What's The Cheapest Way to Move Dirt? (and Rental Equipment Pricing)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Moving dirt can be a big project. Most people will not have the tools, or equipment, needed for moving a large amount of dirt. There are a few options for getting the job done, some cheap, some not so cheap. It depends on how much dirt, and how far you need to move the dirt.

For large amounts of dirt, you will need to front loader and driver with the best rates. You may also borrow equipment or rent equipment. A backhoe, a bobcat, or a tractor with extensions will get the job done cheaply.

We are going to show you, which of these options are the cheapest to rent, to hire out, and ways you may be able to make it work with what you have.

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How Much Dirt Are You Moving?

The type of equipment you will be needed will be dependent upon how much dirt you are moving, and how far you have to move it. A small amount of dirt can be moved with just shovels, wheelbarrows, and a few good men.

Larger amounts of dirt will need to be moved with a piece of equipment, or shoveled into a trailer and moved. The cheapest way to move dirt will be to do it manually. With a couple of friends, (cheap labor) and some elbow grease.

If you have a medium amount of dirt, you can attach a trailer to your vehicle. This will require you to move the dirt, up ramps onto the trailer with a wheelbarrow, or shovel it directly into the trailer.

For example, if you’re looking to move 10 yards of dirt, it could take three hours to complete the task. With a flatbed trailer costing around $50 per day, you could move 10 yards of dirt for just $150. That doesn’t include outside labor.

What Equipment Do You Have?

If you have some of your own equipment, you can save money by doing it yourself, or paying a laborer to help you. This would be something like a trailer, to attach to your vehicle. You can also use a tractor, with a scoop extension. Or an extension, that is a small trailer.

You may have to rent the extensions, but this may still be the cheapest option for you, for the amount of dirt you are moving. This will still require some manual work. Shoveling the dirt into the trailer, or the scoop, and then into the area you are moving it to.

When using your equipment, make sure to add in the cost of a helper, if you cannot do it alone.

Types of Equipment for Moving Dirt

You can also rent equipment. Or hire someone with this equipment, to move the dirt for you. The right kind of equipment can make the job painless and quick.

Types of equipment:

  • Backhoe
  • A Bobcat
  • Trailer for vehicle
  • Front End loader

The backhoe is usually attached to the back of an excavating tractor. This is a special piece of machinery that makes picking up dirt and moving it easy. A bobcat is a smaller machine, that drives, with a front end bucket. You can pick up dirt, place it down, and smooth it out.

There are a few types of trailers. One that attaches to your vehicle, and others that will attach to tractors. The front end loader is one of the easiest ways to move large amounts of dirt. It’s a machine that drives and has a large bucket attached to the front, that can scoop up dirt and lay it out.

Compare Prices for Equipment

Now that you know a little more about what types of equipment are available, let’s compare renting prices and operating prices. The rental price is the amount for you to rent the equipment to use yourself. The operating cost is how much it costs to have someone come out, and move the dirt for you with their equipment.

Compare Equipment PricesRental PriceOperating Price
Backhoe$200-$350 per day$50-$150 per hour
Bobcat$180-$200 per day$40-$100 per hour
Front end loader$300-$400 per day$70-$200 per hour
Flatbed trailer$30-$60 per day$35-$85 per hour

The rental price will require, you, to operate the machinery. You will have the option of paying for insurance and more. The operating price will include equipment and labor. There could be added prices, for transporting machinery to the site, gas, and other charges.

These prices will vary, depending on your location, how soon you need it, and other factors.

Using a Backhoe to Move Dirt

A backhoe is an excavation tractor,r that has a back portion that can scoop up dirt, and put it down. It is hydraulic and can turn multiple angles. It also has a front end bucket, that can work great for moving dirt. This is a good option if you have a lot of dirt that needs to be moved.

It is considered heavy machinery and takes some skill to use. You will need to hire someone to use this piece of equipment if you do not have the experience. These are similar to front end loaders, with the exception that it has the back scoop.

Bobcats Work Great for Moving Dirt

Bobcat is a brand that makes compact tractors and machinery. They are also known as, a skid steer loader. These are smaller machines, that can move medium size loads of dirt, with the bucket on the front. The front bucket can also be used to scrape and smooth out dirt.

They are great for moving dirt, smoothing out dirt, and working on roads. You will need to know how to operate this kind of equipment. If you do not have the knowledge and skill, then you will need to hire someone to operate this piece of equipment.

Front End Loader

A front end loader is a large piece of excavation machinery. They have a huge front scoop, for picking up dirt. You can then drive the loader to the location you want to dump the dirt. The scoop is hydraulic, allowing you to release the dirt onto the ground. Front end loaders can also scrape the ground with the bucket.

Using a Trailer And Your Vehicle

There are all kinds of trailers, that can be used for moving dirt. You can use a regular flatbed trailer, this will require you to manually put the dirt into, and out of, the trailer. There are also enclosed trailers, that hold a lot of dirt.

You also have the option, of a trailer that will dump out dirt, similar to a dump truck. This is great if you can get the dirt into the trailer, then when you are ready to dump it, you can lift the trailer bed and drive forward, with the dirt falling out.

There is also the option, of a small trailer, that could fit on a car, that has a trailer hitch. These are perfect for small projects. They do require labor, for loading, and unloading the trailer.

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Related Questions

What is the difference between a front loader and a backhoe?

A backhoe is an attachment, with a scoop that fits on the back end of a tractor. A front loader is a machine, that has a large front scoop, that scoops up dirt and puts it down.

What other types of trailers are there?

Besides a flatbed trailer, there are also enclosed trailers, that hold a lot of dirt, and can be pulled by a vehicle. For smaller jobs, there are small trailers that could fit a car.

Related Guide

Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

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