Mini diggers are time-saving pieces of equipment and many businesses find they’re cheaper than paying for additional manual labour.
Homeowners and DIYers may also want to hire a mini digger, but there are some pitfalls to be wary of, so keep reading.
This page is all about mini digger hire but the information provided also applies to micro diggers which are slightly smaller.
On this page, you’ll discover:
We hope you find our mini digger guide informative, don’t forget that you can locate our complete price guide here.
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The bigger the machine, the deeper you can dig but don’t forget that you may find it difficult to get a larger digger into a typical back garden.
Micro diggers are great for gardens and are around 800mm wide so perfect for getting through narrow alleyways. The average dig depth of these machines is around 1.5m – 2m. They typically weigh around 1 tonne.
Mini diggers are around 1m wide and usually dig down to a depth of 2m – 2.5m but due to their extra weight and engine size, can lift more weight. They typically weigh 1.5 tonnes.
Larger diggers – these range from 3 tonnes to 18 tonne monsters and can dig to a deeper level and can lift more weight but due to their size, they aren’t always practical for gardens. A typical 3 tonne digger will dig to a depth of 2.7m.
Have You Considered Hiring a Digger With an Operator Too?
If you’ve never used a digger before, it can take some time to get familiar with the machine, it isn’t technically challenging but the first few hours can be slow going until you get the hang of it.
One option you have is to hire a digger with an operator. This is the most efficient way to complete your project as the operator will have plenty of experience and they’ll be able to work much faster and complete the project in a fraction of the time.
A mini digger with an operator will set you back between £250 and £300 per day, the price varies upon location with the south of the UK being at the upper end of the scale.
Below is our guide to digger hire prices, these figures exclude insurance:
|Mini Digger (one day)||£125 inc VAT|
|Mini Digger (extra days)||£75 inc VAT|
|Mini Digger (one week hire)||£350 inc VAT|
|Delivery and Pickup||£10-£25|
|Theft and Public Liability Insurance||See below|
What’s Cheapest – A Local or National Hire Shop?
In general, local hire shops offer the best price but their stock might be limited and they may only have one delivery vehicle, so there’s less chance of getting the digger delivered at your preferred time.
National hire shops sometimes cost considerably more, a quick check on Hire Station reveals one week’s mini digger hire costs £455. These larger stores sometimes include insurance waivers and can deliver at preferable times. You’re also paying extra for the convenience, they have many outlets throughout the UK and you can hire online.
It’s always worth shopping around though:
Jewsons currently charge £530 for one week’s hire but they’re offering a 50% discount if it’s booked online. The total price for one week is, therefore, a very reasonable £264 inc VAT.
As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to get 3 quotes from larger national shops and 3 from local businesses.
Here’s 3 to get you started:
Some plant hire outlets will request a deposit before lending a digger. We’ve found that the average deposit is £350 but not every store requests a deposit. Regular or frequent customers who have a credit account may not need to pay the full deposit amount.
Some hire shops request nothing more than card details which they pre-authorize.
Other outlets rely on insurance policies that protect them from theft, damage and loss of earnings, so either don’t request a deposit or it’s only for a very small amount.
We suggest you ask about deposits when enquiring about prices, especially if you’re browsing online as the figures may be buried in the small print.
Insurance (this is a must read)
When you hire plant and machinery, you are responsible for any damage caused by the machine plus any damage to it and theft. This includes during transport if you tow the digger on a trailer.
Some plant hire shops will offer insurance policies that cover damage to or theft of the equipment during the hire period.
This isn’t compulsory as many tradespeople already have “hired in plant and machinery” cover included in their public liability insurance.
We suggest you read the policies carefully as they aren’t always what they first appear to be.
It’s important that you understand the different types of insurance:
Cover for damage to or theft of the machinery, including during transport. This cover might be offered in the form of a waiver.
Cover for damage caused to a third party by you whilst using the machinery.
This is complicated further by:
Cover for employees that use the machinery, either covering injury to them, damage to or theft of machinery and also damage to third parties.
Here Are Our Tips:
If you’re a tradesperson – check your existing public liability cover to see if it covers you and your employees for both damage caused when using hired machinery and any damage or to it or theft, including when transporting. Most policies can be upgraded at minimal cost and with one phone call.
If you aren’t a tradesperson, then things are a little more complicated:
If you’re a DIYer you may be able to add cover for hired in machinery to your home insurance, this usually covers damage to (called accident cover) or theft of the digger, you’ll need to ask whether this covers any damage to third parties (this is often sold as separate cover called “liability insurance”). This may not include “in transport” cover so you’ll need to check your vehicle insurance for that.
As a general rule of thumb, if you a DIYer and don’t have any existing policies in place, it can be cheaper to hire a digger with an operator as they should come with policies included that cover transporting the digger to site, damage/theft as well as liability cover to neighbouring properties and utilities etc.
If you really want to operate the digger yourself, then you may need to take out two separate policies. You won’t need “in transport cover” if you get the digger delivered.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I need a licence to drive a mini digger?
A: As long as the vehicle isn’t being driven on a public road then you don’t need a licence. If you intend to use it within a building site, you may be asked for proof of training or a certificate of competence.
Q: Do I need to be trained on how to use it?
A: The hire shop will explain how it works and give you a demonstration. This is sufficient for use on your own premises but if you intend to use it within a building site, you’ll probably need more specialist and in-depth training.
Q: What’s the minimum hire length?
A: 24 hours is often the shortest amount of time you can hire a digger, only a few some shops hire them out for a half a day. You may find that some places do not include a Sunday as a day, so if you hire on Saturday morning and bring the machine back on Monday morning, you’ll only be charged for one day.
Q: Who is responsible for punctures, damage, theft, tracks coming detached or getting help digging you out of a hole?
A: You are. Please double check that you have adequate insurance cover.
Q: What bucket sizes are available?
A: For smaller diggers, bucket sizes 12″, 24″ and 36″ are usually supplied, although different sizes may be available.
Q: Is insurance compulsory?
A: Some hire shops will demand that you have “hired in plant” insurance cover, some won’t. www.jcbinsurance.com is one of several insurers that specialise in plant hire cover.