Land Clearing

My Land Clearing Project Just Stung Me In The Pocketbook

I’ve had 5 piles of brush on my farm for a couple years now, and other than them being a haven for snakes, ticks, and the omnipresent deer shelter, I felt it was time for them to go.  So, to all you venomous creatures;

“Sorry to ruin your home, but I don’t much like your diamond shaped head staring at me as my mower approaches your dwelling”.  

Please do yourself a favor and find respite on my neighbors land, sir!

Land Clearing

Land Clearing

Removing the home of these creatures required the skills of a Land Clearing Contractor.

Land Clearing Contractors do anything from; removing or burning old brush piles, such as the one you see above engulfed in flames.  They also specialize in burying tree root balls, digging up rocks, and virtually altering the ‘lay’ of a plot of land.  So, if you have dirt which needs to be moved, smoothed out, regraded for water run-off, you’d likely need the services of a Land Clearing Company.

The also specialize in removing dense forests of noxious weeds and dead trees, and provide for regenerative farming techniques.  They can provide a lot of value to improving the aesthetics, and to the repurposing of an unused plot of land.

Got some land you’re unsure what to do with?  Click this link if you want to learn 5 ways you can cash-flow it.

Hiring the Land Clearing Contractor was the easy part.

Being in a rural community with an abundance of large tracts of land, presents the opportunity for a land clearing contractor to enter the market and have an immediate backlog of jobs to do.

Especially, in a place like Tennessee which has no state income tax, and seems to be getting lots of new residences who are possibly seeking relief from high cost of living states.  I’m guessing, Pandemics have a keen way of exposing the true value of rural life.  

How Land Clearing Services charge for their services.

In my initial meeting with the owner of the Land Clearing company, we discussed the the scope of work to be completed.  He then wrote a proposal for the estimated time it would take, the types of equipment needed for the scope of work, and the price per hour.

He was going to charge $150 per hour, for each piece of equipment used in the Land Clearing project..

The meeting went well, he seemed knowledgeable, professional, and so we planned for him to come out to do the work on August 8th, which was 2 months after this meeting.

When August 8th came, his crew was onsite and ready to start some fires, just like what was promised.  

The Land Clearing Equipment they used to change the topography of my farm.

The young crew arrived on the 8th with 3 pieces of land clearing equipment, which made for swift and effective work.  They used:

A Skid Steer with a Grapple

Land Clearing Equipment

This ominous looking creature makes picking up 12 inch diameter logs look like child’s play.  Their ability to toss heavy, 30 foot-long logs on top of the burn pile, while maintaining the balance of a trapeze artist is rather impressive.  I’d like to find a way to own a skid steer with a grapple.  If I did, I’d likely hunt for things that look like they need moving, just to be able to drive this.

A BullDozer

Land Clearing Equipment

Able to use its sheer torque and brute force to move thousands of pounds of dirt, the bulldozer is capable of altering even the most remote topography, in a matter of minutes.  Have a hill that needs to be flattened out, or its elevation changed, this is a perfect job for a bulldozer.

A History Nugget

Because of the crawling appearance of a bulldozer in motion, people often referred to them as ‘Caterpillers’.  This definition ultimately gave rise to the company of the same name in 1925, which still exists today.

A Mini Excavator (Mini X)

Land Clearing Equipment

Versatile, and nimble, the Mini X is a Land Clearing Company’s ‘right hand man’.  Mini Excavators can dig holes faster than a Badger in mating season.  It can pick up logs and toss them like an olympic javelin thrower , and its ‘arm’ can reach up to 20 feet.  It is however, ‘Turtle-esque.  I’m here to tell you, you are not going to win any races driving a Mini X.

The predominant job for a Mini X is to dig, baby dig.

Hire a Land Clearing Contractor with Integrity

During the initial conversation with the owner, I have to admit, I didn’t have the best understanding of how I would be charged.

He talked fast, and conveniently glossed over those pesky details of “how I get charged”.

He said, $150 per hour, per machine, which makes sense.  My issue was there were only two operators there the entire time.  So, how do two guys drive three machines?

He initially claimed the total hours on all three machines was 28.  I challenged this, because they arrived at 8 AM on Tuesday and were done by 3 PM on Wednesday (yes, the very next day).  Somehow, I’m supposed to believe they racked up 28 hours of run time in the total 14 hours they were on site.

It just didn’t sit well with me, I felt like I was getting taken advantage of, and personally cannot stand that.  He knew I wasn’t able to verify the machine hours before they started, and when they were done.

And the thing of it is, this guy’s business is less than a year old.  Return customer, not likely!

After our heated conversation, we agreed to 20 hours at $150 hour, for a total of $3,000.  I still feel a bit cheated, and it was partly my fault, because I didn’t verify those hours before and after.  Lesson Learned!

So, please take my advice if you hire a Land Clearing Company, take pictures of each machine’s hour log before they start and when they are complete.  It may be uncomfortable, but I promise, it will be a whole lot less uncomfortable than paying thousands more than you really should.

Perhaps next time, I’ll rent goats for my land Clearing

My experience with Land Clearing was all in all, not overly positive.  The job is complete, I’m happy about that, though it took two months to do so.  And, the taste it left in my mouth was, shall we say, like eating fermented Jerusalem Artichokes.  Bitter, but all in all, good for your digestive tract.

Maybe next time, I’ll just rent goats to handle my land clearing work.  They’re honest, right?

No really, goats are actually a good option for clearing land, to learn more about that, see this post.

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