How Profitable Is It to Own an Excavator?


When working in construction, you may find yourself needing an excavator more often than you think. When your excavating needs become more frequent, you may want to consider owning an excavator instead of renting one. But how much does an excavator cost per day to own? And are there sufficient opportunities to run a profitable mini excavator business?


The main reason owning an excavator might be more profitable than hiring one is to avoid the costs each time your business needs this type of machinery. Of course, it all depends on how much you are spending to hire an excavator, which changes from one state to the next. Excavator hire, on average, can cost between $220-$520 per day in NSW, depending on the brand, age, and size. This quickly adds up if you need to use an excavator daily.

It’s also important to note that a well-maintained excavator should have a lifespan of around 10,000 hours, so you need to consider how long you need to rent an excavator for each job to gauge how long it will last.

You will have to do some maths using your own data, such as how much your current rental company charges, how often you rent an excavator and the cost of ongoing service and maintenance should you buy one. If you use an excavator frequently, the costs will likely stack up to own one. In the long term, owning an excavator can remove having to pay for continued hiring costs over the years, which in turn can remove any unnecessary hassle with scheduling hires.


There is another benefit when you own an excavator instead of hiring one. You now have additional opportunities to make money by hiring your excavator out when it isn’t required – a bit like having a mini excavator business. Contracting your excavator and operators to other companies needing this equipment become potential one-off jobs, generating additional work and profits on top of your core business.

Here are some examples of how to make money with a mini excavator from contract work:

  • Preparing land for construction work
  • Unloading and loading work
  • Clean-up work
  • Digging holes for garden ponds
  • Mining site work

You have an opportunity to rent out your excavator when not in use, giving you the ability to make money again without actually doing anything! This comes with its own benefits and risks, so have a detailed look at this opportunity if it’s something you want to consider doing.


It’s important to consider all the possible costs involved with owning an excavator to protect your investment and ensure it stays as reliable as it was the day you bought it.

For one, regular and scheduled excavator maintenance is something that needs to be done by a qualified mechanic to check the vitals for any issues – and this comes at an additional cost. Of course, maintenance helps you avoid any unexpected repairs – saving on significant costs when you least need them. You’ll also need to perform routine checks yourself each time you use your excavator, which involves knowing your machine inside and out, and understanding how each part looks and operates.

Size is another factor you will want to evaluate. What size excavator best suits your needs now and long term? At YELLO Equipment™, we have mini, small, medium and large excavators in stock, so there is plenty of variety to choose from – but do your homework first before making a purchase.

One final aspect of excavator ownership to consider is whether you have the necessary skills to operate the machine. Likely, you won’t require training yourself since you’re considering buying a machine, but some of your employees might require training, and again, this costs you in time and money while they come up to speed.

To summarise, buying an excavator can be a profitable investment provided you have enough work coming in to maximise its use, or you are willing to rent it out. You must also be prepared to pay the maintenance costs required to keep it in good working condition.

Excavators are a great asset to any business, contractor, or construction team. Evaluate your needs and get in touch with us to take a look at our excavators in detail. We have brand new SANY excavators for sale in mini, small, medium, and large sizes, as well as high performing used machines.

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