By Charles Wardell
Dirt is complicated," says Dave Rossi, the Campbell, Calif., construction manager who started dirtmarket.com. He describes the new online service as "a dating service for dirt," in which companies with excess dirt post the amount, and those with "holes" to fill post their needs.
For a $1,200 annual fee, contractors get unlimited access to the site. They can post as many times and perform as many transactions as their needs dictate.
In building the site, Rossi knew that the closer the dirt to the hole, the better. "Moving 1,000 yards of dirt five miles can mean spending $1,500 on trucking," he points out. That's why the business includes a partnership with MapQuest. A dirt-seeker who types in the location of a hole is given a list of available loads sorted by how far away they are. Clicking on a particular load brings up a map with driving directions. The site also includes information on local landfills and quarries.
There's no maximum or minimum transaction size: The site's listings range in size from 50 to 100,000 cubic yards. And while many of dirtmarket .com's 125 subscribers are commercial builders, there are a number of home builders, including Lennar, KB Home, Ryland, Belle Terre (San Jose, Calif.), Christopherson Homes (Santa Rosa, Calif.), Pinn Brother Homes (San Jose) and O'Brien Group (Pleasanton, Calif.).