quality down).
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#163939 - 05/16/09 01:16 PM Re: How much to dig new pond? [Re: Theo Gallus]
esshup Offline
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Lunker

Registered: 01/26/09
Posts: 18769
Loc: Grovertown, Indiana
Running into water in a dug pond and having to pump the water out will (or should) add to the costs (and time required to do the job). What is he going to do with the excess dirt? That should figure into the price as well.
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#163954 - 05/16/09 07:26 PM Re: How much to dig new pond? [Re: airborne3118]
squeeky Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 193
My dirt mover guy charged either by the hour or by the cubic yard of dirt that needed to be moved. The hour rate varied with the size and type of his equipment. The option was up to me. Track hoes and spreaders were a little more costly than the dozers. His D6 hi-tracks were around $80 or $85 per hr. It's been a few years though - prices are probably higher now. I can't remember his yardage rate. But, I wrote a program to compute dam yardages, and after reviewing the outputs, I decided that his hour rate might be a little cheaper. I have 6 ponds - 3 built by one contarctor, 1 by another contractor, and a different contractor for the 5th pond. The 6th pond was pre-existing. The first 3 ponds are all an acre or over and none were over $7000. I do have one 4 acre pond that cost me #20000, but it required a lot of dirt work. It basically comes down to your topography and how much dirt needs to be moved to impound the water. Of cource, relief piping and dam coring will add to the cost.

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#163956 - 05/16/09 07:51 PM Re: How much to dig new pond? [Re: airborne3118]
RobA Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/28/04
Posts: 692
Loc: SE Pennsylvania
My pond guy gave me a ball park quote one a 2-acre pond renovation. It was not a firm quote because he didn't know what problems he might run into - and he did run into problems. He also told me his cost per hour per machine. Other contractors I spoke did not want to quote a firm price either. I would be somewhat suspicious of a firm quote.
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#164131 - 05/18/09 07:15 AM Re: How much to dig new pond? [Re: RobA]
jsec Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 88
Loc: W PA
My future pond will be a dammed valley, 3/4 to 1 acre in size with a 150' dam 15' high. I got one estimate last summer for $19,000 but that included a fuel surcharge of $2500 because of the high price of diesel last year.
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#164169 - 05/18/09 12:53 PM Re: How much to dig new pond? [Re: jsec]
CJBS2003 Offline
Ambassador
Field Correspondent
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Lunker

Registered: 01/19/09
Posts: 10145
Loc: northern VA
Where in western PA are you jsec?
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#164283 - 05/19/09 06:24 AM Re: How much to dig new pond? [Re: CJBS2003]
jsec Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 88
Loc: W PA
I'm near Export, about 20 miles east of Pittsburgh.
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#164295 - 05/19/09 07:42 AM Re: How much to dig new pond? [Re: jsec]
eddie_walker Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/23/05
Posts: 773
Loc: Just North of Tyler, Texas
Any time you hire a contractor that you don't already know, you need to interview at least five. The biggest mistake that I hear over and over again is the people hire the first guy that they talk to. A good salesman does not mean he's good at building anything. Most of the big companies hire good salesmen for this very reason. In dealing with smaller outfits, personality has allot to do with getting the job. If you're lucky, you'll find a guy that you like and who can do what he says he can. It's all about being lucky. The next mistake people make is they don't actually check those references. While it's common knowledge that a bad contractor will only give out good references, you should still expect to learn quite a bit about him from those good references that will give you an idea of his work ethic, how he takes care of his equipment and if he did what he said he would, for the amount he said he would.

Third, and this is the one that is the most sad in my opinion, is once the job starts and you start having problems, you need to either get them resolved right away, or fire him. What I see happen is the client realizes pretty quickly that they made a mistake in who they hired, but they hope for the best in the end and that it will get better. This never happens. It's sad because they are spending money to have something done, and it's not being done the way they want it to, or it's not being done at all. After a period of time, it might get finished, or it never does. That's where I usually come in. They hire me to finish or redo what they had paid to have done. It's more expensive because they are paying me to tear out, work that they had paid to have done. Then they are paying me to do the job that they already paid the previous guy to do. I've had several jobs like this already this year and I'm looking at two more right now. I do residential work, not ponds, but the comparison is the same.

Cheapest is rarely the best price by the time it's all said and done. Piece of mind also has a price, as does workmanship. I have no problem paying a premium for those things when I hire people to do work for me. I also do the same when hiring subs for jobs that I'm the GC on. I'd rather pay top dollar to get it done right and done well, then play games with a bunch of goof balls who don't show up, make a big mess, and have to come back to fix what they should have done the first time. Even worse, they all seem to play the game of not answering their phones after the job is done.

Whatever you do, be sure to hold back final payment until you are 100% sure the job is done, and done right. It is the only way to get them to finish a job, or come back to fix their mistakes.

Good luck,
Eddie
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#164438 - 05/20/09 05:28 AM Re: How much to dig new pond? [Re: eddie_walker]
Dave Davidson1 Offline
Moderator
Lunker

Registered: 01/04/06
Posts: 10146
Loc: Hurst & Bowie, Texas
I would be very suspicious of a quote by anyone who hasn't studied the scope of the work.

Like Eddie says, interview some more of them. Every time one of them shows up, you will learn something.

Ask about coring, slope, runoff, contouring, etc.
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