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What to know when hiring an excavator


Posted by Monica Gameng

Hiring a suitable excavator can be tough. From sourcing the right machine, to evaluating the right skills of the operator, finding the perfect supplier can take ages. PlantMiner and Solution Plant Hire, want to make finding your ideal excavator and/or operator a little bit easier with tips to ask prospective suppliers, and what to look for in their answers. 

What is an excavator?

Excavators, also known as diggers, are one of the most popular types of equipment utilised in both the mining and construction industry. These versatile pieces of machinery consist of a boom, bucket, dipper, and cab which sits on a rotating platform. The platform is mounted on an undercarriage with either wheels or tracks. Excavators come in various types and sizes, and each excavator can be utilised on different kinds of job sites.


What licenses or certificates does someone need to operate an excavator?

A Verification of Competency (VOC) is needed as well as standard excavation licenses before operating an excavator. If you're interested in licenses requirements for other machines too, check out this free eBook we put together on certifications and licenses in civil construction. 

How do I find the right excavator for the job? 

If you need to hire an excavator but you’re not sure what kind or size you need, an experienced plant hire team will be able to talk through the job parameters with you and recommend the most suitable machine. 

You should explain the following factors which affect the type of machine you need, including: 

  • Location
  • Space for the machine
  • Site access
  • Ground composition
  • The work which needs to be conducted, including what needs to be moved, excavated and other requirements
  • Other equipment on site and how the excavator can assist
  • Forward planning – how will the site look once everything is in place, what gear will they still require on site and whether, further into the projects, there will be any access issues
  • Depth in which the customer may need to dig
  • How much of an area is being worked on (e.g. a large excavation job would not use a small 1.7 tonne excavator)

If it's a very particular sort of job, you can also reach out to suppliers who you are requesting rates from to see if they can arrange a site visit.  Take Solution Plant Hire. With branches in Sydney and Newcastle & Central Coast, this earthmoving equipment and attachment company prides itself on providing a specialist team, and happily sends out a team member out to site to help clients make the right excavator hire decision. 


How to hire and find your next excavator supplier?

As there are a lot of factors that affect pricing (such as size, attachments, etc), we asked Solution Plant Hire’s Marketing Manager Rebecca Chappel to explain how people could better understand what they should look for when choosing the right excavator and supplier for their job.

Rebecca's advice is simple:

“Look at the full scope of works. Don’t always go in for the smallest option to save short term money. Always get the largest machine possible that will work for your site. In the long run, you will save time, increase productivity and money.”

Aside from the size of the excavator you will be hiring, there are other factors that affect pricing, which you can read up on our free eBook – 7 factors affecting plant hire rates.

What other tips can you share for excavator hirers? Comment them below.

After determining which type of excavator you need for the job, it's time to choose between wet hire (hiring an equipment with an operator) or dry hire (hiring an equipment without an operator). Check out the eBook below which highlights and compares the pros and cons of both wet and dry hire.

wet and dry hire infograph

Monica Gameng

Monica Gameng

As PlantMiner's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1000 posts. She truly is an industry expert. Monica's passion for educating and inspiring readers saw the PlantMiner blog recognised by Feedspot as one of the Best Australian Construction Blogs in 2018 and 2019. PlantMiner is Australia's largest online construction marketplace. Sign up as a vendor to find and engage with civil and commercial contractors across Australia. Alternatively, if you're looking for plant and equipment you can compare equipment and subcontractor quotes from vendors near you in just a few steps.