When Does an Excavator Rental Make Sense?


Excavators are an essential part of the job site that come in a few different sizes. Contractors and companies could get a mini excavator, a standard excavator, or even a large excavator. While essential, contractors might not necessarily want to buy them. Since they come in varying sizes, it could be more beneficial to rent excavators rather than buy them depending on what the consumer typically uses them for.

Excavators can be used in many different settings and have a variety of attachments that help make them multipurpose machines useful for just about any job. While they are a very desirable piece of equipment, there are a few things that should be considered when contemplating buying or renting an excavator.

Who Uses Excavators?

While excavators are versatile machines, not all contractors or companies need to own one. Some of the main users of excavators are those working on road and building construction, mining, and demolition. Contractors might find themselves in need of one even though they typically never need one. This is when renting can truly come in handy.

Nearly anyone could use an excavator due to the machine’s assortment of sizes and attachments offered, but they are not always a necessity on every job site. That being said, contractors might be able to rule out purchasing one for long-term usage simply by renting on occasion.

The following information can be used to decide whether buying or renting makes the most sense for each unique situation.

Types of Jobs

Excavators are multifunctional and can be used for all kinds of jobs ranging from digging and demolition to forestry and tunneling. Certain excavators can even work in water which then opens a door to doing some underwater operations.

Some cities will even use mini excavators for snow removal purposes. In this case, if the city only gets a little snow a couple of months out of the year, then renting an excavator during this time might be the best option. If the city gets frequent snow in large amounts, it could be a better investment for the city to own one, but in most cases, a city might want to simply rent an excavator for a few days or maybe a few months to do this kind of job — it depends on the demand for large amounts of snow removal. Since buying these machines costs a hefty amount, renting tends to be a better way to spend money on them. In this kind of situation, it comes down to need.

Since some excavators can also work in water, more contractors will likely find value in having one. The thing is, if the contractor doesn’t always need to do underwater operations, owning a water-equipped excavator is not the best option for them and they would instead be better off renting this kind of excavator as needed.

excavator rental

Amount of Use Needed

Not every construction job needs an excavator for long. While some jobs might need an excavator for most of the work duration, others might only need it for a few days, weeks, or months. While months can seem like a considerably long time, it might not be worth it to buy an excavator. Buying an excavator usually ranges anywhere from $3,000 to $130,000. The prices can also be higher or lower depending on brand, model, size, age, if it’s used or new, and who is selling it. The more expensive ones are going to be the larger-sized ones while mini excavators will be generally more affordable.

When it comes to renting an excavator, the prices usually range quite a bit and go by different pay periods. Ranges typically look something like this:

  • $350 to $1,600 per day
  • $1,250 to $5,000 per week
  • $3,000 to $15,000 per month

Smaller machines will cost less than standard and large-sized ones. Depending on how long the excavator is needed, renting might be a better option than buying. Typically, the longer the equipment is being rented, the better the deal. But, if a contractor only needs an excavator for a day, there is no point in purchasing one so it is still a much better deal just to pay the day fee rather than the large expense required to own an entire excavator.

To Rent or Buy

When it comes down to it, there are a lot of things to consider when wanting to use an excavator. If the time frame is short, renting is usually the way to go. If it’s an extended period of time, renting is also a good option, yet buying should be considered. If the contractor or company looking to get an excavator doesn’t usually need to use an excavator, then just renting one should be thoroughly acknowledged. On the other hand, if they often find themselves using excavators for projects, purchasing and owning an excavator is the more plausible outcome.

Excavators are very useful machines, but not everyone needs to own one. Considering all of the factors that go into why someone would be using one and how long they would need it makes for a smoother decision-making process.

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