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I've seen a bunch of guys here mention doing sewer services. I got to thinking about how you guys dig your trenches. Do you do it by hand, own a backhoe, rent a backhoe, hire someone to do the digging?

Here septic lines are pretty shallow and most but not all could be dug by hand without too much trouble, a day for two guys. All the sewer lines start at at least 5' and some of them tie in as deep as 22'. Their is no way you're digging that by hand. We have a pretty big backhoe we use but I imagine that would be out of the price range of a smaller operation.
 

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Vactor Unit unless it is deep.

 

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I hire a subcontractor with a trackhoe. I locate the line with my seesnake, pull the permits, sell the job, etc. He digs the line and backfills, I install the sewer and collect $$$.:thumbup: I like it this way as I don't have to pay for an expensive machine and its maintenance, yet I still make decent profit.
 

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It depends on what we're doing.
A small shallow spot repair we'll hand dig it...

A deeper spot repair or, running a replacement line we'll rent a mini excavator for the day. Most of our work is done this way...



If the line is real deep we have a contractor that has larger equipment that we hire.
 

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pretty much exactly like redwood said. we used to have helpers/apprentice's that would do lots of the manual work but since the business was bought they got rid of them to save $$. now they like to use temp. workers that don't know how to do anything, sometimes not even how to dig right.






paul
 

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we used to have helpers/apprentice's that would do lots of the manual work but since the business was bought they got rid of them to save $$. now they like to use temp. workers that don't know how to do anything, sometimes not even how to dig right.
Why not just say you hire "Cans" of the side of the road and it's for cash...:furious:
 

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We network with some really good excavator/sewer contractors. Get his bill, markup and submit with my invoicing. A great way to get the work completed and make a gross profit at the same time.
 

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Shallow, short runs are dug by hand. Longer, deeper runs rent a machine for a day and mark up the costs of the machine. We don't do enough to justify buying & maintaining a machine.
 

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You all don't know what it's like to use a vactor, this is a sweet way to open the ground up, remove the material in the the location desired, no mess to clean up, just the other day had to open open an area 4 x 3 x 4 to replace a 2-1/2 broken schd 80 MA going into a 2-1/2" ball valve feeding an apt complex, took less then 5 hours from start to finish, the good thing about is you can remove the material as deep as you like, no shovel even needed, sweet work in short time.
 

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If its a simple clean out i'll have the apprentice dig it out, 3' is good for the spirit of all future wannabe plumbers.

Otherwise i'll rent a small backhoe or sometimes a big one, i've gone as deep as 22' for a lateral tie in before, and then you need shoring after 6' here

keep in mind you still need a ground crew while operating a backhoe to watch for hidden utilities, etc..

and for gods sakes please call dig alert !
 

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When it is determined we have to dig the sewer up we leave the apprentice on the job with a wiping ladle and a five gallon bucket with instructions on calling us when he has the pipe exposed with a detailed material list so that we can go back and make the repair.
 

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Why not just say you hire "Cans" of the side of the road and it's for cash...:furious:
i don't hire anyone.

honestly i don't know where they get these guys, i've never had the use for one. i preffer to tell them it's going to take so many hours and just do it myself. what's the point of having somebody dig a trench when you have to go back and redig it? even if you don't have to do any work, if you have to make 3 trips to check on them you could be making money somewhere.

i miss having helpers on staff that wanted to be plumbers. you could trust that what you told them would be done the way you wanted it done. plus it was a lot easier to speak with them in english. :thumbdown:






paul
 

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I used to get so frustrated when my ex boss would hire labor force to come in and help do a slab rough-in. Some of these guys no matter if you paint a line using a string, they still could not did straight. Don't even bother to tell them that you have to have fall or pitch from one end to the other. They will look at you like you are a space cadet.You are wasting your time. Let them dig, make them sweat off the alcohol and send them home. Then re-vamp and start all over again and do it yourself
 

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I hand dig most repairs up to 3 feet. Other than that i use a 7500 lb mini excavator that i picked up fairly cheap. It will dig to 10 ft. Most slab roughs i use one on or have the builders backhoe guy dig em then i come in and clean up the trenches by hand for a perfect slope. Some times its easier to rent one than it is to bring it in yourself. I charge for the rental fee and my hourly rate or a bid price for the whole job if it is a new construction or repipe.
 

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Sewers are deep here. Backhoes required. Unfortunately, they usually do the repairs/replacement, too. State went nuts about thirty years ago.
 
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