When you buy property, you take pride in owning every aspect of your land, including the dirt.
However, dirt doesn’t appeal to everyone or work with all construction plans.
If you plan to remove the dirt, that requires work (and a bill from your contractor).
Learn what you should expect to pay when you hire contractors to remove soil from your land as well as how much you should expect to pay if you do the work yourself.
How Much Does It Cost To Remove Soil?
The cost to remove soil using a professional service runs anywhere from $50 to $200 per cubic yard and $80 to $105 per hour.
The price depends on if you hire a junk removal company, rent a dumpster, or dispose of the dirt yourself.
Additional factors can add to the final cost.
Some of those additional factors to take into consideration include:
- Amount of soil
- Weight of dirt
- Equipment required
- Disposal costs
At the very beginning of the process, you should always be sure to ask about what the company you hire includes in their price and what will accrue as an additional cost.
1. Amount Of Soil Removed
The amount of dirt you need to be removed plays the biggest role in the final price tag of the job.
To calculate the cost, you need to figure the amount of dirt you want to be removed in cubic yards.
27 cubic ft. = 1 cubic yard
L’ x W’ x D’ = Cubic footage
Cubic footage/27 = Cubic yards
Start by finding the amount of soil you want to remove in cubic feet.
To do this, you multiply the area’s length, width, and depth together to find the cubic footage.
Once you get your calculation, you divide the result by 27 to convert the cubic footage to cubic yards.
You can then use this number to estimate the cost of the job.
Example: As an example, let’s assume that we measure the space and find it to be 5’ x 10’ x 1’.
This comes to 50 cubic feet or 1.85 cubic yards.
Assuming the company you use charges $150 per cubic yard (the average), you can expect to pay $277.50 in this example.
2. Weight Of Dirt
The weight of dirt adds up quickly, so you should know what to expect, especially if the company uses a dumpster to remove the dirt.
Reminder: 2000 lbs. = 1 ton
You may run into weight overage fees if your job weighs more than anticipated.
See the following average weight limits based on dumpster size (may vary by company):
- 2 cubic yards = 2 tons (4,000 lbs.)
- 4 cubic yards = 4 tons (8,000 lbs.)
- 6 cubic yards = 6 tons (12,000 lbs.)
- 8 cubic yards = 8 tons (16,000 lbs.)
Generally speaking, you can expect to pay $50 to $100 per ton in overage fees.
See the following average weight of dirt per cubic yard:
- Organic matter/compost: 1,000 to 1,500 lbs.
- Fill dirt: 2,000 lbs.
- Wet dirt: 2,500 to 3,000 lbs.
- Rocky dirt: 3,000 lbs.
3. Equipment Required
A company may use a dump truck to remove the soil from your property.
Large dump trucks usually fit about 10 cubic yards of soil in them.
If you need a larger dump truck or multiple dump trucks, this can increase the cost.
Alternatively, you may need to pay for dumpster rental.
Assuming that you rent the dumpster for the entire week, see the following national averages for dumpster rental:
- 10 cubic yards: $300
- 20 cubic yards: $380
- 30 cubic yards: $440
- 40 cubic yards: $490
In some cases, especially if you do the job yourself, you will need to pay for the actual disposal of the soil at an average rate of $32 to $40 per ton at your local landfill.
Check with the landfill first to ensure that they accept dirt.
However, you may have free options to consider.
Many landscaping companies will take the material off your hands and use it for an upcoming project.
Why Would I Need To Remove Soil?
There are several reasons you may need or want to remove the soil in your home.
We will cover some of the main reasons that you may request dirt disposal services and what you may get out of it.
1. Contaminated Soil
Your family’s safety matters more than anything else.
One factor that you may not have considered is contaminated soil on your property.
Soil can become contaminated for the following reasons:
- Lead paint
- Vehicle accidents
- Waste/chemical leaks
It can be difficult to know if you have contaminated soil.
The best indication will be to get as much information as possible about your property by looking up local records.
However, you can also pay for soil testing if you suspect contamination.
Extended exposure to contaminated soil can lead to mild or severe health conditions, so you want to address the situation immediately.
Contaminated soil can also be bad for wildlife and plants.
2. Underground Infrastructure
Sometimes, you need to remove dirt to allow for proper infrastructure underneath your home.
Some examples of underground infrastructure include sewer lines, gas lines, and other utilities.
The dirt may prevent proper access to the pipes, meaning the utility company may request that you remove dirt in order for them to complete the work you want.
If you plan to add a new building on your property or an extension, you may need to remove dirt to allow your contractor to establish a solid foundation to support the building.
Foundations usually consist of concrete, and they provide the fundamental support for the building that will go on top of it.
You may think that you can just place the foundation on top of the existing dirt, but foundations don’t rest on the top of your land.
Shallow foundations exist one to 15 feet underneath the ground, meaning you will need to remove the soil wherever the builders will place the foundation, especially as it applies to depth.
Some homeowners don’t like the earthy and rustic appearance of dirt on their property.
These people may remove the dirt to replace it with something they find more aesthetically pleasing.
Some additional options include:
- Wood chips
- Artificial grass
You have a couple of options when you decide to remove soil from your land.
You can hire a junk removal company, rent a rolling dumpster, or dispose of the dirt yourself.
1. Junk Removal Company
You have the option to hire a junk removal company to handle the heavy lifting for you.
This option costs the most and costs can increase from the estimate quickly, but you won’t have to do the work yourself.
However, you will need to be at home when the workers arrive.
This option works great for people who have medium to large jobs they can’t handle alone, or for people who don’t like working in the yard or getting dirty.
2. Rolling Dumpster
If you rent a dumpster, you need to do the work of getting the dirt into the dumpster.
However, someone will come and take the full dumpster to the landfill for you.
You won’t need to load your truck up with dirt and take it to the landfill yourself.
The cost of disposal is also included in the dumpster rental.
Finally, you won’t need to pay quite as much as hiring a junk removal company.
Just make sure you get the job done by the time the people come to pick up the dumpster!
Luckily, you don’t need to be there.
This option works great for large or extra large jobs when you have help for the work but don’t have a way to haul the dirt away.
It also works great if you don’t have a nearby landfill.
If you do opt to rent a rolling dumpster, do the prep work to get a large enough dumpster and rent it for the appropriate amount of time.
Otherwise, they may take the dumpster before you finish.
3. Dispose Of The Dirt Yourself
Disposing of soil yourself costs the least, but it requires the most effort on your part.
You will need to put the dirt into the back of a pickup truck or appropriate bags, depending on the quantity.
You will then need to travel with the dirt to your local landfill (or recycling center) and dispose of it.
The only fee you will accrue is the cost from the landfill, gas money, and the cost to clean the vehicle after the fact.
Keep in mind that you may need to make several trips.
Also, while you can work at your own pace, you may have an unattractive yard until you finish.
This works best for small to medium jobs if you have a large pickup truck you can use and don’t mind doing the work.
Ways To Recycle Soil
If possible, you should recycle the soil in some way instead of taking it to a landfill.
Here are some tips on how to recycle your dirt.
1. Recycle In Your Landscaping
Look around your yard to see where the soil may come in handy.
The most obvious way to repurpose the dirt would be to put it into a garden, especially if it has fertile properties.
You can use the soil to grow different flowers, food, and herbs to improve the appearance of your yard and even provide delicious items to use in cooking.
If you don’t need dirt for a garden, you can look for other ways to use it around your property.
Some creative ways to use the dirt include:
- Homemade fire pit
- Play area
- Flower beds/planters
Fire pits require dirt underneath them, play areas use dirt to protect children from getting hurt when they fall, and you may need the dirt for flower beds or planters in your home.
2. Dirt Recycling/Construction Companies
Some organizations will take soil off your hands at no cost to help with recycling efforts or to save money on the cost of soil.
While not applicable everywhere, you may as well ask around before you hire a professional service.
Ask your local recycling companies if they accept soil.
If they don’t, call local construction companies to see if they need it.
You may need to transport the soil, but some companies may even offer to pick it up from you.
3. Give It Away
People need soil for landscaping projects from time to time, so you may be surprised how willing people will be to come and get the dirt from you if you offer it to them for free.
Two ways to promote your free soil are to:
- Post local ads online
- Put up a “Free Soil” sign
Be aware that some states require you to have a mining license to give away dirt.
Be mindful of the laws in your area before you post an ad.
Tips For Disposing Of Soil Yourself
If you decide to take on the task of disposing of soil yourself, use these tips to get the job done.
1. Learn State Regulations
Soil falls under the label of general construction debris (C&D debris) as it does not contain toxic properties.
In most states, you can take soil to the landfill.
However, other states have specific regulations in place to prevent overfill or hazardous material from getting in.
States with regulations may still take soil at specific C&D locations, but you need to learn the rules before you find yourself having to pay a fine.
States that have specific regulations for yard waste include:
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
If you live in a state that doesn’t have these regulations, you can throw the dirt away with the garbage.
Consider slowly putting it out each week until it’s all gone.
2. Wear Work Clothes
Not only do you not want to get your favorite clothes dirty, but you also don’t want to end up hurt by an unexpectedly sharp rock, piece of glass, or even a bug.
For this reason, you should wear work clothes that cover your extremities over lighter underclothing.
You should also wear sturdy shoes.
When done, remove clothing and shoes outside to avoid getting dirt inside your home.
3. Bundle The Work
Look for a way to add the soil removal task to another landscaping project.
Many contractors will provide a discounted rate if they have your business for something else.
You can also work in sync with a neighbor to do similar work at the same time and join forces and share expenses regarding the disposal.
4. Do Not Overfill
You may feel tempted to fill lawn bags or dumpsters to the very brim.
However, this weight can lead to larger problems down the road.
As a general rule, you want to make sure that you don’t overfill whatever receptacle you choose to store the dirt to ensure it can support the weight.
5. Hire Cost-Effective Labor (Your Kids/Neighbors’ Kids)
You can get a lot of help for about $10 to $20 an hour from your children or other children in the neighborhood.
This will get the work done more quickly, and you get to spend some time teaching the younger generation about a hard day’s work.
6. Set Realistic Goals
You need to set realistic goals about how long the work will take you.
If possible, set aside entire weekends for the task until you complete it.
You will enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when the last bit of dirt is removed.
Plus, you won’t need to hear people complaining that the dirt creates an eyesore or gets tracked into the home.
Final Thoughts On The Cost To Remove Soil
The three ways to remove soil from your property are:
- Hire a junk removal service
- Rent a dumpster
- Dispose of dirt yourself
The more work you do yourself, the less you will have to pay.
However, not all of us enjoy yard work, especially when it gets this dirty.
Also, some jobs are just too big to do without the help of professional vehicles and additional manpower.
If you can, recycle the dirt in some other way on your property or give it away.
Some people can use the dirt for their own professional or personal renovation projects.
Whatever you do, just remain mindful of local regulations to avoid disposing of soil in a way that doesn’t adhere to local municipal codes.