Digger Hire

Digger hire is vital in the construction industry especially when set against the substantial cost of purchasing expensive plant that may sit idle for much of the time

Before you hire a digger its essential to know what type of machine will be required as well as some of the pitfalls. This obviously depends on the job in hand.

Micro digger hire and mini digger hire are very common as these compact vehicles are ideal for smaller digging jobs. Whats more anyone can hire these vehicles weighing up to 1.5 tonnes without a digger drivers licence, provided that they are used only on private land.

Diggers and excavators can be hired by the day, weekend, week or for longer periods. For residential use it is often the case that extremely good hire rates are offered by hire companies for weekends since they are less likely to be required for commercial use at that time.

Before hiring a digger it pays to read the small print of the rental agreement’s terms and conditions.

In order to compare costs its important to know whether VAT is included in the hire rate and if an extra charge is made for delivery.

Commonly a cleaning charge will be payable if the digger or excavator is returned ‘dirty’, meaning in a less clean condition than when it was initially hired.

The hirer will be responsible for maintaining the digger in good working order. This means ensuring that sufficient diesel, water and grease levels are maintained. More grease will be required in wet or particularly arduous conditions.

Reasonable wear and tear will be acceptable, but confirm whether the hirer is responsible for damages and repairs and to which parts of the digger. Punctures and hoses may be down to the hirer, other more involved breakdowns may be the responsibility of the digger hire company.

When hiring a digger it is important to remember that the insurance cover for the machine may well be down to you as the hirer. Similarly, insurance cover for accidents to the machine, property or yourself will most likely be down to the operator. Check with the digger hire company whether insurance is included in the rental contract or can be added.

Diggers are high value items and, though they will almost certainly be fitted with good specification immobilisers, and even if they can be stored overnight in locked premises, they should be insured. If the hire company does not offer insurance, then it is not unusual to add the digger to your house insurance, though a premium will have to be paid for this. To arrange this type of insurance you will require the make, model and serial number of the vehicle as well as the dates of the hire period.

It is perfectly possible for a private individual to hire a micro digger or mini digger up to 1.5 tonnes without any prior experience of operating these types of vehicle. The hire company will usually arrange a brief lesson on how to operate the digger, normally provided by the driver of the loading vehicle on which the digger is delivered. For example, the 1.5 tonne JCB mini digger hire operator will find just four levers in the cab; two levers for the front bucket, one for forward and one for reverse. Track driven mini excavators such as the JCB 0.8t or 1.5t units are ideal for hiring to use in confined areas such as driveways or gardens. These diggers can be hired with a range of buckets for ditching and grading etc.

Although in principle a brief lesson is sufficient to learn the basics of these smaller machines, and obviously saves on the cost of hiring the digger with a driver, clearly great care must be taken in practice to ensure the safety of the hirer and anyone assisting with the job. It is strongly advisable to attend an appropriate training course provided by an accredited training provider prior to hiring any digger with which you are unfamiliar.

When considering the larger machines, such as excavator hire or backhoe loader hire, it is necessary to have a driver with the appropriate licence and experience to drive such vehicles. This may be the hirer himself or else the possibility of digger and driver hire can entertained. Small or large contract owner operators can alternatively be engaged instead of a digger hire company. Clearly, in this latter case you get the expertise of the driver as well as just the hired digger. Bear in mind that a hire digger is of limited use in the hands of an unskilled operator.

And finally, when it comes to digger hire always remember, safety first!