We have put together 8 things to consider when hiring a mini digger. These are possibly all aspects of a job you need to think about anyway, so when dealing with the project management of a small construction job, it is always worth taking these into account:

  1. Are there any utility services in the area to be excavated?
  2. How deep do I need to dig?
  3. What is the condition of the area to be excavated?
  4. What do I intend to do with the excavated material?
  5. Are there any access or work area restrictions?
  6. How long is the project likely to take?
  7. How much will the hire cost?
  8. Will I need insurance?

mini-diggers1) Are there any utility services in the area to be excavated?

When planning any work involving digging, remember that fibre optic communication cables, gas pipes, power cables, water pipes and sewers all run underground – and may be right in the path of your project. It’s vital for safety and ongoing maintenance that these services are located at the planning stage of your project to avoid any nasty or costly surprises during the digging phase. Tools such as cable detectors should be used and ensure you check with the utility companies before you start work.

2) How deep do I need to dig?

How deep you need to dig is governed mostly by what you are actually trying to achieve. If you are trying to level a garden or prepare footings for a conservatory your digging needs will be very different to someone building a basement extension or a swimming pool with an eight foot deep end.

Our fleet of mini excavators cater for a range of maximum digging depths from 1800mm achieved by our micro diggers to a deep 4675mm reached by our 8 tonne midis.

Bucket sizes and digging widths need to be considered. For example, if you need to dig a trench which only requires a 6″ (150mm) cut you’ll need a digger of no more than 3 tonne because any larger than this the bucket linkage or quickhitch is too wide to accommodate such a small bucket.

3) What is the ground condition of the area to be excavated?

When hiring a digger it’s important to know what ground conditions you are going to tackle. For example, if the ground is very soft you will need to dig deeper footings than if it were very firm and therefore the digging depth may dictate that a larger digger with greater digging depth is required.

If the ground is very, very hard or the soil is heavy and sticky with clay you may find that you need a 3 tonne mini excavator with a typical bucket digging force of 22kN instead of a 1.5 tonne digger at approximately 16kN.

Also, if you need to break up and remove any surface material such as tarmac or concrete you may find that you’ll need to consider hiring a breaker (hydraulic hammer) attachment.

mini-diggers14) What do I intend to do with the excavated material?

Digging holes displaces the soil (or other materials) and it all needs to go somewhere. You may find that you can place the dug material somewhere else on your site. This can be particularly easy when landscaping, but not always possible or desired on other projects or small plots. Perhaps you can manage with just a waste skip or perhaps you would find it much quicker and easier by hiring a skiploading dumper or better still mini tracked dumper. Both machines can be loaded by the digger with about a tonne of material at a time and then can empty directly into a skip.

5) Are there any access or work area restrictions?

Size matters, or at least it certainly does sometimes! Check the access to your project. How much room do you have available within the work area? Are there any height restrictions? If you need to gain access to the rear of an existing property it maybe that your only option is the micro digger with it’s retracted tracks width of only 710mm. Also, give some thought to the road system surrounding the project, too. If the route to you is via a winding single track or your project is directly opposite a school or road works it is useful to pass on this information at the time of booking your hire in order to avoid transport delays.

6) How long is the project likely to take?

When you book your hire you will be asked how long you want to hire the mini digger for. This only needs to be an estimate as we never collect machines from site automatically, but obviously the longer you keep it the more it will cost. It’s a good idea to plan all the elements of your project that require the use of the mini excavator to be done within one time frame. However, it’s not often possible to achieve this, so it’s important to weigh up the difference in costs between sending the machine away to hire it again when it’s needed and keeping it tucked away on site for a day or two until it’s required again.

The weather – now there’s an unknown quantity! Bear in mind that rain, frost and snow will delay your project considerably.

7) How much will the hire cost?

You can hire mini diggers from Kelsey Plant Hire for anything from one day to three months. The hire rates vary depending on the size or type of digger. A single day’s hire will cost 50% of the full hire rate, two day’s hire (or a weekend) costs 75% of the full hire rate. For a 3 day hire the cost is 100%, and then from this, if you need to, you can continue the hire to a total of seven days at no extra charge. Every day that a mini excavator remains on hire beyond a full seven days will then cost you just 20% per working day.

It’s important to remember that we won’t end the hire and collect our digger automatically as you may still be using it. So all we will need you to do is give us a call on the same day that you are finished with it and we will calculate your charges up to that point.

8) Will I need insurance?

The short answer is yes. If you are a business customer the chances are that you have you own ‘Hired-in plant’ insurance already, but if you haven’t your broker can easily add it to your ‘Contractor’s’ policy. If you hire plant machinery regularly this won’t cost you very much but could protect you from nasty costly, surprises should anything go wrong.

If you don’t have your own insurance don’t worry because Kelsey Plant Hire will provide you with a Loss/Damage Waiver to protect you from any losses. Costing just 15% of the hire charges the waiver is very quick and easy to set up and can remain in place to cover you for all your future hires.