My Stump Grinding Tip – Hire Someone

To grind or not to grind?  Here is my best stump grinding tip: Hire someone to do the work!

A Few Stumps To Grind

One of the features that drew us to purchase our home 10 years ago was the number of mature trees on our lot.  Our

Image from Morguefile via dhester

house is relatively new (built in 1999), but the developer kept many mature trees.  We love this.  However, with a number of mature trees, we had to have some removed.  A few years ago, we started losing quite a few elm trees.  After the dust settled, we have a few less elm trees left, but had a few more stumps.  I wanted to get them ground out and put grass seed down, so I debated whether to do it myself or have someone do it.

My Former Strategy

We had one stump from years ago that was along the edge of our lot that I never did anything with.  It took about 10 years but it finally rotted out where I was able to dig what was left out and fill it in.

This was, of course, one option, though with three stumps and being right in the middle of the yard, it wasn’t a real option.

Do It Yourself Stump Grinding

Renting a stump grinder from Home Depot is listed at $94.  This is a four hour rental.  You have to unload it, load it back up, and of course figure out what you’re doing.

I was a little leery of this.  Using machines with sharp blades that are moving very fast and grinding wood and dirt and such is not in my comfort zone.  Read: I have no idea what I’m doing.

Still, with a pickup truck, it would be straightforward to get it back and forth, so I considered the idea.

Leaving It To The Pros (My Stump Grinding Tip)

Our subdivision contracts out our landscaping.  We hired a new company last year that has worked out very well.  They took over for a company that was unreliable and did the bare minimum.

They work with many neighborhoods, and see it as an opportunity to offer services to residents as well.  Word of mouth is very important to them.

I was on our homeowner’s board a couple of years ago, so I heard that they are very fairly priced.  When I contacted them for a quote, they said that they could do it for $150.

That was a no brainer for me.  I had them come out and grind the stumps the next day.  They even got to do it in February as we had a really nice warm spell with temperatures in the 60’s.  Those are record temperatures for Michigan.

Crunching The Numbers

For me, it was a simple decision.  Although it cost $56 more, it meant that I didn’t have to:

  • Load and unload the machine.
  • Push the machine around and risk taking chunks out of the grass.
  • Use the machine incorrectly, grinding too much or too little.
  • Risk damaging the machine.
  • Risk my own personal safety.
  • Spend my time doing any work.

I’m pretty sure that I got a break from economies of scale.  If I would have had just one stump, I’m guessing it would have cost at least $100.  It was likely a case that once they are set up for one stump, doing a couple more is no big deal.

The End Result

We were out of town when they did the work, but when I came back, things looked great.  Instead of three stumps there were three piles of wood shavings.

When spring comes, I’ll have some work to do.  I’ll have to dig out all the shavings, fill in with top soil, then apply grass seed and water.  This kind of stuff I can handle with no problem.

I’m just glad the stump grinding portion is out of the way!

Readers, do you agree with my stump grinding tip?  When do you draw the line between doing it yourself and leaving it to the pros?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “My Stump Grinding Tip – Hire Someone”

  1. Some tasks cry out to be delegated. This is definitely one of them! IMHO it’s always wise to farm out work that’s dangerous, crushingly physical, or technical enough to require a craftsman’s expertise. Or work that’s mind-numbing…

    The S-corp farms out the scutwork. My associate editor and I do the heavy lifting of technical & academic editing and indexing, but whenever possible we move the ditzy, annoying work of checking and regularizing documentation to a grad studenty type.

    As far as the house goes? Electrical work, plumbing, and heavy yardwork are always farmed out. I can paint an inside wall, but there’s no way I’m getting up on the roof to paint the eaves. I can wash the car, but I ain’t a-changin’ the oil. And today a lovely man came and cleaned the propane barbecue and replaced the regulator — he did an incredible job, about 210% better than I could have done. Some things I hire out because I don’t want to do them, and some because I’m not competent to do them. Either way, I feel like I get my money’s worth. The BBQ guy did not get sixty bucks an hour for his time, which is what I was earning while he was doing battle with a greasy grill.

    • Our BBQ grill is over 20+ years old, maybe 30 at this point. It’s definitely a yuck job but a little elbow grease and a few buckets of soapy water usually does the trick. I did have to replace the regulator a few years back but that wasn’t a big deal. I did do a lot of testing just to make sure I wasn’t going to blow anything up. So far so good!

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