Leaky basement

My concrete block basement has been leaking in at least two places for some time, and only now do I have the resources and lack of patience necessary to deal with the situation.
It leaks enough during rainstorms to prevent my ever finishing it off for living space, so I want it fixed.
The problem is...I'm not exactly sure what would be the smartest approach.
A contractor recently gave me an estimate approaching $4,000.00 for one of those baseboard "trough" systems that drains everything to a sump. I thought it was pretty pricey for a band-aid, and others I've talked to agree. It does seem to be an effective system in keeping water off the floor, however.
On the other hand, I've seen multiple postings on this forum that indicated addressing the issue from the outside can be even more expensive ($10,000 or more), with positively no guarantees it'll fix the problem. Many posting on this forum are of the belief that solving a wet basement problem is one of the toughest things to do.
I'm assuming the "outside fix" would entail backhoeing around the entire foundation of my house, patching where necessary, installing drain tile, and then landscaping away from the foundation.
Complicating the problem is that the concrete walls have already been painted inside, and tar-patched on other spots outside.
So: anyone have an idea what kind of $$ you'd typically look at for this type of project? Is it a better gamble than the "trough" solution? A reasonable amount of $$ is not an issue if it actually fixes the problem.
I'd be interested to know what kind of experiences others have had with both approaches.
Thanks...
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It depends on so many things, without seeing it or knowing more about it, it's impossible to estimate.
Have you looked at the easy obvious things? Consistent grading sloping away from the house? Leaders taking water as far from the house as possible? Gutters clean and working? Been out there during a heavy rain and see where water is going? You'd be surprised how in a heavy rain water may not be going where you think it's going.
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How deep underground is the wall
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here in louisville ky there is a company called b-dry and they do the typical basement for less than 2000.00 . ive seen them do many for 1300.00 . they cut the floor against the leeking wall out about 10 inches, install drain gravel and sump pump,then concrete back over. i have never seen them do this without success. hope this info helps. lucas
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Outside french drain properly installed should work unless the water table is high.

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Approximately six feet under ground.
Grading away from the house is poor, primarily because there are sidewalks close to the foundation both front and back. I'm assuming they'll have to go, which would then mean reconfiguring the front/back doorsteps.
Gutters seem to be okay, with a couple of leaks here and there...but we're talking gallons coming into the basement during heavy rain/spring runoff.

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the absolute best way is to dig around, install drain tile, coat it (again), sump pump, battery backup, haul away 80% of dug dirt, then fill with gravel, gutters, landscape

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