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Pricing for 2 soil borings for a residential property.

Pricing for 2 soil borings for a residential property.

I sent invitations for proposals to several geotechnical firms. The price ranged from $1,250 to $3,000 eventhough the scope of services were the same. What is the reason for such a range? What is a fair price? Does $1,250 seem too cheap that I should be concerned?

RE: Pricing for 2 soil borings for a residential property.

Price doesn't sound too far off. Drill rig (geoprobe)for a day in SF area is $2500. Some companies will let you pay for a half day, but if your site is remote, and they can't get to another site that day, will make you eat the whole day.
Make sure the 1250 includes all the supplies/disposables you need. Who is preparing the HSP for the job-you or the drill contractor? That is also a cost. Did cost include permits, if any are necessary? Do you need a PE or PG to oversee, or is a tech sufficient? Difference in labor cost can be significant.

RE: Pricing for 2 soil borings for a residential property.

depends on what the scope was, you didn't say other than two borings. that leaves a lot up to the imagination.
pick a geotech you trust, work out a scope with him and then get one estimate. if it is too high, sharpen your pencil and ask what he can cut

RE: Pricing for 2 soil borings for a residential property.


provide 2 borings.
give me allowable bearing pressure
give me information on water table
give me a report signed and sealed by a PE

RE: Pricing for 2 soil borings for a residential property.

$3,000 seems about right if it isn't a remote location and no overly complicated/unusual conditions. Can't imagine doing it for $1,250.

RE: Pricing for 2 soil borings for a residential property.


Scope should be determined by you and the selected geotechnical engineer discussing the project, what is going to be built and what you need.

Just some of the questions that affect price that you don't include in your scope are: is there any cut or fill fo the project? What are the building loads? How much risk do you or the owner want to accept? How efficient of design does the owner want?

For example, I could give you two borings to 6-inches; indicate no water encountered; a presumtive bearing pressure of 500 psf in a one page sealed letter. This meets your scope, but doesn't really meet your needs.

Or I could give you two borings to 25 feet; do laboratory testing to determine soil paramters and calcualtions to determine an allowable bearing (assuming you provided loads); provide construction recommendations, etc.; all in a 20 page report signed and sealed.

The cost for these two different options would be very different.

Mike Lambert

RE: Pricing for 2 soil borings for a residential property.

Thanks GeoPave.

Its more of the latter. Borings are 25' deep, there will be lab testing done and it will be signed by a PE. Just wondering why the price would be so low compared to all the other proposals. One was at $1,250. The other 4 were all around $2,300 or above.

RE: Pricing for 2 soil borings for a residential property.

Nobody wants to work for a homeowner (unrealistic expectations and uninformed client). This is a tough economy though.

Some companies don't much care what the breakdown looks like on paper. They don't want ANY contracts under $2,500.00.

If you prescribe the locations and depths in your request for proposal, you are assuming some liability. If you let the geotechnical engineer determine the best course of field exploration (i.e., that meets your needs), then the geotechnical engineer can't argue it was a prescriptive scope of work.


¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

RE: Pricing for 2 soil borings for a residential property.

one more item. . .

The task you are requesting requires a consultant to use a drilling crew (step 1) and then engineering compilation and recommendations with a license. Many engineering firms will not let the drilling crew loose to work alone during step 1. Sure, the drillers will make hole, but who's controlling where they drill, how they handle the samples and the recording of the whole slew of "fugetive" information (i.e., drilling rates, changes in auger-flight cuttings, changes in lithology noted by drilling action, etc.)? Nobody! In my former consulting practice, I'd NEVER price out a project to let the drill crew loose on a project. I ALWAYS had a field geologist working with the rig (i.e., $95.00/hr). Your requested scope of work does not imply that this is a project requirement. So, some are likely pricing with free-range drillers and others are pricing for drilling inspection.

Also, consider the report. Do you expect a site plan showing boring locations and any other field observations (i.e., piles of stuff that's seen on the property)? Or, are you happy with no figure and just some longitudes and latitudes for boring locations?

If this job's in Virginia, heck I'll do a few hand augers and give you a report for a real low price. May not be what you are expecting though. It may just suffice to the local jurisdiction though. . .


¡papá gordo ain’t no madre flaca!

RE: Pricing for 2 soil borings for a residential property.

To be clear, my comment on the price was based ONLY on the field work-you didn't say anything abut the report in your first post.
I can't see how a firm could provide the drilling and stamped report for $1250.

RE: Pricing for 2 soil borings for a residential property.

If a firm owns their own rig and that rig has been paid for 7 years ago, the drilling cost is gas + driller wages + very small maintenance. If the owner of that firm is a P.E. and has his 19 yr old kid doing the drilling, cost is hard to beat. If your job is in a locale he has done 400 borings, he knows the conditions. If he is semi-retired working out of his garage as a lab, his costs are also limited. He should bid 80% of the $3,000 in my opinion. Why should he be punished for being efficient and retired? On the other hand, if the guy is busy, doesn't own a rig, lives 70 miles away and wants to take December off, he will throw a high bid.

RE: Pricing for 2 soil borings for a residential property.

There are a lot of companies struggling to keep the lights on is most likely why the cost is so low. They may be having trouble finding new work and will take something on cheaply because they need money. Or hopefully the reason is that they are very efficient like FixedEarth mentioned.

We are seeing some very low bids from some of our competition recently, so its pretty typical right now.

B+W Engineering and Design
Los Angeles Civil Engineer and Structural Engineer | |

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