Excavator Rental Cost
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How Much Does Excavator Rental Cost?

Last Updated on March 3, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Excavators are essential heavy equipment for many construction and landscaping projects. Their ability to efficiently dig trenches, excavate large amounts of soil, demolish structures, and lift and move heavy objects makes them an invaluable tool on job sites.

However, purchasing an excavator can be extremely expensive for smaller contractors and homeowners. The costs of buying and owning an excavator are very high.

Renting an excavator is often the most cost-effective option, allowing you to pay only for the time period you actually need the equipment. But excavator rental rates can vary widely depending on the size and capabilities of the machine, length of rental, and additional factors.

How Much Does Excavator Rental Cost?

Excavators come in a wide range of sizes, power, and capabilities. You will likely spend between $200 and $,1000 per day to rent an excavator, depending on these features. Common rental classes include:

  • Mini excavators: 1-6 ton operating weight, best suited for access-limited jobs. Rent for $200-$300 per day. One of the most affordable excavator rental options.
  • Mid-size excavators: 8-15 tons, a versatile, general-purpose rental choice. $300-$500 daily rates. Offer good value for performance.
  • Full-size excavators: 16+ tons, for heavy excavation and lifting. Rent for $600-$1000+ per day. Maximum capability but higher rental costs.
  • Specialty excavators: Demolition: $400 – $1,000 per day, Long Reach: $600 – $1,200 per day, Zero Tail Swing: $350 – $550 per day. Typically higher daily rental rates are due to unique capabilities.
  • Trackhoes: Backhoe-excavator combo units. Rent for $400-$700 daily. A two-in-one rental option.


  • CAT excavators: 10-20% higher than average
  • Other major brands: Average rental rates
  • Older/used excavators: 20-40% lower than average


  • GPS equipment: Adds $50+ per day
  • Comfort cabins: Adds $70+ per day
  • Steel tracks: Adds $100+ per day

Rent1USA offers excavator rentals starting at $400 per day, with up to 40% off on long-term projects.

BigRentz provides rental costs for excavators ranging from $520 to $623 per day, depending on the size of the excavator and the duration of the rental.

DOZR lists excavator rental options in New York, NY, starting at $818 per day, with various sizes and classes available.

Be sure to get an itemized quote to understand exactly what is covered in the rental rate and where you may incur additional costs. Renting for longer terms can save you 20-60% off daily rates.

Breakdown of Rental Costs

The total rental cost for an excavator generally includes:

  • Base rental rate: The standard daily, weekly or monthly charge to rent the equipment. Rates vary greatly by the excavator model, size, features, and age. This is the primary cost factor.
  • Delivery/pickup fees: Charges to transport the excavator to and from the rental facility or job site, often ranging from $100 to $300 each way. These delivery fees can add up.
  • Insurance: Liability coverage for the excavator, typically 10-15% of the rental rate. Required by all rental companies. This extra insurance cost must be accounted for.
  • Fuel: You may pay for a full tank upfront, receiving a refund for any unused fuel. Or pay as you go for the actual fuel consumed. Fuel costs can be high.
  • Operator: Some companies include an operator with the rental for around $50/hour. Operating labor adds to the rental cost.
  • Attachments: Buckets, breakers, augers, and other attachments rented separately, averaging $50-100 per day. Attachments increase the rental price.
  • Deposit: A refundable deposit of $500 to over $1,000 may be required. This tied-up capital adds to the real rental cost.

Carefully select the right excavator size and features for your needs to avoid overspending yet get the job done efficiently.

Factors Influencing Rental Pricing

Rental Duration and Its Impact on Pricing

Longer rental terms usually offer lower per-day rates. Here are typical durations and discounts:

  • Daily: 1-7 days. No discount, highest per-day cost. Best for short one-off jobs.
  • Weekly: 7-30 days. 10-30% lower daily rate compared to daily rental. Saves money for medium-term projects.
  • Monthly: 30+ day minimum. Can yield 40-60% discount from daily pricing. Big savings for long-term rentals.

Weekly and monthly rentals allow you to maximize savings for extended projects. Always inquire about extended term discounts. Leasing the excavator for 6 months or a year can sometimes yield the lowest costs.

The Role of Excavator Size and Capabilities in Cost Determination

Larger excavators command higher rental rates, but their greater digging depth, reach, lift capacity and versatility often enable you to accomplish more with a single rental. However, oversized excavators waste money.

Key variables that influence excavator rental pricing:

  • Horsepower/operating weight – more equals higher rates
  • Dig depth – ability to dig deeper adds cost
  • Lift capacity – heavier lifting capacity increases price
  • Attachment diversity – more attachment options add cost

Carefully factor your project’s specific needs when choosing an excavator class, to avoid overkill or underpowered equipment. Consider both rental rates and work output.

Additional Costs of Excavator Rentals

Delivery and Pickup Fees

Having the excavator delivered to your job site, and picked up at rental end, typically costs $150-$300 each way.

Renting from a closer equipment rental company can help minimize delivery fees. Picking up and dropping off the excavator yourself also avoids the delivery charge. Delivery fees can become excessive for short term rentals.

Also read about the cost of a semi-truck, and a backhoe, and rent a Menards truck.

Insurance and Deposit Requirements

Excavator rentals require:

  • Insurance: Often 10-15% of the rental rate. Covers liability if damage occurs. This extra charge must be factored into cost estimates.
  • Deposit: Up to $1000 or more, fully refundable if the excavator is returned undamaged. Verify deposit amount before booking. Having cash tied up in a deposit increases real rental costs.

Take these mandatory additional charges into account when comparing rental rates between providers.

Tips for Getting the Best Excavator Rental Deal

How to Compare Rental Offers

Get quotes from multiple rental companies to find the best excavator rental rate. Rental rates can vary greatly between providers. Key points to compare:

  • Daily, weekly, and monthly rental rates. Look for extended-term discounts.
  • Delivery fees. See if they can be waived if you pick them up yourself.
  • Available excavator models, sizes, and features. Get the right equipment for the job.
  • Operator or self-operation. Add up operator labor costs.
  • Attachment selection and pricing. Compare attachment rates.
  • Fuel costs – pay upfront or as you go? Pay-as-you-go can minimize costs.

Calculate total project rental costs, not just base rates. Accurately estimate your real rental duration. Avoid companies that use bait-and-switch tactics on their fees.

Negotiating Rental Agreements

Excavator Rental InformationYou may be able to negotiate excavator rental pricing:

  • Ask about discounts for longer rental terms. Aim for 10-20% off weekly or monthly rates.
  • See if they can waive or reduce delivery fees. Even a 50% reduction helps.
  • Ask about package deals for renting an excavator plus attachments. Multi-item discounts can cut 5-15% off costs.
  • Offer to prepay total rental cost for a 5-10% discount. Prepayment benefits both parties.
  • Renting in the off-season? Request reduced rates. Slow times can yield bargains.

Booking in advance, and renting for longer terms, provides negotiating leverage for better pricing. Avoid last-minute rentals if possible. Consider older excavator models to save money.

Final Words

Estimating excavator rental costs requires factoring the size and capabilities you need, your rental duration, and additional charges such as delivery, fuel, and insurance. Larger machines have higher rates but can provide more productivity if properly matched to your requirements.

Carefully compare rental providers on both rates and fees. Negotiate for multi-item or advance booking discounts. With informed planning, you can rent an excavator very cost-effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you buy or rent an excavator?

For most homeowners and smaller contractors, renting an excavator is strongly recommended over buying. Unless you will use an excavator continuously long-term, you can save significantly by renting only for the days and weeks you need it. Rental avoids large capital investment and ongoing maintenance costs that come with ownership. Renting also provides access to newer models with the latest features for less total expenditure.

How do I know what size excavator I need?

Carefully consider the reach, dig depth, lift capacity, and attachment requirements of your specific project. Mini excavators (1-6 tons) excel in tight access. Mid-size (8-15 tons) models are highly versatile for most purposes.

Full-size excavators (16+ tons) are best suited for heavy digging and lifting but cost more to rent. Consult rental companies to match excavator capabilities and price to your planned scope of work. Rent a slightly larger machine only if it will improve productivity enough to offset higher rental rates.

How much is a cat excavator?

New Caterpillar excavators can cost $100,000 to over $500,000 to purchase – out of reach for many smaller contractors. However, you can rent a late model Cat mini excavator for around $400 a day, a mid-size Cat for $600-$800 daily, and a full-size Cat for $900-$1200 per day – a much more affordable option for short term needs.

Older used Cat models may rent for under $400/day. Rates vary by rental provider, region, and supply/demand conditions. Compare rental rates and availability from multiple dealers in your area to find a cost-effective Cat rental.

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