Why Does Merchant Hunter Work?
We connect trusted sellers and buyers. Do not spend time looking for the best deal online on excavators – we will find it for you. Fill out the quick form above to get competitive price quotes from local dealers who will compete for your business.
Introduction to Excavators
Many businesses rely upon excavators to perform their daily operations. Construction, utility work, paving, landscaping and independent contractors often use excavators to help prepare land for construction projects. An excavator is one piece of equipment that can drastically reduce the cost of a job, since renting an excavator often ends up costing more in the long run. It's one of the most crucial equipment buys a firm can make to improve the efficiency of their operations. While each manufacturer defines and rates their excavators differently, there are three main types of machines available on the market:
- High-end Excavators: Over 150,000 pounds at 400 horsepower.
- Standard Full-sized Excavators: Ranging between 20,000 pounds at 75 horsepower to 80,000 pounds at 200 horsepower
- Mini Excavators: As small as 3,000 pounds at 15 horsepower and more affordable than heavier machines
Most companies will go with a standard size excavator, although the actual size of the excavator purchased depends largely on the needs of the company. High-end excavators generally go far beyond the needs of most companies, and the extra cost for these machines is generally not justified. The smaller machines are good for small projects, and can be very useful for a company that doesn't need to move large amounts of land. This MerchantHunter.com guide focuses on what you need to know before purchasing a full-sized excavator. You'll learn the following important information and techniques:
- Choosing the right size excavator for your needs
- How to differentiate between the different available features
- Finding an appropriate seller to purchase an excavator
- The general ballpark figure for how much you can expect to pay
After determining the excavator that is right for your business, you can get several quotes from excavator sellers in your area. This ensures you get the best leverage when purchasing an excavator from available sellers.
Features and Attachments
An excavator consists of three main components: Cab, engine, undercarriage, boom arm and attachment.
- The cab: This is where the operator sits. It can pivot a full 360 degrees on top of the excavators tracks. The cabs also double to help in the event of a roll over in the form of roll over protective structures (EROPS).
- The engine: A diesel engine uses propulsion power to power the tracks that the undercarriage sits upon. It also powers the hydraulic systems that run the boom arm and attachments. Older machines are exempt from meeting the EPS's Tier III emissions standards. However, newer machines must meet these requirements.
- The undercarriage: Steel tracks are included with the undercarriage to move the excavator around for greater maneuverability. The tracks are guided along the undercarriage through the use of sprockets and rollers. This helps stabilize the excavator for greater power and control.
- The boom: This is the arm that extends from the excavator. It holds the shovel and other attachment, and it connects to a stick that is connected at an elbow.
- The attachment: This is the most important part of the excavator in many ways. It's the tool that does the actual work. The type of attachment depends on the machine you purchase, but common attachments include a standard bucket that has a toothed scoop. The teeth make it possible to dig into dirt and gravel. Other types of attachments can also be added.
Buckets and Attachments
Depending on the type of jobs you engage in, you might find that you need different types of attachments. There are several different attachments that can help you get a job done more effectively. The type of bucket you use will have an impact on your project. The size and style of the bucket has an impact on your project:
- Heavy-duty and Severe: The buckets are used for rock.
- General Purpose: Less demanding work and general jobs.
- Pavement Removal: These buckets are designed to make removing payment easier.
- Tilt Buckets: These buckets let you control the angle of the bucket, and they are useful for creating grading or slopes.
- Sorting Buckets: The buckets allow you to separate large rocks and loose material from each other, and they can be useful in the beginning stages of a project.
Additional attachments can be purchased for specialized jobs. Augers can be used for boring holes in the ground. Thumbs are used for pinching and gripping at the ground. Hydraulic hammers, rakes, mulchers and rippers can be used to tear into the ground and make it easier to dig. While an excavator is usually set up for one specific task, the excavator can be set up for more than one application if necessary.
If you want an excavator that can serve more than one function, consider getting one with "quick attach" couplers. These couplers make it easier to switch between attachments quickly. Additional optional features include monitoring systems that can be programmed to adjust the hydraulic flow depending on the attachment. Power boost modes are used to balance the power available for the boom, bucket and tracks. A backfill blade may be available on a smaller excavator, and it can be attached below the boom. The backfill blade makes it easier to refill and level after digging. Additional useful, but generally unnecessary options include climate-controlled cabs, and anti-vandalism features are available for those who leave their excavators on-site.
The biggest factor you must consider is the size of the excavator you want to purchase. Getting the right size excavator for your project can help you save time and money. When deciding on the size of your excavator, keep these three considerations in mind:
- Depth: Excavators are listed with dig depths that let you know how deep the excavator can go. These depths generally range from 18 to 26 feet. The reach of the excavator is also important, since it determines how far out he excavator's arm can go.
- Weight: Lighter machines are important for jobs where you don't want to damage the existing landscape. Larger machines can be used for industrial projects where the landscape doesn't matter as much.
- Height: You're going to want to estimate the height of your dump trucks and other canisters to ensure that the excavator can extend high enough to dump your materials. Common dump heights range from 15 to 20 feet.
The size of the machine also matters, but it is less important in the greater scheme of things. If you need to get the excavator through narrow gates or between close buildings, this could become an important factor. Some projects will require the use of a smaller, more flexible excavator. When possible, choose the smallest machine that will function for your job. A larger machine is going to cost more to operate.
Newer machines use controls that can make it easier to work for extended periods of time. If you need to use your excavator for long and extended periods of time, the level of comfort is also important. Operators with more comfortable cabs tend to perform better and make fewer mistakes. The machine should also be easy to use, and the maintenance shouldn't end up costing more than the cost of the machine. Check out how easily you can access the engine and hydraulic systems. If these are hard to get to, it's going to be more time-consuming and expensive to maintain the vehicle.
Choosing a Seller
Go with a seller who can provide you with service and maintenance options after the purchase of your excavator. Ask the seller the following questions:
- The length of time they have been in business.
- Find out if they carry replacement parts for the machines they sell.
- Inquire about the number of technicians they have available to complete repairs and maintenance.
- Find out if on-site service is available. This can save a substantial amount of time and money.
- Ask about their response times and whether they are guaranteed.
- Ask to view the seller's facility.
If you can, ask to see a demo of the excavators and get references from other companies that have bought excavators. Companies that regularly work in the industry know where the best and most reliable dealers are. It's not always the price point that should be the deciding factor when purchasing an excavator, the quality of the machines and service also matter. Finally, avoid pushy sellers who seem only interested in selling you a specific model that they are trying to clear from the floor.
New excavators can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000. More expensive excavators are also available. This guide shows you what you can expect for various sized excavators.
- 20,000- to 30,000-pound excavators: Between $90,000 to $150,000.
- 33,000- to 44,000-pound excavators: Between $120,000 to $200,000.
- 60,000- to 80,000-pound excavators: Between $250,000 t0 $350,000.
One bucket is usually included in the cost of purchase. Aim to get one that matches what you'll be using your excavator for most often. Additional buckets can cost from $7000 to $5,000. If you need powered attachments, you can typically expect to pay between $5,000 to $10,000.
Buying Used and Rentals
Used machines are available for purchase and rentals can be acquired for short-term jobs. It's usually best to rent large machines if you don't use them very often and get a used, smaller machine for routine digging. Used models with about 1,000 hours of use may only cost about 25 percent less than a new model. With a used model, you also have to worry about making sure the machine is free of defects. You must evaluate a used excavator before buying. Check to see that the entire range of motion is free, and don't be sold on a machine just because it has a fresh coat of paint. Check the machine for any new welds or signs of repair. Rentals can cost between $3,000 to $8,000 per month, depending on the size of the machine.