Excavators are powerful and versatile pieces of heavy equipment used in many industries ranging from construction and mining to forestry. With the right attachments, they can be utilized for several applications from digging trenches and foundations to handling materials and even demolishing structures and clearing snow. Understanding how you can use this type of machine on your job sites and whether excavator rental, financing or leasing is best for your unique needs, will help you make the most cost-effective and productive decision possible.
What can I use an excavator for?
The default role of a hydraulic excavator can be compared to the historic steam shovel and produces a similar result to a power shovel, although with a substantially different method of action. Excavators excel at digging holes and transporting material. Their power and speed can help businesses complete a variety of projects faster than would be possible with only manual labor and hand tools.
Beyond the standard bucket attachment, there are other powerful tools that expand the jobs that excavators can perform. Augers, saws, mowers, forestry mulchers, claws, cutters, breakers, snowblowers, and other tools can replace the bucket.
Caterpillar offers an extensive product lineup of excavators ranging in size. Mini, also referred to as compact, excavators are the smallest category, with a correspondingly low operating weight. These machines can be especially useful at worksites where free space is at a premium and more delicate work - at least in the context of excavators - is required. Excavators can also be especially large, with operating weights approaching 200,000 lbs. These vehicles are designed for heavy-duty work in applications like mining. Effective use of these machines can be a way to improve and stabilize cash flow. In between the two extremes, mid-size configurations can be deployed in many different roles.
What are my options for acquiring an excavator?
Excavators represent a major investment for all but the largest companies. For that reason, a direct purchase often doesn't make financial sense. Which options remain? You can:
- Rent an excavator on a short-term basis.
- Lease or finance this equipment, which is an effective strategy when equipment is needed regularly to complete projects.
Renting an excavator
If your company occasionally needs an excavator for relatively short periods, and if that schedule is irregular, renting can be an effective choice. Excavators for rent are generally maintained by the dealer or other provider offering the machinery, meaning your business doesn't have to worry about maintenance costs. If your business can't reliably predict when it will need an excavator and the jobs it's used for don't take a particularly long, a rental agreement can pay off. If you can identify a local retailer with a large inventory including a wide variety of excavators, you can even choose between different models to find the best possible model for the job.
Potential issues to keep in mind with excavator rental services - and all types of equipment rentals - include access and costs. You can't guarantee a company that rents heavy equipment will always have the right excavator available as it may be rented out to another business. Managing this issue requires additional planning and conversations with dealers. Costs are another major concern. If your company frequently uses an excavator, it makes more sense from a stability and cost standpoint to lease or finance your equipment.
Leasing or financing an excavator
A lease or financing agreement gives your business dependable access to heavy equipment like excavators while making payments much more manageable. Your company maintains physical ownership as long as it follows the lease or financing agreement, which means dependable access to the same machine for years to come. In a cost comparison of renting an excavator over an extended period versus leasing or financing one, renting is almost always significantly more expensive. Leasing and financing are clearly the best choices when it comes to regular use of this equipment.
One key concern with leasing and financing is equipment maintenance. Your business is responsible for maintaining your excavator, so you should have a good strategy in place for keeping it in good working order. Equipment Protection Plans can help stabilize maintenance and repair costs as well as ensure qualified technicians always work on your excavator when needed.
What else should I know about renting, leasing and financing?
- Contact your local Cat dealer to learn about rental options.
- The Cat Card is an effective, easy and secure way to pay for rentals.
- Cat Financial offers a wide range of used equipment for leasing and financing, providing additional savings on dependable heavy machinery.
- Our Business Insights page offers a wide range of additional information about leasing and financing.