My wife & I are considering renting a min-excavator in order to rip out some bushes and stumps that are in the way of future plans; and I was wondering if I could reasonablely make a full sized huglecultre using a "mini". At first glance, it seems like it should be enough to get the job done; but does anyone have any experience with these little machines? Also, the quote that I got was $1200 for one week's rental. Is that consistent with the experience of others?
I'm not sure what the industry considers a "mini" vs just a "small" or "compact" excavator. My local rental place has the baby bear starting at $1,000/wk, with the mamma bear version at $1140 and the papa bear at $1500. All are easily trailerable with a significant trailer and truck.
Do be sure your trailer and truck can pull it - if not be sure to budget the price of delivery and pickup.
There is, as John poses, the question of "should you do it?" and ... that's up to you. A week seems like a long time to pull up some stumps and bushes, but building a hugel involves a lot of in-between time as you have to stage the logs, place the logs, compact the dirt - and I wouldn't want to pay someone to sit around while that goes on. And I wouldn't want to rush making the hugel either!
I tend to agree with John. While much depends upon your location, I find hiring someone with the right equipment normally beats a rental. But, for me, the nearest rental site in 30 miles away. That is 60 miles round trip to pick it up and 60 miles round trip to drop it off. Couple this with the operator being 3 miles away and experienced, and the decision is pretty obvious.
Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions. Mark Twain
The place we rent from, sometimes the big excavator works out being much cheaper, even after accounting for the delivery fee. The charge a premium for the small ones since there is so much demand but the big one might get left on the property for days and you just get charged by the machine hour.
1200$/week would be a good deal in my area for the small-medium sized bobcat excavator (15,000 lbs). I would however not bother pulling a stump if I were simply going to use it for a hugel in that same spot. I'd just use it as the base of the hugel, or as part of a larger one. If you plan to do something else there and have the time and cash, the excavator I describe could do the job easily in much less than a week, so I may consider how I'd use the rest of that time on ponds, more hugels, swales, woody debris filled trenches, etc.
This is all just my opinion based on a flawed memory
Alex Arn wrote:The place we rent from, sometimes the big excavator works out being much cheaper, even after accounting for the delivery fee. The charge a premium for the small ones since there is so much demand but the big one might get left on the property for days and you just get charged by the machine hour.
I think a lot depends on the type of soil you have. We tend to have heavy clay with a lot of rocks - some very large rocks I might say. I would want a bigger machine for that reason. However, the bucket size also differs between excavators and you may be able to specify. A smaller bucket might disturb the surrounding soil less if that's preferred.
We have a small tractor with a wide bucket on the front and a small back hoe that works off the hydraulics at the back. We've got the front bucket to move the big rocks out of the way once they're on the surface, and to move the stump as well, but the back hoe does the shoveling.
As a follow-up to this thread, I did end up renting a mini-excavator. And it was truly tiny; it didn't have a cab, but only a roll bar. It's max dig depth was only about 6 feet, but it was able to do most of what I wanted to do during a two day rental. My wife wouldn't let me build the huglecultre out of the old bushes anyway. She wants me to burn them instead. Sometimes, her resistance to my permie ideas make me sad.
I have no photos or videos to share, because I was either on the machine or sleeping the entire time; trying to get as much done without incurring an extra day's rent. It ended up costing me about $750 for two days. I'm exhausted.
Hey! Wanna see my flashlight? It looks like this tiny ad: