mini digger

Reducing The Cost Of Hiring a Mini Digger

The mini digger hire rates will usually be calculated as a daily rate or a weekly rate. If you wish to hire the digger for longer than a week it is worthwhile informing the sales staff before the hire commences as a special discount rate may be applicable and which can be negotiated between you and the shop staff. The figures shown in the table below indicates a typical amount that will usually cost to hire a mini digger per day:

Hire rate for 5 tonne mini digger Duration
£60 to £100 1 day
£105 to £180 2 days
£150 to £280 3 days
£350 to £450 1 week

You will notice that the cost for two days together is slightly less than the cost of two separate days. Similarly with the other durations too. This method of pricing is designed to encourage you to rent for slightly more than you think you will need. This isn’t just for the advantage of the rental business, it is also to your advantage. If you are unsure as to how long your project will take, always decide to have an extra day, this is far better than to send the machine back and then hire it for an extra day. It will save on delivery costs too.

If you are planning a project that involves moving a lot of soil, you probably aren’t looking forward to all that digging. Such projects can include:

  • Building an extension with foundations.
  • Digging a pond.
  • Landscaping a garden.
  • Building a retaining wall in the garden.

All you have to do is look through the local tool hire shop’s catalogue and choose one that will really speed up the work. Although mini diggers are an incredibly useful piece of equipment to have on a project, you should stop and consider the pros and cons of digging machine rental. Before you pay out your hard earned money on hiring a digger you should consider a few points you probably didn’t think of so let’s explore a few considerations.

Mini Digger Hire Prices

Although a mini digger on your project may seem a very attractive proposition, mini digger hire rates are not as cheap as you might initially think.  Although there are some very reasonable hire rates depending on where you look, it is the deposit that generally puts people off. The piece of kit you are asking to take home and use without any practice at all is a very expensive item and it makes sense that the hire company doesn’t want to lose either their expensive capital asset or the digger’s potential earnings in the future. For this reason, a self-drive DIY mini digger will most likely have a really steep cash deposit you will have to pay before you take it home. The deposit will usually be in the form of a refundable credit or debit card transaction, which you will have returned after you bring back the digger in one piece, minus the rental cost and any delivery charges of course. A typical deposit charge will be of the order of £750 to £1000 depending on the size of the machine. Because such a hefty sum is requested, many people are discouraged from renting one.

Another question to ask yourself is whether you need a small or large digger. It can be tempting to hire a big one, especially if you have a lot of soil moving to do, however, this can sometimes be a false economy. Usually, smaller diggers are cheaper to hire than larger ones. Similarly, the delivery charges and the amount of fuel the smaller ones need will be correspondingly less as well. You also have the problem of manoeuvring the digger on site. Most domestic earth moving jobs take place in a garden, whether you are landscaping or digging foundation trenches, you will always have the problem of not enough room to swing the bucket. In cases like this, it is always better to choose a smaller machine. Perhaps something like a 1.5-tonne machine rather than a 5-tonne machine will be the best one to use.

DIY Mini Digger Delivery

Let’s just assume for the minute that you have £1000 you can put down as a deposit and you can afford to wait for up to 5 days after returning the digger to get your refund put back in your account. What next?

Firstly, you won’t be able to lift the machine in the back of your car or put it in your small general purpose trailer. It is a very heavy item and needs its own purpose made trailer. The hire shop will have one and will insist on delivering it to your home (or wherever the project is happening). They will obviously charge for this and the delivery charge will depend on how far your project is from the shop.

It is essential that when phoning around to find out if a certain hire shop has the digger you want, you ask about delivery charges and any other extras that you may not have thought about. Delivery charges will usually be calculated per ten miles and will increase on a sliding scale up to a maximum of perhaps about £60. An average indicative figure for anywhere up to 10 miles will be about £30. For ease of calculation, the hire shop will either calculate the amount based on a distance in a straight line from the shop or will have a list showing all the towns and villages in the area and the appropriate costs. Always try to minimise the delivery charges by initially asking hire shops near where you are working if they have the equipment you require.

Fuel Required

Fuel is an important extra that must be considered when hiring a mini digger. Always ask what type of fuel is used but generally, equipment of this type will use diesel oil as a fuel. The digger will arrive at your project already filled with fuel. It is up to you to replace the fuel you have used before returning the digger. If you forget or if it is too much trouble, the hire shop will charge extra to cover their time and the cost of the fuel. It will always be cheaper if you remember to refill the fuel tank before returning the equipment as they will always charge a premium rate.

Another extra charge to consider is in what condition are you returning the digger? If possible, wash off as much mud and dirt as you can before returning it to the hire shop. They will charge for any damage you have done as well.

Driver Hire Prices

Hiring a contractor can often save you money. Yes, it is fun to drive a mini digger around your garden but they are actually harder to operate safely than you might expect. It can take a lot of practice and waste a lot of time trying to use the digger correctly and you might end up wasting half a day or so, just learning how to operate it. Then again, to hire a digger and driver means that he knows his machine back to front; knows its capabilities and limitations, but most of all he has been trained to use the machine and knows the short cuts he can take to get the best out of the machine. Not only that but having someone working on the project that knows something about earth moving can work out very useful and you will probably learn a lot from him.

The mini digger and driver hire cost will obviously be more than just hiring the machine as you will have to pay for the driver’s time. Bear in mind though that he will be skilled in using the machine and it will probably take him far less time to do the job than if you were going to do it yourself.

Mini digger and driver hire prices can vary considerably depending on who you choose to do the job. Usually, the driver owns the digger as well so he will often have some leeway for altering hire rates depending if he needs the work or not. Also, you will find that digger and driver rates vary depending on the average wage in whichever part of the country you live. As always,  London will be more expensive than elsewhere.

Reverting To A Shovel

If you are fit and strong and have some time on your hands or know someone who could do with earning some pocket money as a part-time labourer, then forget about using a digger and resort to using a spade and shovel. Of course, there will be some jobs where it is almost impossible to dig by hand, such as a large and deep excavation, or if time is an issue, but if you decide to dig the hole by hand then you can save yourself many hundreds of pounds and keep fit at the same time.

Additional Information

As with all machines and operations with which we are unfamiliar, ‘practice makes perfect’. If you really are unsure and need help then follow these simple steps:

  • If you aren’t sure where to hire a mini digger. Look online for local tool hire shops or look in the telephone Yellow Pages. Make a list with the nearest shop at the top, getting further away as you work down the list.
  • Before agreeing to hire the digger, ask the prices per day, per three days and per week. Also, ask if hire periods of more than a week attract a larger discount. Compare the prices of all the rental shops and phone back to the one you choose.
  • Ask about delivery charges, deposit and any extra charges.
  • Make sure you have sufficient access to the place where the excavation will take place.
  • Do you need to remove any fence panels around the garden to allow access?
  • Make sure there is room to store or remove the soil while the work is taking place. A skip will be useful for this but remember that the skip truck will need access too.
  • If you need help learning how to use a mini digger, you must ask the hire shop personnel on how to operate the machine. They will probably have an information sheet describing the use of the controls and how to do basic maintenance such as checking the fuel level.
  • Look on YouTube for tutorials on how to use a mini digger. There will be useful tips on how to backfill efficiently to name but one operation.

To Finish

Make your final decision based on price, access and your ability to learn how to drive a digger. If you cannot tick all of these boxes, you should use a shovel. Remember that any damage to the machine must be paid for. Even if you have insurance you will still have to pay an excess before the insurance payout kicks in.

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