Stuck on whether you need a mini excavator for your job or not? When considering hiring an excavator, it’s important to understand what they do and are best suited for. Most mini (or compact) excavators are either tracked or wheeled and come in weight ranges of 0.7 to 8.5 tonnes.
Some factors to consider before deciding on a mini excavator include location, operator capability, worksite conditions (e.g. size/access/ground composition), the scope of the project and special considerations in terms of spatial awareness. Also consider:
1. What are mini excavators used for?
Whether it’s for personal or company use, mini excavators are excellent machines if you don’t require a full-sized digger to get the job done. Their size makes them extremely versatile, typically used for small and medium-sized jobs on private property. They can also be used alongside full-size excavators if you need that extra bit of precision and accessibility on larger work sites.
They’re used for a range of jobs including:
- Demolishing small structures, concrete, sheds, steel and asphalt
- Digging holes, ponds, irrigation ditches and foundations
- Creating utility trenches and drainage trenches
- Repairing sewer lines
- Flattening landscapes and removing tree stumps
- Drilling and backfilling
- Snow ploughing
2. What are the benefits of mini excavators?
Using a mini excavator comes with many benefits. Their versatility makes them applicable to tackle any job or work task, considering they also have the option to attach or change parts. Commonly grouped into digging and demolition, other popular attachments consist of excavators, digging & sieve buckets, hydraulic grabs, compactor plates, compaction wheels, rippers, augers and hammers. In addition to not only being small, versatile and able to easily access tight sites, mini diggers can also help with precision work on large worksites.
Other benefits include:
- Ease of transportation (you can easily pop one on a trailer or pickup bed and go)
- Less noise pollution (they are much quieter than most heavy-duty equipment making them ideal for residential areas)
- Less wear & tear on surrounding surfaces and structures
- Reduced carbon footprint (these machines use and require less power)
- The simplicity of training (easy to learn and operate)
3. Who can operate mini excavators?
Mini excavators are fairly practical machines that are easy to use; however, you or your operator must have the relevant training on how to operate them.
4. Do you need a licence to operate mini excavators?
For non-commercial use on private property, you will not need a certification or licence to operate a mini excavator. Generally, if you haven’t used a mini excavator before, your supplier will provide a trained professional to debrief you on safety and how to operate the machine. Our equipment hire companies will let you know prior to hiring what is required for your specific job. Learn more about what licence type you require to operate a mini excavator.
5. What do I need to know before closing the deal?
After choosing your supplier, detailing your specific job type and finding the right machine, it’s important to check with your hiring agency about other factors that may impact the hiring process.
Some areas to touch on are:
- Fuel – most excavators require diesel fuel, asking your supplier where to get the right fuel gives you a heads-up to check if your local gas station or stations near your worksite can supply this.
- Tarp – this can be a legal requirement in some states and checking with your supplier if your machinery requires a tarp (especially long term) will help the machinery stay protected and out of the eye of vandals.
- Deadlines – outlining deadlines with your supplier help you maintain efficient work progress and avoid any extra costs you might incur in the future from delays or any other issues that may arise.
- Attachments – Discussing attachments prior to the job makes the process of hiring excavators more streamlined and hassle-free. Knowing what is required beforehand, reduces the likeliness to run into unexpected additional costs and ensures all aspects of the job are covered and planned for properly.