Need a mini digger for a private or residential job and want to know how much you'll pay by the hour?
In most big cities, you can throw a stone and hit a mini excavator. Everyone’s got one for hire - if you call enough people you’ll find one in a mate’s back yard. Because they are so prolific, they can be easy to find on really competitive rates on both wet and dry hire options. We’ve canvassed a tonne of large & small national suppliers of mini excavators for hire and collated their rates to find an average of what you are likely to pay and what the additional ‘on-costs’ could be.
What are typical mini digger / mini excavator hire rates?
|Mini Excavator Size||Dry Hire Rates||Wet Hire Rates|
|1-2 Tonne Mini Excavator||$30 + GST per hour||$110 + GST per hour|
|3-4 Tonne Mini Excavator||$50 + GST per hour||$120 + GST per hour|
Mini Excavator Dry Hire Price Breakdown
If you’re hiring a mini excavator, then you are usually in the market to rent an excavator that is smaller than about 5 tonnes in overall tare weight. Mini diggers are used across many construction sites - but are most prolific in residential jobs because of their tight-access abilities. Most residential jobs at a person’s home can be done sufficiently with a mini excavator. A mini excavator can be hired very affordably on dry hire. Even in residential jobs, it's rare that a plant hire company will hire you a machine on a dry hire basis for less than a day, because of the time and effort it takes to mobilise that machine to site. Below I’ve explored more of the hire term issues.
Mini Excavator Wet Hire Price Breakdown
There are a lot of locally based plant hire companies in every major city and town in Australia that will book a mini excavator with operator on your site for competitive rates - but minimum hours apply because of the stringent laws around the operator themselves. Most plant hire companies won’t allow the hire of a mini excavator with an operator for less than 3 hours, plus one hour travelling time - as they are required to hire the operator on a casual basis for a minimum of 3 hours to be compliant with employment law. As such - even if your job might only take 1 hour - you will likely be paying for 4. Some plant hire companies also won’t hire out just a mini excavator - most mini excavators come in a ‘mini excavator and truck combo’ - which means they are sent together and used to excavate, then remove materials from a site. This is a really common configuration amongst wet hire companies (and useful for the customer too).
Mini Excavator and Mini Digger Hire: Average Day Hire Rates
- Mini Excavator (1-3 tonne) without operator standard day rate - Dry Hire: $505 - $660 + GST (ex. additional travel, float and fuel surcharges)
- Mini Excavator (1-3 tonne) with operator standard day rate - Wet Hire: $960 - $1320 + GST (ex. additional travel, float and fuel surcharges)
It's a very common practice for some plant hire companies to put their foot down around the minimum terms they will hire a mini excavator on - and because of that, some only quote mini digger hire rates on a daily rate basis. Moreover, even if they do make representations on their website that they will hire on a ‘daily basis’ - you’ll call them to enquire and they’ll often knock you back if your term is too short, because they would prefer to keep the mini excavator unutilised in the hope a longer term will come along. So you can end up calling a bunch of people and getting nowhere (if you need help getting rates from suppliers for mini excavators - click here and we can help). If you are looking for a mini excavator to hire for a short-term, then your best bet is one of the larger dry or wet hire companies who have the systems and processes in place to be able to handle these shorter terms. That said, if an owner-operator needs the work bad enough, then he’ll usually agree to take on your smaller job.
Mini Digger & Excavator Hire Rates - Standard Extra Fees and Charges
You can expect some additional charges when hiring a mini excavator - so you can’t just simply multiply the time required by the hourly rate of the hire. You can sometimes be stung for a range of additional expenses - before you pick up the machine, and after you’ve returned it. Here are some usual contract stipulations:
- Fuel Surcharge: 10% fuel surcharge (10% added to the agreed hourly rate) if you are hiring on dry hire basis or wet hire in some cases where fuel isn’t included in the wet hire hourly rate
- Penalty Rates: Depending on when your job needs to be undertaken, you can expect penalty rates to apply to the operator of the machine, from 1.5 times the standard rate to as much as 2.5 times. Penalty rates apply to weekends after midday on Saturday, Sunday, Public Holidays, Night Work, and if you need the operator for shifts that are atypically long, or close together.
- Tip Fees: If you need to dump spoil, material or remove any dirt from your site with a mini excavator you’ve hired, then you will likely have to pay the ‘tip fees’ that are charged directly to the plant hire company from the local tips or quarries where they dispose of your material. Tip fees also usually attract a 15% markup - plus you’ll be paying for the truck, and the drivers time to take the material there and return to your site, or depot.
- Mini Excavator Attachments: if you need any special attachments to undertake your job - such as rock breaker, ripper, broom, compaction wheels, post-hole diggers - these can hired with the machine for anywhere from $20 - $40 per hour (depending on the attachment)
- Ground Engaging Tools - Wear and Tear: if you return the mini excavator to it’s owner in rough shape, and more than what is reasonable from digging standard materials within the appropriate buckets, grabs and other ground-engaging tools capacity, then they will likely charge you to fully replace those items (which aren’t cheap). So you need to be really clear about what rock you are trying to move and ensure you are paying for the correct excavator attachment hire that can undertake the job safely.
- Security Charges: if the mini excavator you’ve hired is on your site for more than one day, and the machine can’t be parked on your site securely, then you often have to pay for an overnight security guard to tend to the machine to ensure it won’t be stolen (believe me, this happens ALL THE TIME).
Mini Excavator Hire Minimum Hours: National Averages
If you want to hire a Mini Excavator or digger on dry hire - then most plant hire companies will charge the following minimums:
- Mini Excavator (1-3 Tonne) Dry Hire Minimum Hours: 4 Hours (if you pick up)
- Mini Excavator (1-3 Tonne) Dry Hire Hire Minimum Hours: 1 Day (if delivered)
- Mini Excavator (1-3 Tonne) With Operator Wet Hire Minimum Hours: 3 Hours + 1 Hour Travel
Mini Excavator & Digger Hire: Delivery and Float Costs
Depending on the hire contract you’ve entered into with your plant hire supplier, then, the following float costs may apply to your booking:
- Mini Excavator (1-3 Tonne) Hire Float Cost - National Average: Flat $250 - $270 and includes drop off and pick up
- Mini Excavator (1-3 Tonne) Hire Travel Time - Cost of Time for Operator: 1 hour to site (is standard), 1 hour home (sometimes charged, sometimes not).
How to get the best mini-excavator hire rates
iSeekplant specialises in getting quotes for people looking for machinery. Click here to use iSeekplant's Get Rates tool and we will get you the best quote for your job, completely free of charge!
Learn more about what you should be paying from our comprehensive machine hire rates guide.