• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Mike Haasl
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Dave Burton
  • Joseph Lofthouse
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Ash Jackson
  • Kate Downham

Is a "mini-excavator" good enough? What would be a fair rental price?

 
Posts: 483
16
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My wife & I are considering renting a min-excavator in order to rip out some bushes and stumps that are in the way of future plans; and I was wondering if I could reasonablely make a full sized huglecultre using a "mini".  At first glance, it seems like it should be enough to get the job done; but does anyone have any experience with these little machines?  Also, the quote that I got was $1200 for one week's rental.  Is that consistent with the experience of others?
 
gardener
Posts: 1946
Location: Zone 7b/8a Temperate Humid Subtropical, Eastern NC, US
737
forest garden fish fungi trees foraging earthworks food preservation cooking bee woodworking homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've been looking recently also to rent one possibly in the future to do similar things, and from what I've seen, they can do the job.

I liked this video of a pretty small excavator digging up a good sized stump.

They rent for about half that price here, but I bet a lot depends on location.

 
pollinator
Posts: 1383
Location: Bendigo , Australia
88
dog gear plumbing earthworks bee building homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
At that cost, you may find an experienced operator with bigger equipment can do the job in less time for similar cost.
 
pollinator
Posts: 280
Location: Beavercreek, OR
67
dog bike woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not sure what the industry considers a "mini" vs just a "small" or "compact" excavator.  My local rental place has the baby bear starting at $1,000/wk, with the mamma bear version at $1140 and the papa bear at $1500.  All are easily trailerable with a significant trailer and truck.

Do be sure your trailer and truck can pull it - if not be sure to budget the price of delivery and pickup.

In terms of "can it do it" - why yes, it can.  I'm building a giant hugel now with my little 21hp backhoe (https://permies.com/t/146711/Building-hugel-Pond) and I know it would be faster with a tracked excavator.  I've also seen significant earthworks made with small excavators.

There is, as John poses, the question of "should you do it?" and ... that's up to you.  A week seems like a long time to pull up some stumps and bushes, but building a hugel involves a lot of in-between time as you have to stage the logs, place the logs, compact the dirt - and I wouldn't want to pay someone to sit around while that goes on.  And I wouldn't want to rush making the hugel either!
 
gardener
Posts: 1816
Location: southern Illinois.
414
composting toilet food preservation homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I tend to agree with John. While much depends upon your location, I find hiring someone with the right equipment normally beats a rental. But, for me, the nearest rental site in 30 miles away.  That is 60 miles round trip to pick it up and 60 miles round trip to drop it off. Couple this with the operator being 3 miles away and experienced, and the decision is pretty obvious.
 
Posts: 101
Location: California Zone 10b / Wyoming Zone 3b
6
building woodworking homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The place we rent from, sometimes the big excavator works out being much cheaper, even after accounting for the delivery  fee.  The charge a premium for the small ones since there is so much demand but the big one might get left on the property for days and you just get charged by the machine hour.
 
pollinator
Posts: 689
Location: NW California, 1500-1800ft,
132
hugelkultur dog duck
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
1200$/week would be a good deal in my area for the small-medium sized bobcat excavator (15,000 lbs). I would however not bother pulling a stump if I were simply going to use it for a hugel in that same spot. I'd just use it as the base of the hugel, or as part of a larger one. If you plan to do something else there and have the time and cash, the excavator I describe could do the job easily in much less than a week, so I may consider how I'd use the rest of that time on ponds, more hugels, swales, woody debris filled trenches, etc.
 
Creighton Samuels
Posts: 483
16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Alex Arn wrote:The place we rent from, sometimes the big excavator works out being much cheaper, even after accounting for the delivery  fee.  The charge a premium for the small ones since there is so much demand but the big one might get left on the property for days and you just get charged by the machine hour.



Good to know!
 
gardener
Posts: 3227
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
1176
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think a lot depends on the type of soil you have. We tend to have heavy clay with a lot of rocks - some very large rocks I might say. I would want a bigger machine for that reason. However, the bucket size also differs between excavators and you may be able to specify. A smaller bucket might disturb the surrounding soil less if that's preferred.

We have a small tractor with a wide bucket on the front and a small back hoe that works off the hydraulics at the back. We've got the front bucket to move the big rocks out of the way once they're on the surface, and to move the stump as well, but the back hoe does the shoveling.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2402
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
361
kids duck forest garden chicken pig bee greening the desert homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I own a mini excavator and it could probably do the job. It's dug some mighty big holes.
 
Posts: 819
24
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
are you talking about a machine that is 8000lbs or 16000lbs
 
Creighton Samuels
Posts: 483
16
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As a follow-up to this thread, I did end up renting a mini-excavator.  And it was truly tiny; it didn't have a cab, but only a roll bar. It's max dig depth was only about 6 feet, but it was able to do most of what I wanted to do during a two day rental.  My wife wouldn't let me build the huglecultre out of the old bushes anyway.  She wants me to burn them instead.  Sometimes, her resistance to my permie ideas make me sad.

I have no photos or videos to share, because I was either on the machine or sleeping the entire time; trying to get as much done without incurring an extra day's rent.  It ended up costing me about $750 for two days.  I'm exhausted.
 
Enjoy the full beauty of the english language. Embedded in this tiny ad:
100th Issue of Permaculture Magazine - now FREE for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/45/pmag
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic