Guide to Finding and Hiring the Right Excavating Contractors

When it comes to finding and hiring suitable excavating contractors, there are plenty of factors to consider.

The task could get overwhelming. However, this is one part of the construction project that you definitely should put plenty of thought, deliberation, and consideration into.

From sourcing the right excavation machinery and equipment to assessing the skills of the operators to distinguishing the ideal suppliers can take a long time to complete. On top of that, you have the project timeline, budget, and safety guidelines to keep in mind.

Daunting but Doable

While hiring an excavator can be daunting, mainly if you don’t do it regularly, it’s definitely doable.

As long as you are sensible, do your homework, and are patient, you should be able to succeed in this task.

Hiring excavating contractors is daunting, but it's certainly not impossible.

In today’s post, we want to help the process of finding and employing excavating contractors a little bit easier. We’ve prepared some tips on what to ask prospective contractors, as well as what to look for in their responses.

When Do You Need an Excavator?

You need to hire this type of contractor typically when you need to have something dug up, demolished, removed, or filled in pertaining to a construction project. That’s the short and general answer.

If this applies to you, there is some specific information about your project that will make sourcing an excavating company easier.

Vital Information You Need to Provide Before Hiring an Excavating Company

Before getting in touch with prospective contractors, you need to provide some essential information about your project. These details will help to hire a contractor a breeze.

First, how much work does your project entail? What specific excavating project do you require? The type of excavator machinery you need to build a driveway is not the same as the excavator necessary to dig a pool.

Knowing the depth, width, and length of the area in your excavating project will help prospective contractors decide what solutions they can offer you.

Access to the Site

Once you know your excavating project’s scope, you must distinguish the level of access you have to the construction site. This information includes different height specifications, such as roofs and eaves, trees, and powerlines.

Also, don’t forget the widths of the site. This pertains to if there are narrower spaces in the construction site, such as between a fence and a house, or anything like that.

In some cases, you need a smaller excavating machinery than the standard just so the equipment can fit into smaller spaces.

Before you make a call to prospective contractors, prepare as much information about the project as possible. This preparation will help you down the line. Furthermore, the contractors will be more ready to provide you an estimate for your construction project.

Here are the factors you need to explain to excavating contractors to help determine what type of specialized excavating machinery you need for your project:

  • Location of the project
  • The size of the area to be excavated
  • Site access
  • Space allotted for the machine
  • Ground composition
  • Specific items that need to be moved removed
  • Other construction equipment that will be present on site
  • Forward planning, or how the site will look once it’s cleared – will excavation still be needed?
  • Depth of the dig

In-Person Inspection

Hiring the right excavating contractors require patience and research.

Many excavating companies would happily arrange a visit to the site.

They will send out a member of their team to evaluate the scope of the project and assess your needs.

This is beneficial to both parties so you can arrive at the best project decisions.

Not All Excavating Projects Are Created Equal

While excavating essentially means digging, the tasks vary in size, requirements, and capability. Determining the ideal excavator (both machinery and excavating contractors) will take time and patience. However, it will all be worth it once you get the project starts off right.

Set the Budget of the Project

The first essential factor when it comes to sourcing an excavating company is the budget of the project. In a perfect world, the budget is not an issue. You could simply outline what you need for the project without worrying about the funds.

However, realistically, you’re most likely working with a set budget for the project.

Your options may be limited because of it, but don’t fret. If you plan right and work smart, there is always a workaround.

Even when you have a set budget for your construction project, it’s important to remember that skimping on the services or equipment could, in fact, cost you more in the time needed to finish the job with the more suitable, albeit pricier, option.

Look at the requirements of your project and how best to meet them. Don’t always choose the cheaper, quicker, or smaller option to yield short-term savings.

As you plan and finalize the budget you want to set for the project, consider all the costs. Make your best effort to allocate sufficient resources for the right excavating tasks.

Define Your Needs

When sourcing for the right excavating machinery for your project, familiarize yourself with the available options. From there, identify a piece of equipment that will match the environment of your site.

For instance, a demolition excavator is built to tear down multi-story structures. However, something like that is too much if you only need a piece of equipment to level sand dunes. You get the picture?

On the other hand, an excavator with the capacity to work in and around water will not have a lot of use when you need to dig a trench or work around a seawall.

Identifying your project’s needs before you reach out to prospective contractors helps you have a clearer idea of the specific excavator you need – making your life easier.

Do You Need an Operator?

Many excavation companies do a wet hire – renting out a machine with an operator – and a dry hire – renting out just the engine.  

When hiring excavating contractors, there's difference between a wet hire and a dry hire.

As you might have guessed, employing an operator’s services is a more expensive option than the other one.

It’s because you’re paying for the expertise and time of a professional contractor.

If you don’t have any experience whatsoever operating a piece of excavating machinery, the sensible option would be to hire an operator.

It’s not even a question. If you can’t afford an operator and would rather risk safety, then your project is already compromised at a grand scale. 

Excavating contractors are trained and experienced to do the job safer, quicker, and more skillfully. Obviously, if it’s a more significant project with specific excavation requirements, you will need an operator.

The Duration of the Excavation Project

You will have to give an estimated time of how long you need to hire the excavators’ services. You don’t always have to stick to this timeline as unexpected issues might arise. 

If you have no idea how long the project will take, the excavation company can usually help you out during the project evaluation.

Excavation Machinery Attachments

One cool thing about excavating machinery is the attachments they come with. These attachments can change the machine’s capabilities and performance. 

There are different attachments to an excavation machine.

Even if one machine can seem like it’s the ideal one you need for your project, you may not be fully utilizing it for that particular task.

Every piece of excavating equipment is durable and reliable.

However, if one attachment affects its performance, it might be better to go for a bit of different equipment altogether to get the job done.

A professional excavating company will be able to provide you the details about this. No one expects you to know all this information, so it’s not surprising if you rely on the expertise of the actual people who are in the industry.

Identify the Variables

When you identify your project’s initial needs, it’s also important to consider any other variables outside the project’s scope.

For instance, it’s an unfortunate reality that construction sites are often broken into. If you had to leave excavators on-site, it’s essential to think about anti-vandalism or anti-theft measures to secure the valuables. 

Renting Has Its Benefits

When you rent excavation equipment, you have the advantage of being proactive to the changing needs of your construction project. For instance, if something comes up and you suddenly need a different piece of excavation machine, you can quickly return the one you have and swap it to a new engine. 

If you purchase your own excavator, you can’t just make the swap to a different machine within a short period.

Key Takeaway When Hiring Excavating Contractors

The more information you can provide the excavation contractors, the easier for them to assess your project and provide their expert recommendations. 

Clearing the site is a vital first step to any construction and could make or break your project. Thus, please don’t underestimate the value of preparation when it comes to this stage of your project.

Keep these fundamental tips in mind when finding and hiring excavators. Don’t shy away from relying on the advice of experts. Try your best to make decisions that make sense for your construction project.