When you are working on commercial properties or even large residential properties, you may at times be called upon to clear brush out of part of the yard. If you have never done such work before, coming up with a price for the job can be tough. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we get to look at how a large 80 ft x 25 ft area can be cleared of overgrown brush and how much to charge for it.
One lawn care business owner wrote “a hotel that I do lawn maintenance for ask me to give an estimate on a large brush clearing job. It’s maybe 80′x25′, at least 10′ high with bamboo, maples, prickers, you name it. The first thing I thought of was a flame thrower. Well since that’s not going to work. I need some kind of solution. A rough number I have in my head is 20 hours with 2 guys. That’s just a wild guess. The clean up could take 8 hours.
Maybe I could rent a bobcat walk behind brush cutter on this?
They want it cut back 20-30′. Pretty much obliterate it all besides the trees. To make it even more difficult, there is a steep hill going across the whole thing. Which will make it take even more time.
I went to a local rental center and asked about what kind of equipment to use. They said a brush cutter will cut up to 4″ . So that should cut the time down in half. I’m thinking 10 hours at $100 a hour and $200 for the brush cutter rental. Does that seem fair? That would be a total of $1,200.”
A second lawn care business owner said ” the best equipment for this job is a chain saw, brush cutter, chipper and a trimmer with a very heavy line.
If I went in with the above equipment and one helper, we would be done in 8 hours tops, $850.00 and leave the wood chips for the customer.
Some things to consider, do you have to haul anything away? Personally if you do not have a chipper, I’d suggest renting one. You can simply feed the thing and walk away for the next arm full, also get one with a power feed unit.
You won’t believe the time and cost it will save. There are very few trees in the picture that we would limb. Just start the trunk into the chipper and walk away.
If you are hauling that stuff, not sure what size truck or trailer you have but there is a lot of loads, it would probably be cheaper to rent a garbage container, 20 yard or so.”
A third shared “I’ve recently finished 10 acres of the same stuff. My experience was to make every mistake first and then correct it. Learn from my errors.
To begin, I started with the low/thin brush first. I used a DR Power Mower or one of those Snapper monster brush mowers. You can also use a flail mower if you can find one. Sickle bars are great but you’re left with whole strands of thorny cut brush to pick up and throw away. By using the mower, you’ll chop the brush into short pieces that can be blown into a pile or raked off the property.
In my area, you might find quite a few rocks sticking up. You’re gonna hit ‘em. Trust me on this, they’re invisible as they blend into the brush. Set the mower up to as high as it will go. That way you’ll miss most but not all rocks.
When you’re done with the mower and all the brambles are cut down and chopped up, move onto the small trees or saplings. Cut them with a brush cutter. I bought the least expensive one that I could put a blade on. That means it took more time but I had more time than money to do this so that was okay. Buy the blades that you can sharpen and not the throw-aways. They’re stronger and you’ll need that strength for when you’re running at top speed and hit a rock.
Little aside here, buy the big harness it’s about $150 or so. It gives more control and you don’t take such a beating, with one you can move pretty quick and last all day. Also buy one of the models that feature bicycle handlebars. The strap that comes with the machine isn’t meant for such heavy duty use.
If you have a Power Brush trimmer you can substitute a blade with a chain saw chain on it. That looks like it’ll take care of up to 4″ saplings. After 4″, you’ll want to start using a full on chain saw. After that, it’s pretty straight forward lot clearing.
If you have to remove the brush cuttings, use a trailer. Pile everything in it then, use a small chainsaw to cut it up INSIDE the trailer being careful to cut only the brush and not the trailer or you. Using this system you can really pack it full.
Buy And Wear All Available safety gear No joke. The brambles will slice you to ribbons. I suggest a welders jacket with collar, welding gloves a helmet with the ear defenders and (REALLY IMPORTANT) Screen Face Shield. Wear thick jeans. I’ve also worn knee and shin guards like these. Wear the sturdiest 9-10″ boots you’ve got and make sure the shin guards meet the boot tops.
Do all of this and you’ll still get your fair share of slices on you but I don’t know of any other protective gear that will keep you safer.
On the other hand, you could rent a Bobcat with a front mount flail mower and be done with brush by afternoon break. Wish I’d done that. Oh and good luck-it’s really satisfying work.”
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