How to bid a gravel driveway regrading job.

If you are expanding your lawn care services to include landscaping, you may find yourself unsure of how to price such jobs. Here is a great example from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on how to price a gravel driveway regrading job. It also talks about how long such a job would take and what methods are the best to use in laying out new gravel.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I have a gravel driveway to bid on and I have never done such work before. After some reading, I figured I would use 3/4 minus gravel at a 1 inch depth since it is a re-gravel job. The question I have though is how long would it take to spread 15 yards of it by hand after it is dumped?

How much should I charge for the labor for spreading and grading it by hand?”

Box Blade Teeth

Box Blade Teeth

A second lawn care business owner said “you have three options to go with.

Option 1. - have the stone delivered with a stone slinger. Here it would cost about an extra $80.00 to have that. But a qualified driver can sling the stone so well, you could fine rake by hand in about 2 hours. Then it has to be rolled, which would add another two hours.

Option 2. - is to have it delivered with a truck that has spreader chains, and hope the driver is good. Some are and they can set the gate to only open about 3″ start to dump and drive down the driveway while spreading the product. With that option, the time to rake out manually would be around 5 hours then add another 2 hours to roll.

Option 3. - what we do is use a truck with spreader chains and a tractor with a box blade. The results are stunning. The time it takes to spread it is about an hour. The time to roll it, in our case is about 30 min.

Gravel Driveway Grading

Gravel Driveway Grading

With such a job, consider renting equipment. Doing a really good job by hand is very, very difficult. We do 50+ driveways a year from 16 yards of Crusher Run to 64 yards, which I believe was the largest one and it was crushed granite. It is next to impossible to spread this product by hand.

If you can’t rent a tractor with a box blade, try to get one with a landscape rake and gauge wheels. Such a set up does just as good a job in this case and we sometimes use this but the box blade has always been my favorite attachment on on such jobs.

Gravel Driveway Rolling

Gravel Driveway Rolling

The reason why I feel a box blade wins hands down, is because it makes the driveway perfectly level in two passes and when angled properly, the back part of the blade compacts the driveway enough that the tractor pulling the roller leaves no marks. Then we can use our big ride on roller to finish the job.

If a driveway has pot holes, it is best to use a box blade first and drop the rippers to level the old driveway. Then you would roll it and next add the new product. Potholes have to be dug out or the client will be calling you in a few months saying the potholes have come back.

I have found a landscape rake is best used in the spring to repair gravel driveways as snow plows push quite a bit of the gravel off to the side and in places piles. The landscape rake will angle and pull this gravel back in, it will also remove any gravel from their lawns. Afterwards we generally roll it once and then spray with water then roll it twice. I work on so many gravel driveways that I bought a ride on roller.

I tend to have so much gear so I can go in and do a job like this and be gone in under two hours. That is with a two person crew and get around $450.00. If I plan things right we can easily do three such gravel driveways in a day this way and there is a lot of demand where I live for this service.

A few things to keep in mind. A gravel driveway with a bedrock base means the gravel will only stays two to three years. Harsh winters lead to a lot of pot holes in the driveways and heavy snow will require us to come back in the spring to regrade.

Some customers may initially ask if I can fill or patch the potholes, but they will soon appear again as there is something that is causing them to happen. Soft spots in the driveway with little rock need to be dug out. To do this we drop the front ripper teeth and dig them out, then level on the second pass, roll, add new product and roll again.”

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