How Much Does it Cost to Clear Land?

Are you starting a new construction project on your property? Before you start a major improvement project, you need to clear your land.

It’s not only for construction; it can help to restore views, protect from fire, facilitate mobility, ready the land for farming, etc. But though this task is quite common, many still need to know the answer to the basic question, ” how much does it cost to clear land?”.

Make some time to learn what land clearing involves as well as the costs that come with it.

clearing land using bulldozer

Average Cost to Clear Land

Unfortunately,  getting a straight answer about the land clearing cost can often be difficult, due to a number of factors that affect the cost of the project.

Thus, most contractors like to complete a survey of the area before delivering a quote. Some of the factors include:

  • Location: Costs fluctuate based on the area. The closeness of woodlands and preserved natural habitats will make it harder, as one will first need to obtain the proper permits.
  • Size and scope: With land clearing costs running up to $3 a square foot, the cost of a job can increase exponentially.
  • The condition of land: Sharply sloped or hilly areas will require regrading. So, expect the price for its clearing to be on the higher end of the spectrum, costing more than grassy terrain.
  • Accessibility: For lots that are tough to reach, it may be necessary to do the task by hand, which doubles the length and complexity of the project and thus raises the overall cost.
  • Season: Severe weather may lengthen the duration of the project or cause other difficulties. However, in peak conditions, contractors are in high demand and their services come at a greater cost.
  • Local regulations: Local zoning and planning departments may need a permit, which could add $50.00 to $200.00 to the project expenses.

As you can see, the price to prepare a land for construction differs considerably depending on the size and scope of the project. The price for a small project like cleaning the ground for a deck or a patio is around $200, while the cost of clearing a wide lot to build a new house is $7,500 or more.

Typically, the cost to hire a professional contractor will run from $1,280 to $4,050, with an average of $2,665. Moreover, your contractor may charge per acres or per square foot, like the following:

Per Acre

  • Flat: Land that is flat or with a slight slope, and light to medium vegetation, will cost as between $30 to $200 per acre.
  • Slope: If the area is heavily sloped, or if it has a lot of bushes and trees, the land clearing pricescan go up to $500 to $2,000 per acre.
  • Forested: If the area is heavily wooded, the cost of clearing land will be significantly more expensive, starting at $3,000 and going to $6,875.00 or more per acre. You may also have to pay for the disposal of the debris.

Per Square Foot

  • Flat: Land that is flat or slightly sloped land, with light to medium vegetation, will cost around $3 to $6 per square foot.
  • Hill: Sloped or hilly land, with thick vegetation, will cost $15 or more per square foot.

For a 2,000 square foot house, the price of clearing land might be from $24,000 to $60,000. For a huge 20,000 square foot commercial building, the cost might be between $240,000 to $600,000.

Below are the national average costs of land clearing according to the research of ProMatcher.

Range

Average Price

Unit

$99.07 – $212.57

$155.82

per hour

$3.65 – $14.60

$9.13

per square foot

$3,151.05 – $7,260.10

$5,205.58

per acre

$98.55 – $273.82

$186.19

fixed fee per stump removed

Here are the average costs of land clearing in different US cities, according to ProMatcher.

City

Range

Average Price/Unit

Los Angeles

$200.00 – $350.00

$275.00 per hour

Detroit

$300.00 – $750.00

$100.00 – $400.00

$0.50 – $1.00

$525.00 per hour

$250.00 fixed fee per stump removed

$0.75 per square foot

Seattle

$8,541.67 – $16,891.67

$12,716.67 fixed fee

New York

$350.00 – $350.00

$350.00 fixed fee per stump removed

  • On Texas Land Clearing, the average land clearing prices per acre are between $2970 and $5900.
  • According to Homewyse, the average land clearing costs per acre are about $4000.00.
  • Bushwackers Land Clearing can cover up to 4 acres in 10 hours starting at around $160 per hour, depending on the land clearing machines that are required.

Do-It-Yourself Land Clearing

In some cases, clearing land can be easy and nearly cost-free.  But though it may save you from paying for labor, you will still end up renting heavy pieces of machinery such as bulldozers, excavators, and backhoes to do the work yourself.

  • Rent: Renting will generally cost $100 to $350.
  • Buy: On the other hand, purchasing them will cost $10,000 to $100,000 or more. You probably don’t want to go this way unless you want to rent it out or something. 
  • Chainsaw: Purchasing a chainsaw will cost between $200 and $500.

It is advised that you perform it yourself only if you have the required skills to operate these types of equipment safely.

Tips For Perfect Land Clearing

  • If your field is flat and just requires a minor clearing job, there’s no need to hire a lot of contractors to get the job done. But if the land is heavily forested, uneven or sloped, and has various barriers, you may end up spending a few of thousand dollars per acre.
  • Try to do the project a few acres at a time when clearing vast amounts of land. Just prepare the lots that will be used in the next few months so you can spend your money systematically.
  • Before you do a clearing project, check with your local environmental or land officials to get the required permits.
  • To guarantee a good job that is up to code with every building and zoning regulation, find a pro in your state by shopping for estimated quotes.
  • Purchase a piece of property that is nearly flat and does not have stony soil or thick vegetation. The less filling, grading, and clearing that is required, the less you’ll end up paying.
  • It’s an excellent idea to get some quotes, rather than hiring the first contractor you stumble upon. It is worth paying a little more cash for a contractor with an established track record and reliable reviews from their previous customers.

Conclusion

Before investing your time and money in clearing land, you should have your building layout designed. Having a definite idea of where things meet in the plan will help you determine which portions of land must be cleared and graded, and which can be left alone.

Thus, it is recommended you call an experienced contractor and ask how much does it cost to clear land. However, if you have the skills and your land is not too big, you can do the clearing on your own.

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