Before You Hire a Mini-Excavator…

Many people shy away from renovations and other DIY projects that require heavy machinery, whether they feel the space is too small to accommodate the vehicles or it doesn’t fit the budget. A mini excavator is often a cheaper and easier way to begin those renovations.

Are you considering doing a repair job or starting a new project but dread the thought of hiring a full-sized excavator? Chances are that you can hire a mini-excavator for a lot less and it will do a terrific job.

How can you find out if hiring a mini-excavator is right for you? We made a handy list that can help you come to a decision.

Person looking at renovation blueprints

What are the Benefits of Using a Mini-Excavator?

Besides cost, there are many benefits to hiring a mini-excavator, including:

  • The smaller size means easier access. Sometimes, access to your backyard or other spaces is quite tight and the larger excavators don’t fit.
  • Lighter weight means that softer ground is OK. If the working area or access road has softer dirt, the heavier machines can get bogged down. Mini-excavators aren’t as heavy, so soft dirt is not a problem.
  • Easier and cheaper to transport. You can usually fit one of these in a small flatbed trailer or even the bed of a full-sized pickup truck. That means no extra charges for a large trailer to move the excavator to your site.
  • Less wear and tear on surfaces. Mini-excavators don’t weigh as much, so they should cause little or no damage to surfaces or surrounding areas.
  • Power efficient. Since mini-excavators use far less power, they are considered to be eco-friendly.
  • Quieter operation. Mini-excavators are much quieter than their full-sized counterparts, so your neighbours aren’t as likely to complain about the noise.
Indoor house renovations

What are Mini-Excavators Good For?

While these machines are small, they are incredibly versatile. Some of the most common projects people hire a mini-excavator for include:

  • Digging small to medium sized holes, such as ponds, foundations or fountains
  • Creating drainage ditches and utility trenches
  • Removing tree stumps
  • Digging post holes
  • Breaking up large rocks
  • Levelling ground
  • Moving dirt or construction debris
  • Demolishing steel, small outbuildings, asphalt and concrete
  • Snow ploughing
water fountain in garden

Do You Need a Licence to Operate a Mini-Excavator?

This depends on state law. The good news is that laws have recently changed, so if you didn’t hire a mini-excavator before because you didn’t have a licence, you might want to check again. The company you are hiring from will have all the details and will be able to tell you if you need a licence or not.

tyres of mini excavator

Ask about Additional Charges

You will find some very competitive rates for renting a mini-excavator, but these rates only include the cost of the machine. There are often additional charges tacked on so be aware of those before you hire. Common charges might include:

  • Fuel surcharge of 10%
  • Penalty rates (for weekends, holidays or night work)
  • Special attachment fees (these vary, but attachments such as post-hole diggers or rock breakers will cost extra)
  • Security fees (if the mini-excavator stays on your property overnight)

Before you sign the contract, be certain that all charges are clearly stated so you won’t be hit with a larger than expected bill.

Even with these additional fees (and not all of them will apply,) you will still find that hiring a mini-excavator is quite cost effective when compared to full-sized excavators.

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      Before you go, why not check out these other blogs on excavation equipment.

      Brit McDowell

      Lifestyle Specialist & Subject Matter Expert

      Brit McDowell is a Subject Matter Expert at Localsearch with a background in marketing, business and tourism management. Aside from her specialisation in technical processes, Brit is known for her green thumb and growing succulent collection, love of dogs (especially Dalmatians), eye for home interior and fervour for travel. Brit is also a Lifestyle Specialist on the Localsearch Blog and enjoys sharing her research and knowledge in home and gardening services, food, beauty and general lifestyle tips and tricks.