Mini excavators are flexible, compact and convenient. The lower cost compared to a large excavator has increased the popularity of using these machines for traditional digging tasks and demolition work over recent years.
But did you know that they can also be a nice little money maker too?
This article explores the ways that you can use your excavator to make a reliable income stream.
What is an excavator used for?
First, what do people use excavators for? Excavators are versatile digging machines that are used for various digging tasks such as building swimming pools, concrete and asphalt driveways and even some demolition work.
Hydraulic excavators were first used in 1882. Before this, excavators were cabled, which limited their usability. Nowadays, excavators are a big time saver in the construction industry.
So, what should you do with your machine when it’s not in use?
How to make money with a mini excavator – 8 ways to turn your machine into an income generator
Use your excavator for more than a bit of digging with the following money-making options.
1. Rent it out
If you’re looking for an easy way to make money from your excavator, this one is for you.
By loaning your machine to individuals, you will receive 100% return on the initial cost of your excavator over time and make some decent profit too. Remember to factor in insurance costs, repair and maintenance fees too.
Before renting out your excavator, you will need to protect yourself and your equipment by:
Getting permits and insurance – some states require individuals or businesses to get permits before they can legally hire out tools and machinery. Research what licensing you need first.
Draw up a rental contract – it’s really important that you have a legal document that limits your liability if an accident or damage occurs during a rental agreement. Your contract should clearly state that you accept no liability for damage or injury that occurs during usage by the renter. It should also include your deposit policy and what would happen if your excavator gets damaged, lost or stolen. Always get a legal professional to review the contract before starting to loan your tool.
Regularly inspecting and maintaining your excavator – before every loan agreement, you should check that your excavator is functional and safe to use. It’s good practice to inspect your machinery on return from a loan so you will know if any damage has been caused.
2. Small demolition work
Would you prefer to do some of the work yourself? People can save money by hiring individuals that own an excavator instead of a construction company for small jobs, which makes it an in-demand service.
Excavators are made for demolition work. You may need to invest in some additional attachments such as different sized buckets and clamps for some jobs. These machines are best suited for demolishing small structures such as sheds, fences, retaining walls and garages.
Advertise your services in your local area with flyers and posters and take advantage of the power of social media by regularly posting on your business page. Content such as pictures and videos of your excavator in action as well as before and after images will help get you noticed.
3. Clear snow
Clearing snow in the winter from driveways and walkways is a tough job unless you have an excavator. You can charge a decent amount to solve this problem for local residents. It’s also possible to quickly earn a large amount of cash by offering this service to all the houses on your street. Your neighbors will be happy that you’ve helped them solve an issue and you will be pleased with how much money you’ve made in a short period of time.
It’s important to take extra care of your excavator during the harsh winter months and ensure that you have the right equipment to keep it operational.
4. Loading and unloading work
Another way to make money from your excavator is by offering to help local businesses with loading and unloading work. This could include handling heavy materials such as sand and gravel. The most profitable way to charge for these kinds of services is to charge per hour for the hire of your machine and your labor. Research the average cost of loading and unloading work in your area and price competitively to attract more business.
5. Landscaping work
With the help of your excavator, offering garden and landscaping services in your local area is a great side hustle or even a full-time job. People are often looking to pay for services such as removing dead trees and clearing overgrown areas, and an excavator will make light work of these tasks.
Offering landscaping work in your local community can be a rewarding job that earns you extra money.
6. Digging holes for pools
Another popular task for an excavator is digging holes for ponds, pools and hot tubs. You can charge more for this type of job because it will take several days to finish. You’ll also need to cover your costs for moving the excavator to the site where you will be doing the job. Lots of homeowners decide to save money on hiring companies to dig out the hole for the pool and ask somebody that has an excavator instead. You will need some technical knowledge to conduct this type of work to the required standard but it’s easy to learn and will enable you to charge more for your services.
7. Clearing work
A new housing development project or industrial job site will have a huge amount of rubbish and debris that needs to be cleared quickly. A compact excavator will tackle this job in no time at all and will save companies money by not having to hire another piece of machinery for the task.
You could charge an hourly or daily rate to take your excavator to the site and complete the work.
8. Building paths
Another area of work is getting paid to help your community by creating paths for walking or biking. You will just need a general bucket for this job, so there’s no need to invest in further equipment.
Speak to your local state department to find out what projects they have coming up that you could help with.
Is it worth selling your excavator?
If you find that you need some fast cash, selling your mini excavator for a lump sum is a good idea to consider. Second-hand machinery will typically hold its value well as long as it’s well looked after and in full working order.
The benefit of selling your excavator is that you will no longer have insurance costs or maintenance and repair costs to consider.
How to choose the right excavator for the job
Excavators are not cheap pieces of equipment. Prices can range from $20,000 – $90,000 depending on the model and specification.
Consider the following factors to match an excavator to your job:
Engine power – this should be strong enough to perform the jobs that you want to provide. The higher power, the more money the tool will cost so it’s important to find the right specification for your needs.
Weight – try to purchase tools that are suitable for the jobs you want to offer. Heavy excavators are more difficult to move and could damage areas of land.
Bucket capacity – buckets are the most used attachment for excavators so it’s important to know the maximum capacity for each bucket so you can use the right one for the job.
How to choose the right type of attachment for your mini excavator
This will ultimately depend on the type of services you decide to offer. For example, if you’re going to help dig out the foundations for a pool, a trenching bucket is a must-have tool for easily digging deep holes.
If you’re serious about making money from your mini excavator, consider investing in the following attachments:
Hydraulic thumb – great for picking up heavy and irregularly shaped items.
Hydraulic breaker – most commonly used for constructing or breaking down concrete and asphalt driveways.
Auger attachment – if you’re going to be digging holes for fence posts and planting trees, an auger attachment will make your work easier and quicker.
The costs for these attachments vary but it’s worth looking into buying second-hand to maximize your profit potential.
How much money can a mini excavator make?
A mini excavator operator can earn up to $58,000 annually by completing tasks such as digging foundations and trenches and demolishing small structures. This figure will depend on how much work you want to take on and whether you work all year round or complete seasonal work.
Mini excavators could earn you between $150-$200 a day, depending on the location where you are renting the machine out and the demand in your area.
Benefits of starting a power tool rental business
If you decide to rent out your mini excavator, there are several benefits that make it an attractive venture either as a side hustle or full-time business.
A flexible opportunity
One of the best things about a rental business is that you decide how small or big you want it to be. The amount of effort you put in will determine how much money you make from it. The income generated from this type of business is unlimited.
Small initial investment
Apart from the cost of the power tools, starting a tool rental business costs significantly less than other start-up businesses. You will also be able to quickly recoup the money you spent once you start hiring the tools out.
Power tool rentals can be a lucrative business if you price your services right. Do some market research to find out what other people are charging and create a competitive pricing strategy. You want to attract business but don’t be tempted to price the rental of your tools too low as this may make some people question how genuine your business is. Aim to achieve at least a 40% markup on each power tool that you rent out.
Be your own boss
No more 9-5 and no more daily commutes. Lots of people dream of being their own boss and not having to answer to anyone else. With a power tool rental business, you can. It’s also an easy job to take time off from as your tools are making money while you’re away or spending time with family.
Easy to sell
From homeowners doing their own projects to large construction companies that are contracted to conduct work, there are lots of people who need access to power tools but don’t want to pay to buy one.
In addition to compact excavators, other power tools that rent out well include:
· Rotary Hammer
· Paint sprayer
· Drain Auger
· Post-hole digger
· Saw blades and circular saws
· Flooring tools
Things to consider before starting a power tool rental business
The benefits of renting power tools far outweigh the cons, but it’s still important to consider:
Competition – with lots of benefits comes lots of competition when it comes to business ideas. Research the market and offer your customers a unique selling point such as money off for repeat business.
Taxes – self-employment taxes will apply to a power tool rental business. Check the amount of money you will be expected to pay based on your forecasted earnings.
Inconsistent pay – during certain times of the year you may find that sales decline as manual labor reduces. If you are relying on your power tool business for a monthly income, it’s important to put some of your earnings away during the more lucrative months.
Making money with mini excavators
If you’re looking for new and different ways to make money, a mini excavator could be a great opportunity for you. You could even maximize your earning potential by combining two or more of the options described in this article.
For more unique and inspiring ways to earn money, take a look at the Money Making section of our personal finance blog.