COST CALCULATOR

How Much Does It Cost To Excavate Land?

Typical range: $726-$1,723

Find out how much your project will cost

cost to excavate land Calculator

For your project in zip code 20149 with these options, the cost to excavate land starts at $72.58-$172.27 per cubic yard. Your actual price will depend on job size, conditions, finish options you choose.

You may need to excavate land before building a home or making changes to your yard and landscape. Traditionally, a residential excavation project costs between $1,400 and $5,700 with an average cost of $3,600. This comes to a price of between $40 and $150 per hour. Your actual cost may be charged as a single project price, or you may be charged by the number of cubic yards of dirt that is moved. This cost usually comes to between $50 and $200 per cubic yard. This guide with serve as an excavation costs calculator so that you know the expenses to expect if you decide to excavate or make changes to your land.

Cost Calculator
Calculations are dependent on where you live
Cubic Yards

Standard ServicesQuantityLowHigh
What you can expect
Range per cubic yard:$72.58$172.27
Range for this type of project:$726$1,723
Estimate: $1,224
Land Excavation Labor, Basic
14
hours
$238$1,121
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Labor cost, under typical conditions, for complete project. Dig safety will be assessed and verified. Excavation location will be staked, and soil and rocks removed to specified depth. Rate is inclusive of all aspects of the project, such as thorough planning, acquisition of equipment and material, preparation and protection of project site, and meticulous cleanup.
Land Excavation Equipment Allowance
1
job
$164$232
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Daily rental of specialty equipment for maximum quality and efficiency. These include skid loader with attachments for excavation, demolition, and loading. Consumable equipment elements not included.
Land Excavation Debris Disposal
10
cubic feet
$324$369
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Responsible disposal of all project debris, including the cost to load and haul old materials, installation waste, and any other refuse.
Standard services
Land Excavation Labor, Basic
$238 -$1,121
arrow_drop_down
14
hours
Labor cost, under typical conditions, for complete project. Dig safety will be assessed and verified. Excavation location will be staked, and soil and rocks removed to specified depth. Rate is inclusive of all aspects of the project, such as thorough planning, acquisition of equipment and material, preparation and protection of project site, and meticulous cleanup.
Land Excavation Equipment Allowance
$164 -$232
arrow_drop_down
1
job
Daily rental of specialty equipment for maximum quality and efficiency. These include skid loader with attachments for excavation, demolition, and loading. Consumable equipment elements not included.
Land Excavation Debris Disposal
$324 -$369
arrow_drop_down
10
cubic feet
Responsible disposal of all project debris, including the cost to load and haul old materials, installation waste, and any other refuse.
Optional Services
What you can expect
Range per cubic yard:
$73 - $172
Range for this type of project:
$726 - $1,723
Estimate:
$1,224
Cost Comparison
YOUR ESTIMATE
$1,224

NATIONAL AVERAGE RANGE
$714 -$1,695
YOUR ESTIMATE

Excavate Land: national average cost

The national average materials cost to excavate land is $34.09 per cubic yard, with a range between $31.89 to $36.28. The total price for labor and materials per cubic yard is $120.46, coming in between $71.42 to $169.51. A typical 10 cubic yard project costs $1,204.61, with a range of $714.16 to $1,695.07. Your actual price will depend on your location, job size, conditions and finish options you choose.
cost to excavate land
National Avg. Materials Cost per cubic yard$34.09
National Avg. Cost (labor and materials) for 10 cubic yard$1,204.61
National Cost Range (labor and materials) for 10 cubic yard$714.16 - $1,695.07

Excavate land cost breakdown

The cost of excavating land will vary depending on several factors, including the size of the area you need to have excavated, soil composition, terrain, and any special equipment that may be required. Any challenging terrain or jobs that need extra equipment will typically cost more due to heightened labor costs.

Size and access

Most residential excavation projects charge the homeowner a minimum fee. As smaller areas usually need smaller equipment, they typically result in a lower price. For a small job, a skid steer or a backhoe costs approximately $100 per hour to rent. A full-sized excavator price comes to about 50% more, but it works better for larger areas. Accessibility may also affect the cost. If the operator cannot get to the land quickly or if they need to clear trees first, there will be an upcharge.

The type of terrain

Rocky terrain is much more brutal to excavate, which could add between $200 to $1,200 to the project's total cost. Most contractors perform a site survey before they do the job to determine which type of terrain you have. This helps with quoting and providing you with the most accurate estimate for your project. Areas without trees or rocks and loose soil are much easier to work with and tend to cost less. Removing tall trees or dealing with heavy boulders stuck in the ground are very difficult and costly to remove.

Cut and fill jobs or hilly land

Sometimes, the excavator may need to “cut and fill” the land. This price can vary from as little as $1 per cubic yard to as much as $12 per cubic yard. How far the excavator needs to haul the dirt also affects the price. Cut and fill jobs over several hundred feet require fewer people, less fuel, and smaller equipment to move it for a mile or more. If you live in a hilly area and need to have the land graded, this usually costs more.

Equipment

Most excavation equipment costs $100 to $250 per hour. Larger jobs require larger-sized equipment that can handle moving earth on a more significant scope and scale. Although this may increase the equipment rental price, it also saves money on labor since the time it takes to complete the job is usually less.

Land clearing

Plan to pay between $200 to $6,000 per acre for land clearing. The process of land clearing involves the removal of all trees, shrubs, large boulders, and other debris. If you need to have the land graded, it will cost another $0.47 to $2.28 per square foot. “Raw land” that needs to be cleared and graded can cost from $20,000 to $106,000 per acre.

Removing dirt

If the contractor needs to haul dirt to make way for foundations or pools, it typically costs between $8 and $25 per cubic yard. Areas with easier access will cost less than those where the contractor needs to make room for a dump truck and backhoe. If the job site is a long way from the dump truck, it’s usually an average of $25 per cubic yard to remove the dirt and haul it away.

Soil testing

You still may need to test the soil before excavation begins. The term testing in this context refers to testing the ground and dealing with any potential soil contamination. A soil contamination test costs from $15 to $3,000, but this price depends on what you need to test for, the size of the area you are testing, and whether you buy a DIY testing kit or hire a professional to do it for you.  A self-testing kit that looks for specific contaminant costs around $15 while a full-spectrum test costs as much as $3,000 – not including volatile organic substance or microbiological testing.

Excavation project costs

Land excavation costs also vary depending on the project you need to complete. Let’s examine a few excavation project examples and their average associated costs.

New basements

If you need to dig around your existing basement, it can cost between $5,000 and $15,000 and is often required to fix foundation issues. A new basement for a new construction home should cost much less (between $1,500 to $6,000 for smaller basements and up to $10,000 for larger ones).

Patios and driveways

The land must be graded to pour concrete or lay pavers for a driveway or patio, and it costs between $1,000 and $2,500 to complete. Your final price could depend on the location and the ease of accessibility.

In-ground swimming pools

Obviously, you’ll need someone to dig the land before installing a new in-ground pool. The cost to excavate land for an in-ground pool is usually between $400 to $1,500.

Plumbing

The ground must be trenched for plumbing piping as part of new construction. The trencher creates a straight path for the plumbers to install new pipes, costing between $6,000 and $10,000.

Home foundations

If you need to have land excavated for a new construction home, it typically costs between $1,500 and $6,000 to excavate the area for the new foundation. Keep in mind that this does not include the cost of laying the actual foundation once the job is complete.

Additional costs to excavate land

Refer to the excavation cost calculator to help you better understand how much your specific project will cost. While most of these prices depend on the above factors, there may also be associated costs.

Rock excavation

If the contractor needs to blast large boulders to turn them into smaller, more manageable pieces, this typically costs between $40 to $100 per cubic yard. Extremely rocky terrain is much more challenging to work with and requires more powerful equipment – which also increases the final price.

Cleanup

If you perform a soil test and it returns negative, you won’t need to pay any additional money for cleanup. However, if there is any form of contamination found, it must be cleaned up and addressed before any work can begin. Soil that contains asbestos can cost between $4 to $6 per square foot to remove, which equates to about $175,000 to $250,000 for just one acre.

Basement waterproofing

If you need to expose a basement to install waterproofing, it costs from $5,000 to $15,000. Waterproofing a basement costs between $5 and $10 per square foot, plus the excavation costs.

Crawl spaces

Digging a hole in the ground for a new crawl space may cost approximately $500 for a small area but up to $6,000 to $10,000 for a larger size

DIY or hire a pro

You may wonder if you can excavate land yourself. A small DIY job is possible if you have prior experience working with the equipment. However, you must call your local utility hotline before digging to ensure that all underground lines are marked first. Plan to pay between $75 and $350 per day for small equipment rental. It usually takes much longer to do this work yourself; if something goes awry, you’ll need to call a professional to fix it. Hiring a pro is the best choice if you need to excavate land, especially if the terrain is uneven or rocky.

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