Are you looking to get excavation work done? Are you a bit lost about how to go about it?

You might be wondering, in particular, whether you should be renting equipment or going with some professional excavating contractors.

Well, in the first place, excavation is pretty serious business, which means it’s often best to go with the professionals. But, when it comes to hiring excavating contractors, it’s not a simple case of picking up the phone and calling the first one you find in the telephone book.

If you were to do that, you might end up being very surprised by the results.

To help you out, we have put together the ten most eye-oping facts be aware of when you are hiring excavating contractors. So, read on if you want to ensure you experience the surprise now, rather than halfway through your dig.

1. You Can’t Assume They All Have Permits

You might assume that someone with a hydrovac truck has everything in order to be doing earthmoving work. But you’d be wrong.

There are always going to be some rogue operators out there. Perhaps they used to have a permit but lost it or didn’t get it renewed. Or, less likely, they might just be attempting to get by without one.

2. You Might Be Liable If They Don’t

If your excavating contractor is operating outside the law, that will obviously be an issue for them. But it could also end up hurting you.

Depending on where you are located, you could also be personally responsible if you contract with excavators who don’t have the right permits and qualifications.

3. You Might Need One Too

Although you aren’t the one driving the earthmoving truck, it may be the case that you need a permit to get the work done. Usually, there are laws and regulations step up by state and local jurisdictions to cover different types of building permits.

You will need to check what the laws and regulations are in your local area, but there is a universal methodology you can follow to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.

4. Safety Is Something You Need to Consider

Once again, you might think that when you sign the contract, your earthmoving contractor is the one who takes responsibility for everything. Not the case.

Particularly if you own the property where the work is being done, you most likely have legal obligations to ensure everything happens safely. Obviously, you won’t be liable if your excavator makes their own mistakes, but you might be liable if you haven’t informed your excavator about certain things, or if there is something unsafe about the property itself.

5. You May Need a Surveyor

To make sure you take charge of excavation safety, you may need to contract with a separate surveyor. The surveyor can assess the land where the excavator is working to make sure it is safe to work on.

You don’t want the hydrovac falling into loose earth.

6. The Right Tools Are Better Than the Best Tools

If you are looking to get the best possible work done, you need to be thinking about how to dig smart. That doesn’t mean you just pay for the biggest and most expensive excavator to come in.

It may mean you need a smaller truck or a team of trucks.

Talk to your excavating contractors and let them know your needs. If they are worth their money, they will explain exactly what equipment is needed and more importantly why.

7. Excavators Can Do More Than Dig

If you want to get the most out of your excavating contractors, you should work out what service they are capable of providing. Many excavators have the capacity to do things like preparing lots for new constructions.

This might involve packing the earth, knocking down existing structures, digging trenches, and so forth.

8. Preparation Will Save You Money

There are certain things that you can do to save yourself money when dealing with excavating contractors. You will likely be paying them on a daily or hourly rate, which means they might be happy to turn up on the day and spend a few hours asking you questions.

To avoid this, ask them what it is they need from you well before the dig date. Then, take the time to prepare everything so that when the time comes they just start digging.

9. Your Excavator Is Likely to Have Some Insight

You have an idea of what you want to be done and how your excavating contractors will do it. But you should consider, also, that your contractor might have a wealth of experience that you could draw on.

Don’t get caught up in directing your contractor—listen to him or her as well. It might save you time and money, as well as leaving you with a better end result. Ultimately, by creating a personal relationship and working as a team, the project will also be a lot more enjoyable.

10. Excavators Break Down

Excavators are pretty tough machines, but because they do so much hard work, they can break down sometimes. You need to factor this into whatever time schedule you have for your build or other work.

Also, make sure it’s clear before the dig date that you won’t be paying for days or hours when the excavator isn’t operational.

Get to Know Your Excavating Contractors

What you’ve hopefully gained from these ten facts about excavating contractors is that you really need to be personally engaged in any project you set up.

It might be tempting to just hand over the money and expect the contractors to do the work. But, while this might work, you are going to have a far better outcome if you are personally engaged with them.

Other than that, get digging!

If you’ve found these facts helpful, why not check out some of our other great articles on construction topics.

Rich Seigel - Author

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