We have tried to include the most common questions that we are asked by clients. However, if you have a question not answered here or elsewhere on our site, feel free to contact us and we'll gladly assist you by providing further information.
Scroll down to read all questions and answers, or click a question from the list below to go directly to that answer.
Do I need a permit to clear my land?
Permit requirements depends on the jurisdiction of the property. Some cities and counties do require a permit for land clearing. In some cases, there may be restrictions on size and/or tree species that can be removed. It is recommended to check with your city and county governments to determine local regulations.
Additionally, some HOAs/POAs may have restrictions for the community that the property is located in. For example, some associations will not approve any land clearing until a building permit for the property has been submitted and approved. Again, these regulations vary by association, so it would be advisable to read the covenants and restrictions or contact a representative of the association to determine the requirements.
Is Bronco fully insured?
Absolutely! Bronco Land Clearing carries multiple insurance policies for the protection of our clients and our business. The insurance policies that we currently have in place are as follows:
General Liability Insurance - This policy protects our clients' property from unintentional damage that could be caused by our equipment or the work performed. We have never had a claim since the formation of the company, but we feel that this is a worthy investment for everyone's peace of mind. Upon request (and after acceptance of a project bid) our insurance agent will provide a Certificate of Insurance (COI) naming you as the certificate holder. (There is no charge for a certificate holder COI.)
Commercial Auto Insurance - This policy is in place for all company owned vehicles, and on our equipment hauling vehicles.
Worker's Compensation Insurance - This policy is in place to cover any potential injury to our employees while on the job.
Property Insurance - These policies protect our equipment from damage or theft, and protect our shop/physical location.
If your project requires insurance not listed, or specific amounts, please check with our office to determine if we are able to obtain the necessary coverage to meet your requirements. (There may be costs associated with additional policies, amendments or endorsements as requested.)
What equipment do you use, and what makes this equipment the best option for land clearing?
Bronco uses primarily ASV-RT120 forestry mulching skid steers, with a variety of interchangeable mulching head options. We use FECON, GyroTrac & Denis Cimaf mulching heads depending on the terrain and client goals for the property. Having multiple options allows us to choose the right tools for the right application such as using carbide teeth for rocky terrain, or using different shaped knives for certain species of trees.
Bronco can also handle clearing of brush along fence lines, rights of way, ponds, dams and other hard to reach areas by using our excavator (SANY-60) with a mulching deck. This machine has an outreach of 16' which gives us an advantage to access areas that traditional forestry mulching may not be able to get to.
How does mulching compare to dozing and burning?
Dozing as a method of land clearing that can be faster than forestry mulching, but it is harsher on the environment. Additionally, it can be more costly in the long run because it is only the first step in a multi-step clearing process since the vegetation still remains on the property. This is a method used by some home builders that simply need to get the vegetation out of the way of the house pad to begin construction. Depending on the builder, unfortunately sometimes these tree, stump and brush piles are left on the property behind the newly constructed home.
Once the trees are pushed and piled up after dozing, property owners are often left with the expense of how to remove the debris. The options after dozing include hauling away of material (additional and unknown expense due to weight), burning (additional expense, not environmentally-friendly, sometimes not permitted); or mulching the piles which could cost as much or more than it would have cost to mulch the trees in place.
Forestry mulching is the most efficient form of land clearing. It is eco-friendly and allows replenishment of nutrients back into the soil as the mulch decomposes. The layer of mulch is also excellent for controlling water runoff and soil erosion.
In the course of providing other land clearing, we can absolutely also take care of small piles of limbs that have been previously cut down by a homeowner or another landscaper doing seasonal pruning and clean up.
However, mulching of larger piles, especially those that were created by other land clearing such as dozing, is more of a challenge and would be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
Mulching of existing piles can be done, but it can be a time-consuming and expensive process. When trees and brush are mulched in place, the operator can clearly see the vegetation, make decisions on speed and power, and efficiently get thorough the area to be cleared. Unfortunately, some customers are misled to thinking that dozing is a cheaper process, when in fact it would have been much more cost effective to mulch the trees in place since the client usually ends up paying for 2 separate services, with the pile mulching costing more than the mulching in place would have been.
Mulching piles is a challenge (and more costly) for many reasons:
Unknown pile contents - If a property owner inherits a pile that appears to be only brush, there is really no true way of knowing if there are other materials in the pile. Dozers push up anything in their path including rocks, trash, metal, fence material, etc. This can be not only dangerous due to flying debris, but it could cause significant damage to the machinery.
Piles almost always include stumps, and may include oversized trees - Dozers typically push up root balls in addition to the visible parts of the trees, and these can be very difficult and time consuming to mulch. Additionally, dozers take down all trees in a specific area, and operators rarely make separate piles for larger trees and stumps. This presents a challenge for mulching machines that offer selective clearing around oversized trees that would otherwise be removed in a different manner if needed.
Mulching into a pile shoots the mulch and debris back into the pile, making it more dense and difficult to clear. The best option for pile mulching, is to bring additional equipment such as an excavator or backhoe with an arm and bucket that can be used to move the material out of the pile and onto flat ground for mulching. Essentially, this spreads out the pile so that the operator can see what is there, separate the larger trees/stumps, and spread the mulch evenly in other areas. Unfortunately, this is another factor affecting cost when additional machines and operators are needed.
Do you offer mulching of piles that were pushed up by another contractor?
It is important to maintain the cleared property regularly after mulching to prevent future overgrowth. The mulch left on the ground will begin to degrade after a few seasons. While you may not be able to use a small push mower immediately on the fresh mulch, you should be able to easily maintain the area with a larger deck riding mower or even a brush-hog tractor attachment. There should be no stumps sticking up in the cleared area that would prevent the riding mower from going over it. The bed of mulch will not prevent future growth, and lack of regular maintenance after clearing may result in the need for future brush clearing again if it grows in thicker and higher than a traditional lawn mower can handle.
What do I need to do for ongoing maintenance?
Bronco can do selective clearing, which means that we can take or leave specific trees that you mark for us. If you would like to keep certain trees for firewood, we can certainly send our ground crew to cut down and section up the tree trunks into manageable pieces. Please let us know this in advance so that we can include ground crew work in your initial bid.
In most cases for keeping trees for firewood, we would cut down the tree with a chainsaw, and then mulch down the stump to ground level. We would also mulch the limbs and branches, and then relocate the trunk sections elsewhere on the property. We do not have a log splitter to make true "firewood" size pieces, but we could leave the sections for you to process and further cut up later as needed.
Can I keep any of the trees for firewood?
While we do not offer these as "stand-alone" services, we do offer these options in conjunction with our full forestry mulching project.
Stump Removal - Typical mulching will grind the stumps down to ground level. In areas where removal is necessary such as for a new house pad or fence post installation, we can fully remove the stumps and we can quote the cost upfront. For stump removal, we typically bring an excavator with bucket to dig around the stump and pull it out. We try to knock off as much soil as possible back into the hole, but there may still be vacant space left behind after removal. The stumps themselves may also have additional associated costs depending on the preferred method of disposal to mulch or haul away. (No additional cost for relocating a stump in another wooded area of the property.)
Tree Trimming / Vine Cutting - In order to provide a park-like view of your property, we do offer ground crew work to clean up around tree bases and raise the canopy of the tree tops/branches. This would involve additional labor beyond the machine operator, using chain saws, shears, weed-eaters, etc. Keep in mind that the mulching machine is large/wide and may not be able to maneuver close to some of the trees that are being kept. This can result in remaining brush around the tree base which is inaccessible by machine and would need to be removed by hand tools.
Do you offer stump removal, limb trimming and vine cutting?
Tree & Mulch Size
What size tree can your equipment mulch & how fine are the mulch pieces?
Tree Size - Up to ~12" diameter
Our normal clearing includes brush and trees ~4" and smaller. This means that we usually leave all trees that are >4" diameter, measured at about chest height. If certain smaller trees are to be kept, those should be clearly marked with flagging tape and discussed prior to the clearing so that the operator knows to work around them.
Please keep in mind that keeping more trees does not necessarily equate to a less expensive clearing project. In fact, trees that are being left within the clearing area can often become obstacles that are more time consuming to work around, especially if the machine cannot navigate trees that are closer together than the width of the machine. Sometimes selective clearing requires additional ground crew work.
Even though we focus on trees and brush under 4", it doesn't mean that our machines can't handle larger trees. our mulching machines can mulch trees up to ~12' diameter, with larger trees taking longer than smaller ones, and certain species of hard wood also affecting the mulching time and process. If larger trees need to be removed within the clearing area, please make this request during the initial meeting.
The mulch size left by our machines will vary depending on the type of teeth used, and how many times the machine passes back and forth over the area. This is determined after discussing the project and understanding the needs of each client for their property. For example, if a client just needs to clear a property to access it for building and planning purposes, surveying, soil sampling, etc., then we recommend a rough-cut which would leave medium to large pieces of mulch. This takes longer to decompose, but it is also faster and less expensive than a fine-cut process. Fine-cut finish may be desired by existing homeowners who want to want to increase usable property for their family, or even ranchers who want to create a roaming field for livestock without tripping hazards.
Are there any additional fees for mileage or fuel?
When we provide a bid, it is a turn-key price for the entire scope of work requested. We do not charge extra based on location of the job, mileage, fuel usage, etc.
The ONLY time additional fees are assessed would be as follows:
Change orders adding more to the scope of work.
Requests for specific insurance endorsements. (No markup - exact premium cost is passed on.)
Credit card processing fee of 3.5% for any balance paid by credit card. (No fees for paying initial booking payment by CC.)
$25 wire fee for bank transfers (We offer this as a less expensive than CC processing.)
Do you charge sales tax on land clearing services?
Land clearing for developers/builders is typically a nontaxable service in Texas.
Property Owners: Taxability of land clearing for property owners depends on the purpose of the clearing. Real property services are taxable under 34TAC3.356(10)(b). This includes landscaping services or lawn maintenance for "aesthetic" purposes to improve the look or usability of your land. If this is the purpose for your clearing, please let us know so that we can add the appropriate sales tax to your project bid and determine the taxing jurisdiction for state and local remittance.
Otherwise, generally speaking, "land clearing" for the propose of building or developing a property is not classified as a real property service, even when paid by the property owner versus builder or developer. Property development such as building new dwelling structures, fences, sidewalks, pools, etc. typically does not incur state or local sales tax in Texas.
Do you offer hourly or daily rate pricing?
Bronco does not offer daily or hourly pricing for land clearing. We feel that the most beneficial option for our clients is for us to visit the property in person, discuss the overall goals for the property, allow the client to ask questions, present all of the options for clearing, and then provide a fixed, turnkey price for the full project. This allows the client to feel confident that there will be no surprises in pricing if a job takes longer than expected, and that the full scope of work will be accomplished.
We are aware that there are contractors offering daily or hourly pricing which may initially sound great. We strongly believe that there are too many unknown variables to consider when trying to compare prices for contractors offering daily or hourly rates, and we urge clients to use caution when considering these types of bids. Some of these factors include:
Type of machine - Many contractors new to the industry or those trying to keep their overhead low, will start with a more affordable and smaller grading-style machine (lower horsepower) and add a mulching head to it. The problem with not using a dedicated forestry mulching unit is that these machines are not intended for high flow hydraulics necessary to run the mulching head for long periods of time. This typically means that the drum works slower and with less power, and that the operator often needs to stop frequently to cool the machine. Overall there will be less efficient mulching power to rotate the mulching head drum, resulting in poor quality of the mulched product and a job that takes much longer. The end result for the client is a higher final price when the job takes longer than if it had been done with a machine built specifically for forestry mulching.
Density and species of vegetation - This likely goes without saying, but the denser the brush and the larger the trees, the longer it will take for clearing. Operators offering daily or hourly pricing will rarely if ever tell you how exactly long it will take, and if they do it will be approximate and never a guarantee. Some species of trees are soft and easier/quicker to mulch, and some are hard and take much longer.
Unknown obstacles - For properties that are densely covered in brush that you may not be able to walk through, there may be obstacles that would impede or slow down the clearing process. When you are in a time-based billing arrangement, this can be a costly encounter. This is less frequent for smaller residential jobs where you know your property well, but for newly purchased properties that can have unknown areas of trash, debris or even old fencing, this can create a great deal of unexpected cost for the client paying by the day/hour.
Method of time-keeping - Are you being charged by the clock, or by the hour meter on the machine? For clock time-keeping, does your time start upon arrival or when the machine first hits the brush? (Unloading, machine prep, fueling, etc. all take time.) Does the clock stop for operator breaks and machine maintenance? For hour-meter readings, it continues to run when the machine is running, not just when the mulching head is spinning. This means it could continue running during breaks, when operator is stopped to remove obstacles, during fueling, etc.
Experience of operator - Every machine operator has their own way of maneuvering their machine, developing a cadence, and navigating sometimes difficult terrain. Experience and skill are most certainly an unknown factor that can impact the final cost of a time-based project. Keep in mind that "years of experience" does not always equate to "skill level" of the operator.
Brand/sharpness of knives/teeth - Typical mulching heads have ~30-40 teeth and they are expensive to replace. Dull/worn teeth may still cut, but it takes much longer to achieve the same mulching results as a machine with sharp/new teeth. To understand how this could affect your decision on hourly pricing, consider this scenario: Company A offers a daily rate of $275 per hour and Company B offers $225 per hour. Your first instinct would be to hire Company B. However, the unknown factor could be that Company A replaces the mulching teeth at specific hourly intervals which allows for more efficient and faster mulching to finish the same scope of work. Due to the price of teeth replacement, Company B may use their knives much longer until they absolutely won't cut anymore. At the end of the job, Company A could have finished in 9 hours at a final price of $2475, and Company B may have taken 12 hours at a final price of $2700. This could be a significant difference in your final price, just based on how sharp the mulching teeth are!
While there are more factors that can impact the final time-based price, the list above is just a few of the most common variables. We urge clients that if you are looking to find the cheapest rate for your project, and therefore are considering daily/hourly pricing, please ask more questions beyond just the price per day/hour, and understand that price shopping for the lowest daily/hourly rate provider really is like comparing "apples to oranges" in this industry. To make an "apples to apples" decision, it is recommended that you get a fixed price bid with no surprises. From there, you'll be able to make your selection of what company to go with based on fixed price, quality of work, customer service, reputation, etc.