The best excavation hire in Canberra


Imran from T-Corp Plumbing + Excavation, once of Canberra’s most recommended excavators. Photo: file.

Those well entrenched in the Canberra construction game will be all too familiar with the wonderful world of excavation. However, if hiring an excavator is not something you do on a regular basis, simply knowing where to start can be daunting!

For the uninitiated there are questions a plenty. Does it require specialist equipment and if so, what? Are there licenses and laws to adhere to? Do I need permission to dig? What insurance is required? And of course, that age old existential question – do I dare tackle it myself?

The good news is that solving this dilemma is not as hard as it initially seems. Once you have a steer on your exact excavation needs, finding a resolution only takes a few simple steps. And, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself a great excavation hire service then you’re all the more better off.

So where to begin? Before you hire an excavator consider your needs and find out the length, width, and depth of your project. Digging for a pool requires a different excavator than digging for a driveway. So, this information will help your excavator hire company determine the type of machinery needed.

Once you know the size of your project consider how accessible it is. Take note of any limitations with regards to height or width such as fence, eaves, powerlines, and alike. Finally, decide on whether you are hiring with or without an operator. Unless you have some serious experience in this area, chances are that you will need the services of both equipment and operator.

Now that you have done your homework where do find the best excavator hire in the Canberra region? Thankfully, we have done the heavy lifting, whipping together handy hints and a shortlist of the best in the business. Do read on below!

What makes a great excavator hire service?

The best excavator hire services are adept at solutioning the right equipment with skilled operators for your local digging project. They are experts of extraction and their light-handed touch ensures minimal disruption to site surrounds. Moreover, they understand risks, take health and safety seriously, and may even be licensed in a specialised area or two. Here are some things to consider when selecting your next excavation hire service in Canberra:

  • Great range. Excavators come in all manner of configurations each equipped with their own unique capabilities and suited to specific needs. As such, it is common to find excavators categorised into mini, standard, or large ranges with various product lines therein. Consider your specific excavation needs and seek a hire service that caters to this. Depth in product range can go some way to ensuring you select the right excavator for the task at hand.
  • Quality equipment. Good equipment may do the job, but the best equipment will do it safely and swiftly. Why? Because quality equipment is a good indicator of operational aptitude and ease of use. So, consider an excavator hire service that stocks best in class equipment from world leading brands. An excavator with advanced technology is generally easier to use, delivering better outcomes with minimal disruption to surrounds.
  • Skilled operators. Should DIY send you running to the hills, consider contracting a wet excavator hire services. Wet excavator hire is the industry term for hiring both equipment and an operator to handle it. The best operators come with years of experience and know how to tread lightly whilst getting the job done. This knowledge is particularly useful for complex digs, tedious sites, and in areas laden with underground services. Contracting a skilled operator will cost more, however the payoff is efficiency and care.
  • Clear contracts. As with any hire service, it pays to be diligent with contracts, clauses, and professional insurances. Be clear on hire and freight rates, and importantly insurance. It is also worth enquiring if soil removal is included and any associated costs. This is particularly important for hydro excavation where a vacuum truck is used to extract soil. Also remember to read any fine print and take note of operational instructions from the service. Moreover, consider if additional items like protective gear, are required as well. The best excavator hire services will have solid contracts with transparent terms, ensuring safety and minimising risk.
  • Flexibility. Excavating often comes hand in hand with construction, and construction does have many moving parts. Delays can be brought about by weather, and in other instances are a result of incomplete stages prior to the dig. Either way, seeking a contractor that is willing to work with you will help to get your project back on its feet. Flexible hire terms, dates, time frames and delivery options all go a long way when issues arise. The best excavator hire suppliers will be proudly solutions centric, and equipped with contingency plans for most scenarios.

The best excavator hire in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Canberra Mini Diggers

As the name suggests, Canberra Mini Diggers specialises in tight access excavation projects. Offering operated or wet excavator hire, their range includes some of the world’s most compact excavating equipment to service spaces from as little as 680mm in width.

Their micro and mini excavators can assist with all general excavation projects from footings and trenches, to slab preparation, levelling, and clearing and much more. For tight access earthworks Canberra Mini Diggers wet excavation hire are a great choice.

Fabian Sakul-Thongbai shared his experience on Facebook, Had Michael come to dig out a 40m2 area in the backyard last week. Arrived on time, easy to get on with, professional, courteous, efficient. Organised the waste skip for me as well. Pricing was very reasonable. Wish all tradies were like this. Cannot recommend high enough.”

Solution Plant Hire

From humble beginnings with 13 machines in 2013, Solution Plant Hire are now home to a fleet of over 150 excavators over four branches along the east coast. With local offices Beard, Solution Plant Hire offers dry hire excavating equipment for construction professionals.

With excavator options that cater from 1.5 all the way through to 35 tonne their fleet also includes dumpers, rollers, and an assortment of attachments. For those experienced operators looking to hire equipment only Solution Plant Hire is a great choice.

Alexander Bradstock has this to say about Solution Plant Hire on Google, They have a great team, who are very helpful. Good rates. High quality of machines.”

Kelton Rentals

After seeing a gap in the market, Kelton Rentals was formed in 2011 to meet the need for excavation rental in Canberra. Family owned and operated, Kelton Rentals provides an impressive range of dry hire machinery to builders, plumbers, landscapers, councils, and civil contractors.

Offering both equipment and attachment hire, their fleet includes excavators, mini and track loaders, dumpers, tippers, rollers, compaction, and trailers. They also boast in-house freight, low hour equipment, high safety specifications, and flexible stand downs.

Lewis Dunlop shared this review on Kelton Rentals via Google, Great Company, impeccably clean and maintained machines. Great people to deal with.”

Canberra Hydrovac

Operating throughout the ACT, Canberra Hydrovac provides a full range of specialised hydro excavation services. They are particularly well regarded for their precision excavation, safety standards, and the non-destructive nature of their hydro excavation technology.

Canberra Hydrovac offers hydro excavation, trenching, cable hauling, concrete cutting and removal. With a specialisation in locating and accessing underground services Canberra Hydrovac are a great choice for complimentary commercial clients and industries, and also residential needs.

Adam Greene shared this feedback via Google, Have done a few larger jobs for me now. On time, efficient, professional and leave the job better than it was when they started. Very good with their safety I found as well. Highly recommend.”

If you’re looking for more information on excavation related services in Canberra, you might like our articles on the best concreters, the best landscapers, the best skip bin hire and rubbish removal or perhaps this article on the best builders and renovators Canberra has to offer.

Your experience with excavator hire in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the excavator hire listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose the right size excavator?
To choose the right size excavator firstly consider project needs such as the length, width, and depth of the dig site, any access restrictions, and the type of terrain. Next, consider excavator options such as engine power, weight, bucket capacity and size. Match the two and there you have it! Always consult your excavator hire service to ensure the right equipment is selected.
What is hydro excavation?
Hydro excavation is an alternative means to remove soil by utilising pressurised water and injecting it underground of effectively liquifying it. A high-powered vacuum is then used to extract the liquified soil into a separate tank. Hydro excavation is less destructive than traditional dig and extract methods, with the added benefit of locating underground utilities.
Do you need an excavator license?
While a license to operate an excavator for typical excavation work is not required, operators must be competent to do so. In the event than an employer hires for an employee, a duty of care under the Work Health and Safety Act applies. In some conditions and for certain types of heavy equipment a high-risk work licence is required. A high-risk work license covers 30 classes of work including forklifts, cranes, hoists, scaffolding, and rigging work. Finally, excavation work greater than $250,000 in value comes with additional requirements. To check for this, or whether your project requires a licensed operator please consult Worksafe ACT.
What is the Excavation Work Code of Practice?
Created by Safe Work Australia, the Excavation Work Code of Practice is a regulatory guide for managing risks associated to all types of excavation work include bulk excavations over 1.5 metres deep, trenches, tunnels, and shafts. The Excavation Work Code of Practice is also linked to the Work Health and Safety Act. All excavator hire services must adhere to these guidelines, so be sure to check that your contractor is well versed in its parameters.
What is Dial Before You Dig?
Dial Before You Gig is a free national referral service designed to prevent damage or disruption to underground networks for our essential services. As a single point of contact, they provide information on the whereabouts of underground assets at a given site. This check point is essential prior to any exaction works.

What's Your Opinion?

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13 Responses to The best excavation hire in Canberra
Lauries Bobcat Hire Lauries Bobcat Hire 7:46 pm 09 Sep 16

Lauries bobcat hire 0428736463 he’s a brilliant operator not much he can’t do . He’s got 20 yrs experience plus

Madam Cholet Madam Cholet 5:53 pm 31 Oct 14

Job all done by Bobcat & tipper services. Cost about $700 for the estimated 20 cubic metres. Did a good job. Probably at least $1000 cheaper than hiring the equipment and doing ourselves.

Madam Cholet Madam Cholet 8:20 am 26 Oct 14

We are just about to get some soil removed by Bobcat & Tipper Services Canberra on Friday. Can tell you how it goes, but I believe it’s $165 to dump waste at Royalla and a two hour minimum charge. We reckon for about 15-20 cubic metres of soil we will be up for almost $600. Will report back.

RadioVK RadioVK 12:36 pm 24 Oct 14

Try Closer To The Edge Excavation and Haulage, 0437 251 008.

He’s happy to do small jobs at a reasonable rate.

Disclaimer- He’s family.

Pots Pots 4:37 pm 25 Oct 10

About 8 years ago I used AAA Bobcat & Truck Hire because they were first in the yellow pages. A bloke called Jason did a great job. He had a good eye and knew when to stop – my complicated system of levels and string was way out and he could tell just by looking at it! Phone 62350560.

A couple of months ago a bloke called Craig came and did some excavating and bobcatting stuff at our place. We asked him to make it kind of round and nice and to stop when he thought it looked about right. That’s what he did and it looks great, so I think he’s got good taste (which might not be your taste but anyway). Phone 0428 751 023.

thatsnotme thatsnotme 1:21 pm 25 Oct 10

Just one piece of advice – if you’ve got a reasonable amount of dirt to get rid of, make sure you get an operator with a decent sized truck. When I had some of the back yard levelled a while back, the truck was a 2-tonner (or something like that), and the only place to dump clean fill in Canberra was near Pialligo…from my place, that was an hour round trip, and it’s all on the clock. You’ll save money by getting someone with a larger truck, who has to make fewer trips to offload.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 11:48 am 25 Oct 10

Cost to do what? Quotes are usually for a job, not by the hour, and depend on how much of what kind fo stuff you need shifted / disposed of. Filling the truck with light but bulky and free-to-dump green waste isn’t going to be anything like shifting old chunks of concrete or builders rubble.

JMDubya JMDubya 11:09 am 25 Oct 10

Hi guys,

I need the same thing!

Could you give me a rough idea of cost?


Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 9:55 am 25 Oct 10

Beauty, need some dirt shifted / stuff leveled / cr.p taken away.

frank2112 frank2112 9:23 am 25 Oct 10

Yes he does.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 8:48 am 25 Oct 10

Does he have a truck, frank2112?

frank2112 frank2112 8:37 am 25 Oct 10

I can recommend – Very good service and highly skilled

I Dig – Mini Digger & Bobcat

Contact: Simon Minney

Mobile: 0404 333 334

p1 p1 8:31 am 25 Oct 10

I’ve tried driving a bobcat, and while the basic principles in moving ’round and shifting dirt are doable, I’m all the more impressed with what a good operator can do.

Good luck in your search.

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