mini-digger hire

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hi all.

I'm considering hiring a mini-digger. Would plan to have it for a day, and dig foundations (and excavate for the concrete slab) for a ~3m x ~3m single story utility room. Could also use it for other things, like installing a land-drain and replacing my water main pipe.

Anyway... how easy are they to use? I have enough space to manoeuvre, and am well used to "adapting" myself to different things - but I'm not foolhardy. Easy enough to use? ground is completely level and access is easy etc. Ground is thick clay type soil.

Thanks in advance...
 
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What experience of using this type of plant have you?
It is like most things only easy if you know have and training and practice are usually the best methods to achieve this.

You will find whilst digging the area out that the ground surface will become uneven and the machines if not operated correctly can become unballanced and tip.

Does the hirer not ask for an experince plant operater to be used?
 
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What experience of using this type of plant have you?
Err... none!
You will find whilst digging the area out that the ground surface will become uneven and the machines if not operated correctly can become unballanced and tip.
Yup!
Does the hirer not ask for an experince plant operater to be used?
Hmm, dunno!

I might sound flippant, but I'm well aware of the issues. In fact, since posting this I've found a few other posts.

Opinion seems divided between "you'll figure it out in 10 mins" and "get a man with the digger - and make sure he has liability insurance!".

People seem to have done it themselves, just want to see if this is a real proposition for me...
 
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Are you someone who does pick up things quickly?
Do you think it is something that will not faze you?
Do you have good coordination?
Would you trust yourself removing soil and ground rubble, in areas that you may not know what could be beneath the surface, ie gas,water and electric supplies? or sewer/waste pipes or foundation footings for the house/property?
What damage could the digger cause if tipped or out of control?
Does the positive out weigh the negatives regarding employing a digger man or self-drive?
 
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Hi Andy...look i dont know you and i dont want to put anyone off.

Ive worked on building sites all my working life. but i dont dricve the plant much. but i do know that every site i work on you must have a licence to drive plant.

That said when i hired a minidigger for the day from a well known hire company, to dig my footings. the bloke unloaded it showed me the basics got me to sign and went on his way. But in 10 minutes of truntling up n down the drive i had it sussed. just one little accident was when i swung and hit the house with the bucket. You say you got a bit of land practice on the land drain first.

Now heres the funny bit. the second time i hired one, was for my cousin. A pilot not not sesna's or those light air craft, but a commercial airline pilot.
Well as PrenticeBoyofDerry rightly pointed out the ground soon becomes uneven and a little hole in one of them can unbalance the machine.
I had been grading of the land but there was this small willow tree that hat to come out and be moved which i did. and i jumped out of the machine for a brew....my cousin said i want a play...i said go just be careful, well you can imagine what i got ..i'm a pilot..blah..blah... so on he jumps tracks back. into a 6 inch deep rut ive created. well you should of heard him scream. he couldnt get out quick enough. he really thought it was going over and it was goint to crush him...in reality it had dropped about 4/5 inch backwards...laugh...we were wetting ourselves.

But it just goes to show you....just be slow no need to rush, if you need it a little longer then fine....just take your time, and have someone with you to make sure your not digging up cables or pipes and to watch out for you.
 
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getting the hang of the controls is failry easy and quick to pick up. It is harder on the samller machines as they are a bit jerkier. The art is in working out your plan of work and getting the best from the machine. Using it accuratley takes practice. dig it too deep and youve got more concrete to fill the hole with!
 
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Thanks for all the replies, I know they can be dangerous. I own a chainsaw and a 30 foot ladder, both of which I have a sensible respect for.

I'm still undecided as to whether to rent the mini-digger, or digger+man. This is a diy forum, and that's what I like to do - so long as I'm reasonably safe.

Anyway, I'd be grateful for any further comments from anybody who has no experience - but has rented one!

Thanks again!
 
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i started off with no experiance when i first rented one. When i look back now i made so many mistakes, including managing to topple it.
I really learnt from spending some time with someone and it really opened my eyes and showed me what i can do and cant do with one of them. If what you have to do is straight forward then give it a go, if not think carefully about it as it does get expensive when you overdig.
 
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I started pretty much as Thermo did, i.e. jumped on a digger with no experience and just learned.

Once familiar with the controls you will find certain tasks easier than others.

For instance it is easy to dig a hole with a curved or arced bottom because this involves little hand action and coordination. However, it takes more skill to dig a trench with a flat level bottom without scalloping.

Grading the ground is quite difficult as this takes a fair bit of skill and hand control.

The traits that make a digger useful also make it dangerous. It is incredibly easy to rip out cables and pipes. Always ALWAYS ensure that the road stop cock is serviceable before putting the digger bucket into the ground. Try and trace/identify any services to or from the building.

As stated earlier, take your time. Don't rush the digging action as you will end up bucking the machine rather than digging the ground.

Try and get the digger as level as you can whilst digging deep trenches or else you will end up with a wonky, out-of-plumb trench.

You can level up the digger either by grading the ground before hand or if the digger sinks, tip the digger using the bucket then shove some bricks blocks planks under the track.
 

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