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Mini excavators are some of the most important pieces of equipment when it comes to site work. Contractors and landscapers use them for a variety of tasks, including digging holes and trenches, grading, leveling, and backfilling.
If your project requires very short term use of a mini excavator, renting is usually a better option than buying. Mini excavators can be rented by the day, week, or month. Or, you can opt for a lease that allows for longer-term use with little or no money down.
Cost of Renting a Mini Excavator
Rental prices vary from dealer to dealer. They're also based on the age and condition of the mini excavator:
- Daily rates generally range from $150 to $500.
- Weekly rates often fall in the $800 to $2,000 range.
- Monthly rates can reach $2,500 to $4,000.
With this pricing structure, it's important to figure out exactly how long you'll need the mini excavator before signing a rental agreement. Monthly rates are a better deal than weekly rates and weekly rates are a better deal than daily. Naturally, you'll want to opt for the most cost effective option. If you need the mini excavator for three weeks, for example, you're probably better off opting for the monthly rate.
Some rental agreements come with options to buy. For example, you might rent a 2006 Bobcat mini excavator for $1,800 per month with the option to buy the machine for $30,000 when the rental agreement expires. This is a good way to "test run" a machine you are considering purchasing.
Cost of Leasing a Mini Excavator
Similar to leasing a car, construction equipment is available for long-term lease with little or no money down. Payments are spread out over a number of months - usually anywhere from 12 to 60. Many lease agreements also include an option to buy.
The size of your monthly lease depends on the type of the mini excavator you select and how long you plan to keep it. Models with greater dig depths and more horsepower will come with higher rates. Generally, lease rates range from $400 to $1,000 per month.
Leasing has several advantages over buying. You can acquire the equipment with little or no down-payment, freeing up your working capital or bank financing for other things. With a lease, your mini excavator will never be out of date because you can trade it in for a new model when the lease term expires. Lease payments are also tax deductible, reducing your overall costs.
However, leasing can be more expensive than buying in the long term. Leasing companies usually charge higher interest rates than banks. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of each option before making a final decision.
Renting vs. Leasing a Mini Excavator
Renting a mini excavator is only a good deal if you need the equipment on a very short-term basis - usually just a matter of months, at the most. If your monthly lease payment is $3,000, you'll spend $9,000 in the span of three months - more than you might spend for a year's worth of lease payments.
Although leasing can be more cost effective, it locks you into a long-term commitment. You'll have to pay for the equipment for at least one year - and possibly up to five - even if it's not being used. Be sure to run the numbers to compare the total cost of both options before selecting one or the other.