How much $$ for hand-built singletrack?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Rider, Builder, Dreamer
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    How much $$ for hand-built singletrack?

    An acquaintance of mine has asked me to design and build some singletrack on his 20-acre property. The plan is to put in enough to jump out after work for a couple laps for a workout, but not so much that it feels like he's a rat in a maze. He has lots of mellow multi-purpose trail accessible from his property, so the plan is to build bidirectional singletrack and load with quite a few TTF's as flow allows.

    What's the going rate for hand-built singletrack these days? I've heard the numbers spit out for total cost per foot of singletrack on public land, but assume that part of that cost goes toward the bureaucracy associated with building on public land. The project in question is exactly the type of trail work I have done the most, but I've only ever built in a volunteer capacity.

    Can anyone give ballpark estimates of hand-built singletrack, either per foot or labor hour? Thanks!
    Go ride your bike.

  2. #2
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    Charge by the hour. Start with the layout, then add features if he is still willing to pay.
    I don't know what you make in your regular job but building single track would probably be pretty fun so worth a pay cut.
    Good luck.

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  3. #3
    K&K
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    I agree. When you don't know what to charge for custom work, charge by the hour.

  4. #4
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    Break it up in phases; phase 1 planning and layout, phase 2 building, phase 3 refinements and customization.

    Within each phase budget low and high (not to exceed) # of hours, estimating what it will take you...

    Then bill hourly, the results should be within your estimate and update at the end of each week.

    Fair for you and him.

  5. #5
    WillWorkForTrail
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    The range is huge, to be honest. I've hand built trail that took one hour to go a couple hundred feet, and trail that's taken 2 days to go 20 feet. Part of the assessment it what kind of trail is being built on what kind of terrain, and how much real work that translates too. I know professional builders that have underbid projects and not realized it until they were neck deep in it, because the problems that will arise aren't always obvious. In short, you're asking people to blindly assist in advising you on the toughest part of a trail project. Given that, I'd say there's some pretty good advice in the comments above. Really, the only way to learn to bid by the foot is to build enough trail to start to understand the logistics and pitfalls of the process.

  6. #6
    Single(Pivot)and Happy
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    $25/foot.
    The suspension of your bike sucks if it's different than mine. Really. It sucks. Big time.

  7. #7
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    Thanks everyone for the input. I know there are infinite variables without seeing the dirt but this is helpful. Sounds like charging per hours is the way to go. I will indeed take a bit of a pay cut from my day job for this, but as noted above, it's a fun!(?)

    The guy is going to consult with his wife, as she rides as well and has a couple types of features she would like to practice. Once they have some more ideas of what they want, the 3 of us will scout the area together and make a plan.

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    Go ride your bike.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sambs827 View Post
    Thanks everyone for the input. I know there are infinite variables without seeing the dirt but this is helpful. Sounds like charging per hours is the way to go. I will indeed take a bit of a pay cut from my day job for this, but as noted above, it's a fun!(?)

    The guy is going to consult with his wife, as she rides as well and has a couple types of features she would like to practice. Once they have some more ideas of what they want, the 3 of us will scout the area together and make a plan.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
    I think a dollar per hour and a total project cost are good numbers to start with - so you ask for $15/hr (that'd be my cost for a GOOD friend) and he says he's got $600 to play with... Based on that you agree to ~40 hours of work. As the project gets rolling you discuss how realistic that number is and cater the design to meet it. That'd be my approach anyway.

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