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Recently we have had the side yard cleared of brush, it needs dirt to level it. We have had an offer by a friend to bring us dirt from the dump (assuming they have any) on a dually (double wheeled rear axle truck) for $150/load, he and his team of teens will load, unload and spread manually. The dirt at the dump is free-but he'll have to load it up. He estimates it will take and estimated 4 loads to start. Is this a good rate for here in MD? He is claiming the high cost of fuel as a factor...to me it is a wash on that. Can you think of a better and of course cheaper way to fill in a side yard to be used as lawn?

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Sure try doing yourself for less . Oh wait you do not have the truck to move the dirt and probably not even a shovel .

Now the friend already has these items and the help to do it. Price of gasoline is a HUGE FACTOR . Being as he is a friend, when he is done with leveling YOUR yard. His truck should be filled with fuel , as well as him and his help paid fair wages .i am not from there but dirt work by hand is not easy work , he offered you by the load and not by the hour . Count yourself lucky if he is still willing to it for that .
      The other option which would be cheaper is to buy rake and shovel yourself and lower the level of your yard using what dirt you already have .
Good luck and hope you grow a beautiful Lawn

That's about $600 total, maybe a little more with gas and an extra load? That does sound like a good deal to me, honestly, especially because – backing what @Raymond Justman said – moving and leveling dirt is very labor intensive work.

But just to be sure, it never hurts to call a landscape company or two for a quote! I've found Yelp's request-a-quote feature to be useful in situations like these.

Alternatives depend on how much you are willing and able to do. Have you considered renting a truck for a day and doing it yourself? In Maryland, Asplund does most of the tree work for the utilities. They may be willing to dump shredded trees (mulch) in your yard when working in your area. It turns into topsoil in about a year or two, but you would have to spread it yourself. You did not mention how big of an area you are talking about or if you have direct access with a truck. If I was still unsure, I would go with it. I live on the Eastern Shore and landscaping is not cheap!

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