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  • Dirt from Fence Holes – What Happens to it?

What happens to all of the dirt from the fence holes? This is a question customers ask all the time. Don’t assume that your fence company will pick up and remove the dirt spoils after the holes are dug for the posts. At least not for free.

However, some fence companies will pickup the dirt. Using this service to set them apart from competition. Some fence companies will pick it up and haul it to a specified location onsite. Others will spread it out around the posts. And yes, some will flat out refuse to do anything with it.

Therefore, discussing what happens to the dirt from fence post holes is something that should happen at the very beginning of the estimating process. It is often overlooked by both homeowner and contractor.

Furthermore, it is normally the last task to be completed, or worse, left undone. As a result, leaving an unfinished look to the fence. While at the same time creating work for the customer.

dirt next to fence post
Dirt Spoils from Fence Post Hole

What Are the Options for the Dirt from Fence Holes?

From my experience, there are four options for dealing with the dirt. However, your fence contractor may not offer all of them.

Therefore, it is important to discuss what happens to the dirt from the fence before signing the contract. When both parties are on the same page from the beginning, there is no confusion later.

The following are the four most popular solutions for dealing with left over dirt from fence holes.

You Pickup the Dirt Yourself

This is the least appealing if you’re the customer. Coincidently, it is the most appealing for the fence contractor. Nobody likes to clean up dirt. For the contractor, it is easier to just leave it for the homeowner.

However, the homeowner is paying good money and expects it to be part of the project. Again, the reason it should be discussed beforehand. Therefore, if the contractor has a fee to pickup the dirt, it’s up tp the customer to see if it’s worth it to do it themselves.

Most yards have a low spot, flower bed, garden or other location to loose the dirt in. The amount of posts determines the amount of dirt. It won’t be a dump truck load. However, depending on the size of the yard, you could have multiple wheelbarrows full of dirt from fence posts.

Your Contractor Spreads the Dirt Around Posts and Under Fence

Most fence contractors do this. At the very minimum they rake it to one side of the posts and leave it in a pile. With a little more labor, they will spread it out around the posts and underneath the fence line.

Not the best solution for most homeowners. However, it is better than having a pile of dirt killing the grass from sitting too long. Keep in mind, this only works there is good soil.

When the dirt is rocky or sandy, spreading it under the fence is not good. At that point, it is better to have it removed. However, on new homes without an established yard, leaving the dirt is no big deal.

fence posts holes with dirt
Dirt Spoils from Fence Post Holes

Your Contractor Pickups the Dirt from the Fence and Relocates it Onsite

This is the option we offered our customers for free. We were happy to pick up the dirt from fence post holes and relocate it somewhere on the property. The sales guy and customer decided on the best location for the dirt.

The foreman and crew members would move the dirt the day the posts were set. There was no additional charge to the customer. As a result, a good compromise for both parties.

Most fence companies do not have a location to dump the dirt. Therefore, leaving it on site is convenient. Most homeowners don’t want to pickup dirt from fence holes. However, they have locations the dirt could be used. So it was convenient for them too.

Your Contractor Pickups and Removes the Dirt from the Site

Removing the dirt from the job site is a chore for most contractors. As a result, most charge for this service. We charged our customers $5.00 per hole to clean up the dirt from fence holes and haul it away.

A small job with only 8 holes, and it’s $40 extra. No big deal. A big job with 40 holes and it’s a couple hundred dollars extra. Well worth it for some customers. Not a necessity for others.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a fence contractor that includes this service in the price of the fence. However, most won’t. Let your pocketbook be your guide. The investment is worth it to some customers. Not worth it to others. The choice is yours.


Learn how to deal with digging in rocky ground to ground with roots here.

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