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How Much Does it Cost to Remove a Tree Stump?

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Landscaping > How Much Does it Cost to Remove a Tree Stump?
How Much Does it Cost to Remove a Tree Stump?

On this page:

  1. How Do Pros Charge for Removing Tree Stumps?
  2. Do I Need to Have Tree Stumps Removed?
  3. What Affects the Price of Stump Removal Services?
  4. How Will the Cost of My Project Add Up?
  5. Preparing for a Stump Removal Project
  6. Cost Comparisons
  7. Level of Difficulty
  8. Find a Pro

Whether you have recently had a tree removed or your yard simply bears the remains of one that was cut down long ago, the process of removing the stump can be a time-consuming and expensive project. There are a few factors than can affect the cost of a tree stump removal, so be sure to consider the details when planning or hiring for the project.

    price to remove tree stump

How Do Pros Charge for Removing Tree Stumps?

Who Should You Call?

You may have a few options when it comes to choosing pros for stump removal. In addition to tree service pros and arborists, landscape contractors and excavators typically provide the service. Consider the context of the job when gathering estimates, since some types of providers may be able to offer you a better price if the work falls under the umbrella of other related work.

For example, if you are having a lot cleared for construction, it’s practical to have the excavation contractor remove the stumps with heavy equipment in the course of doing other site work, or if the project is part of a landscaping job, your contractor should be able to remove stumps efficiently while grading is underway. On the other hand, if you have a tree stump left in a finished yard and there isn’t any other work going on, it is usually more practical and economical to bring in a tree service pro.

How is the Price Calculated?

Since trees are unique it can be hard to predict the exact demands of each removal project, but some contractors offer standard rates for removing stumps. Among those who do, fees are commonly based on the diameter of the stump or the number of stumps to be removed and commonly range from $2.00 to $4.00 per inch of diameter or $40 to $100 per stump.

Experienced professionals can make a pretty accurate estimate of the time, manpower, and machinery required to get the job done and some providers charge by the hour, so you may only receive an estimate for the job rather than a fixed price up front. If that’s the case, you will be billed for the actual time spent on the job, the size of the crew, and the cost of operating the equipment or machinery involved, which could cost between $75 and $300 per hour. In any case, most contractors will charge a minimum fee of at least $100 to cover their basic expenses and overhead, regardless of the size of the job.

Do I Need to Have Tree Stumps Removed?

Does it Need to Go?

Tree stumps will degrade naturally over time, but it takes a long time. If you aren’t willing to wait for nature to take its course, having the stump removed is a quick way to clear your yard of an eyesore, tripping hazard, or lawn-mowing obstacle. Although the decomposition of a tree can affect the soil conditions in the area, it isn’t typically harmful, so the most common reasons to have a stump removed are for the sake of convenience and appearance.

Can I Do This On My Own?

The quickest way to remove a tree stump involves machinery, such as a stump grinder or even an excavator. You can rent equipment like this in most areas if you want to tackle the job yourself, but it takes skill and care to operate the machinery, and the cost of renting heavy or specialized equipment often rivals the cost of hiring a pro who owns the right tools for the job.

Attempting to do the job with the wrong equipment can be dangerous and ineffective and do more harm than good, so resist the temptation to pull a stump out with your truck or whittle it down with a chainsaw. If you can’t swing the rentals on the right machine, a strong back and some hand tools can get the job done. Also, the application of a chemical stump remover can speed up the decomposition process, though it won’t provide instant gratification.

What Affects the Price of Stump Removal Services?

How the Job is Done

The two most common methods pros use to remove tree stumps are pulling and grinding. The best method for your project may depend on the type of tree, the characteristics of the stump, and the accessibility of the site.

Stump grinders are relatively compact machines that can be maneuvered onto just about any site without damaging the surrounding yard, but the process can be time consuming. If it’s practical to use larger equipment, a pro can pull out a number of stumps (along with roots) in a short time, but running a skid steer, tractor, or excavator over a property could do a number on the lawn.

What is Included?

The basic service of removing a tree stump is fairly straightforward, but leaving your yard looking like nothing ever happened requires a higher level of service. Removing wood chips, backfilling the area, adding topsoil, and seeding the lawn are tasks that may be necessary to remove all traces of the tree. Be sure to specify the level of service you require when requesting estimates, and be prepared to pay more to clean and finish the site than you will to actually have the stump taken out.

How Will the Cost of My Project Add Up?

The Nature and Scale of the Job

The specific features of your stump removal project have a lot of influence on the overall cost of handling the stump(s), as well as related grading and landscaping work. If the stumps in question are merely an obstacle on a construction site, a pro will approach the job differently than if you are having a stump ground as part of an entire tree removal or if the tree is already gone and the stump stands in a finished yard. The cost per hour or per stump may be lower on a large-scale job than for a single tree, so be sure to get estimates that reflect an actual assessment of the job, rather than basing your budget on a pro’s basic fee schedule.

The Details of the Job

In addition to the overall scope of the job, the specific characteristics of the stumps involved may have some influence on the cost of the work. The larger and harder the stumps are, the longer it will take to grind them, so the more the job will cost. If you are having stumps pulled rather than ground, the type and size of the trees may be a factor, since a broad and well-established root system is generally harder to remove than that of a younger tree with narrow root growth.

The Services You Choose

Be sure to think ahead about how much work you want a pro to handle for you. If you just want the stump ground up or pulled out so you can handle the cleanup and seeding yourself, you could save a considerable amount. Most providers don’t include clean up, backfill, grading, or seeding as part of the stump removal process, so adding the extra tasks could require the services of a second contractor, such as a landscaper or handyman, or add a substantial amount to the bill.

Preparing for a Stump Removal Project

Planning Ahead

If you are having an entire tree taken down, keep in mind that stump removal is not a standard service that comes along with cutting down a tree. It is generally most cost-effective to have the stump ground or pulled at the same time the tree is cut since a single contractor can do both jobs, but you will need to specify ahead of time what level of service you want from the provider. If you want your pro to remove debris or grade, fill, and finish the area, the added services will increase the overall cost of the job.

Shop Around

It’s always a good idea to get a few proposals and prices to compare. While gathering estimates, be sure to contact different types of providers, if practical. For example, if you would like some landscaping work done in conjunction with the stump removal, you may get a better deal from a landscape contractor who can bid the whole job than from a tree service pro who will only perform one aspect of the job.

If you want to have the debris cleaned up and topsoil added to the site, it may be more economical to hire a handyman or laborer for that part of the job than to have a tree service provider complete it. Whichever way you go, compare estimates on an equal basis, including the method of pricing, the depth of grinding, and the level of service.


Even if you aren’t up for operating machinery or for the manual labor involved in taking out or grinding a tree stump yourself, you may be able to save on the job by pitching in where you can. If you can clean up wood chips or rake out topsoil yourself after the stump work is done, you may be able to save $100 or more per tree in labor costs.

Cost Comparisons

Low Average High
$150 - $250 $300 - $850 $620 - $1,200

Though circumstances vary, grinding is generally the most practical and economical option for removing tree stumps in an established yard. Our examples show how the features and scale of the job might influence the cost of your project.

Basic Clean-Up: $150 - $250

  • • Number of Stumps: Grinding a single tree stump in an easily accessed spot should take a pro less than an hour, making this a simple job that may only cost the contractor’s minimum fee.
  • • Size of Stumps: Grinding a tree stump up to 18” in diameter is a standard job for most pros, so unless the stump is unusually large, the work is typically charged at a contractor’s base rates.
  • • Level of Service: Keeping the work to the minimum of grinding the stump below the soil level maintains a low price for this job, but leaves quite a bit of cleanup work behind.

End of an Era: $300 - $850

  • • Number of Stumps: Increasing the workload to two stumps brings the difficulty of this job up, though the cost per stump often works out to be less when multiple sites are included.
  • • Size of Stumps: Though there are only two stumps on this project, they are from large, mature hardwoods and each exceeds two feet in diameter.
  • • Level of Service: In addition to the time needed to grind the stumps, having the crew stay on to clean up two substantial piles of wood chips makes this at least a full day’s work. The extra service could add $200 or more to the tab.

A Front Yard Makeover: $620 - $1,200

  • • Number of Stumps: Removing six stumps from a single yard brings this project to the next level of pricing, with fees for the basic service ranging from $200 to $430.
  • • Size of Stumps: Though there are several, grinding stumps with a diameter or 12” or less keeps the job fairly quick.
  • • Level of Service: The level of service on this job sets it apart from projects on a similar scale. Having the provider clear wood chips, deliver and grade the area with topsoil, and apply grass seed adds several hours’ worth of labor, as well as materials, to the cost of the job.

Level of Difficulty

Removing tree stumps with the use of chemicals doesn’t require any special skills, but can take a very long time. A good deal of muscle can get the job done faster, but the quickest way to get rid of tree stumps requires the use of heavy equipment or specialized machinery and is only suited for advanced do-it-yourselfers. The cost of renting the right equipment is often comparable to the cost of hiring a pro though, so it often makes more sense to leave the liability and heavy lifting to the experts.

Tree Stump Removal Services

If you are ready to call in a tree service, landscaping, or excavation expert to rid your yard of unwanted tree stumps, connect with a local Tree Stump Removal Pro today. Each of the contractors in our network has been background checked and verified so you can be assured that our Pros have the credentials, licensing, and insurance coverage needed to get your job done correctly and safely.

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