Excavator contractor services

The ins and outs of hiring professionals for your excavation project.

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Whether you're putting in a pool or you have a landscaping project in the back garden, trusting it to the professionals is the best way to go.

Here are some useful tips and advice to help you find an excavator service in your area and what you need to know before you begin.

What does an excavator service do?

An excavator is someone you hire to excavate soil from a property with the intentions of building. Installing a pool or landscaping your backyard are some of the most popular reasons why you'd book an excavator, or if you're building an extension to your house and need to lay down a foundation.

Some of the services an excavator offers include:

  • Removal of topsoil
  • Placement and compaction of fill
  • Trenching
  • Backfilling
  • Proof rolling
  • Inspection and testing

How do I book an excavator?

You can search online on websites like Airtasker, Oneflare or ServiceSeeking to find a local excavator service. These sites let you compare costs from many different contractors, as well as read customer reviews to see if they're up to scratch. You can also try getting a referral from someone you know or perhaps ask a neighbour for the name of the contractor who completed their renovations.

How much does an excavator cost?

The cost for an excavator will depend on the job you want done, but the average cost ranges from $90 - $200 per hour depending on the complexity of the job.

For a 2-day job, you might expect to pay somewhere between $1,200 to $3,000 plus materials.

These prices vary depending on the experience of the contractor and how long they've been doing this kind of work. Make sure you get a site inspection and a written quote before you go ahead and hire someone.

How do I compare excavator services?

Compare at least three excavator services to see how they measure up in terms of cost, experience, qualifications, and quality. You can also compare services based on how long they think they will take to complete the job, and how conveniently their schedule aligns with yours.

How should I prepare for an excavator contractor service?

If, for instance, you are having a pool excavation, that site needs to be fully cleared and ready for the machines to come in. This is true of any site. You'll also want to make sure any pets and small children are out of the way.

Check with your contractor to see if they take care of all the building permits or if that's your responsibility. You might have to call the council to let them know, so they can issue documents like parking permits for the contractors.

It's also a good idea to let your neighbours know what you're planning to do, just as a courtesy to them and to ensure their safety as well as your own.

How long does an excavator contractor take?

An average excavation job like a basement renovation will take about 1-2 days, depending on the size of the land and the conditions. For example, steep hills and tight access points add more time, as well as muddy conditions that require the machines to work harder and slower. So bear this in mind when you're reviewing quotes.

For bigger projects like adding an extension to your house, you're looking at about 3-5 days on average.

What to consider when booking an excavator service

Experience, qualifications, trained professionals and a good track record are all things you want to look for in an excavator service. Other things to consider include:

  • The size of the site
  • The conditions of the site
  • Do you need a project plan?
  • Are the contractors fully licensed?
  • Is the company insured?
  • Are the contractors safety trained?
  • Does the company provide a free site inspection?
  • Can you get references?
  • Can you get a written quote?
  • Will they use the right machine for the job to save you time and money?
  • Does the contractor provide additional trades and services to get the job done. A one-stop shop will save you time and money.

Do I need to be home for an excavator service?

Once the job is all set up and ready to go, you'll need to be there to let the contractors into the property. Many jobs can be accessed from outside, so you won't have to be home for the whole job. It can get pretty noisy and often dusty too, so it's a good idea to vacate until the excavation is complete.

Pros and cons of using a professional excavator service

With so much riding on a job like a pool excavation, you want to trust it to the professionals. It's a big job that requires different levels of expertise and workmanship that only someone in the trade will understand.

For instance, you might need to have the ground tested before, during and after the project. In addition, you'll need to get building permits and licenses before you begin.

Let's look at some of the pros and cons of excavator contractors:


  • Quality work by trained professionals
  • Quicker than doing it yourself
  • Safety insured work


  • Costs more than doing it yourself

If you're considering major renovations to your house and you've already budgeted for it, then hiring an excavator service to do all the grunt work and prepare the ground is your best option. It's quicker, safer and more cost-effective.

Frequently asked questions about excavator services

Are there any safety measures to consider when booking an excavator service?

Not only should all the contractors be safety trained in WHS, but the whole site needs to observe safety measures to avoid accidents and not disturb the foundation of the house.

Do excavator contractors need a special licence?

Yes, trained professionals will have their excavating/construction licence and follow industry standards and regulations set out by the Building Act and National Construction Code.

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