Buy Vs Hire a Mini Digger

If you are considering getting your hands on a mini digger this year, then you’re likely to have some questions on how to do so. Mini diggers have been the answer to speeding up heavy lifting and earthmoving projects for some years now. Only to become one of the most sort out pieces of plant hire equipment throughout the world. Yet still, the question remains… should you buy or hire a mini digger? In this exclusive resource, we will help you cover all the grounds to help you decide which method of equipment acquisition is best for you. By the end of “buy vs hire mini digger,” you should clearly understand the best course of action for you and your business.

Let’s start by looking at the different ways you can buy or hire a mini digger.

Ways to purchase: Buy vs hire a mini digger.

Even during the toughest financial times, manufacturers and suppliers are trying to make purchasing mini diggers easy and more cost-effective in the long run. Let’s have a closer look at these options and understand how they work. Please note, this resource is just an overview and does not offer any direct financial advice.

Outright Purchase

An outright purchase of a mini digger is one of the most favourable options for a business. By purchasing the machine outright, the machine completely belongs to you, and there are no further ties with the manufacturer. Outright purchases are a large capital investment initially, however, look to reap rewards in the long run.

Large investments like mini diggers are not always possible, especially if you or your business is responsible for just yourself. In this case, there are multiple other ways to purchase a mini digger.

Loan Purchase

A loan purchase is different from an outright purchase. When you agree to purchase a mini digger on an agreement like this, the total value of the machine will be segmented into equal payments over an agreed term. This could be 3 or even 5 or more years. Additionally, these loan purchases come with an interest rate. Therefore, the total amount will cost more than purchasing the machine outright, however, may be more manageable in the long run.

During your loan purchase, the machine is completely your responsibility. However the finance provider, or bank, technically owns the machine. Failure to keep up with payments will resort in the machinery being ceased and removed from your procession. The loan on the equipment can generally be paid off at any point without penalty. (Provider dependant)

Contract Purchase Hire

Contract purchase hire of a mini digger is a completely different angle to owning or obtaining machinery. Unlike having a loan for the mini digger, contract purchase hire (PCP) is an agreement between the purchaser and the manufacturer to lease the machinery for a period. This can be anywhere up to 3- 5 years, but at the end of this period, the machinery is returned to the manufacturer.

PCP purchases have a number of terms of use with them and at no point does the machine belong to the person taking the contract out. These types of contracts are ideal if you want to keep costs low and widespread across a long period. Before choosing a contract like this, you should always seek professional advice.

Second Hand

The last way to buy a mini digger is to purchase the machinery second-hand. Second-hand machinery is often a market that many businesses may venture into throughout their lifetimes. Why? Generally, because of the cost saving. You can purchase second-hand mini diggers from a lot of dealerships or on websites such as eBay, Autotrader and more.

Most second-hand machines will have been well run-in. Therefore, it is essential to find a machine that is reliable, well-maintained and has low hours. This is the best recipe for success. Once purchased, the machinery is solely your responsibility. When choosing to buy second-hand, there is generally no support from the manufacturer unless previously agreed.

Now that we have looked at all the options and ways of purchasing a mini digger, let’s look at the option of hiring instead.

Mini digger hire: Buy vs Hire mini digger

Mini digger buy or hire

Hiring a mini digger has become one of the most popular ways for businesses to acquire their machinery in the modern age. This is normally because businesses like to have the flexibility of owning and using a mini digger.

Hiring a mini digger involves a temporary contract between the user and the supplier. This simply states that the user will be charged (X) per day to use a mini digger. This contract can be started and ended at any point. Once ended and fees have been paid, there are no further financial ties.

During a hire period, the responsibility of the machinery is in the hands of the user. However, the machinery will be covered for breakdown by your hire supplier. Most reputable mini digger hire suppliers will have in-house engineers if there are any mechanical defects.

Note, however, a supplier will cover operators for mechanical breakdowns. However, it is up to the user to provide their own insurance for accidental damage and theft.

There are two different types of mini digger hire you can expect to see when you look on the market.

Non-operated plant hire (self-drive)

Self-driven operated plant hire is the most popular option for most businesses out there. When hiring a mini digger in this manner, you are going to receive your machinery, an overview of the machine and how to operate it and then it’s down to you. Mini diggers that are hired like this are either delivered or collected from a supplier of your choice. This method is by far the more cost-effective way to hire a mini digger.

Operated plant hire (with operator)

Operated mini digger hire works slightly differently from self-drive. Instead of hiring just a mini digger, you also receive an operator with the machine at the same time. These operators are highly qualified and experienced in using the machinery. This method of hiring a mini digger is far more expensive, however, can work for some operations.

For more details on the differences between these two methods of obtaining a mini digger, you can check out our resource Where To Hire A Self-Drive Excavator” here.

Pros of buying a mini digger: Buy vs hire a mini digger

Choosing to purchase a mini digger can have many benefits for a business such as

Owning your equipment

Purchasing a mini digger gives you full control of what you do with the machinery. You have a choice of when to purchase and update any aspect of it. All resulting in a valuable asset towards your business’s accounts.

Not relying on others

Some businesses prefer not to rely on others to provide them with a mini digger. This could be due to a lack of trust or unwillingness to negotiate other businesses’ working hours. Not relying on others puts owners in the driving seat of when equipment can be used or even transported.

How it looks

Having your mini digger can be seen as a positive for the success of your business. From an outsider or customer’s point of view, a business that can afford its machinery can be seen as a profitable one. This can build additional trust between you and potential customers.

Cons of buying a mini digger: Buy vs hire a mini digger

Besides the pros that come with purchasing your own mini digger, it will come with its cons:


Downtime is costly. When you purchase a mini digger and it is not working and earning you money, it is costing you. This is more apparent when mini diggers are on CPH or on a Hire lease contract. Ensure if you commit to purchasing equipment that you have enough work to justify it.


Mini-digger transport logistics can be a nightmare. Especially if you are managing multiple machines across the country. This may require further staffing/employment to ensure equipment deliveries, movement notices and logistics are completed on time.


Purchasing a mini digger is not a cheap activity. The overall costs can exceed all expectations when not all factors are taken into consideration. Don’t leave any stone unturned especially when it comes to analysing your budgets.

Running costs

In addition to the purchasing, storage and logistics, are the running costs of a mini digger. Regular servicing and inspections all need to be funded to ensure the machine(s)  don’t t let you down on site. A new replacement mini digger can be extremely costly and can force you and your business into finically unstable waters.

Machinery development

Mini diggers are ever-evolving. This year’s releases will inevitably become old technology within a few years. With the constant development of machinery, purchasing equipment could put your productivity levels down year on year. Using the latest machinery can ensure you remain as productive as possible.

Pros of hiring a mini digger: Buy vs hire a mini digger

Equipment Quality

The equipment quality of hired mini diggers can be exceptional value for money compared to purchasing a brand-new or 2nd hand. Hire equipment is required to go through a large amount of testing before being redeployed to its next location.


Instead of just purchasing one size of mini digger, you can be far more flexible. Hiring your machinery allows you to spread your opportunity over a larger selection of different digger sizes that may be more suitable to the specific task at hand.


All mini diggers must be serviced, and in some cases need to be annually tested. People choose to use hire diggers because by doing so, they cut out the servicing, labour and upkeep costs. Instead, they benefit from a piece of machinery that is ready to work for whatever period it is required to do so.


What happens when you break down…? Support is key in construction, however, support with mini diggers is not free of charge when it comes to owning your equipment. Businesses choose to hire these machines because they get the security that if something goes wrong. It will be fixed asap, with no additional cost and requires no man-hours to do so. Generally, customers who choose to hire benefit from a replacement machine if something is to go wrong. Allowing operators to continue and stay on track.

Delivery/ Logistics

A large challenge of owning a mini digger is transporting it. These logistics are key to any successful construction business. However, this requires a lot of time and even additional employees. Another reason why businesses choose to hire as all delivery and logistics can be included in one cost.


The final benefit to hiring a mini digger is its affordability. Mini diggers, even in 2023 during a cost-of-living crisis are affordable to hire. With rates starting as low as £75.00+vat you catapult your project’s efficiency with a small investment. This makes it easy to also charge directly to a project, ensuring you are not out of pocket.

Now that we have exposed all the benefits of hiring a mini digger, let’s have a look at some of the drawbacks.

Cons of hiring a mini digger: Buy vs hire a mini digger

Not owning the equipment

For some, being able to own a mini digger is something that they would feel more confident with. As we mentioned previously, a mini digger can be financially beneficial to a business, providing there is enough work to cover the costs. Owning a mini digger allows you to have complete control of when and where it goes, as well as how it is used. When hiring equipment, you will not have as much control in that sense.

Additional insurance

Additional insurance is generally required when using plant-hire equipment. In the case of a mini digger, there are two options a business can do. First is to check that their public liability insurance covers them for “hired in” plant. If not, this can be added to the business’s premium or a temporary cover can be taken out if required. Regardless, specialised insurance is an additional cost on top of a hire. Which, for some can be seen as a drawback. For more information on plant hire insurance, click here to read “Plant hire insurance explained”.

Working with a 3rd party

Relying on a 3rd party or outsider company can be seen as a drawback to some businesses. This means that equipment can only be made available during set times. Resulting in slower response times if a mini digger is required. Not every business sees this as a drawback. However, it is worth considering if you require equipment 24hr a day.

Should you buy or hire a mini digger?

In conclusion to “buy vs hire a mini digger”, there are many factors to consider when choosing a mini digger for business. It is worth taking all the pros and cons into consideration when choosing the right method for you. Finding the right supplier of machinery that you need can also be challenging. For further help with choosing the right plant hire company to work with, check out this resource How To Choose The Right Equipment Hire Company Near Me?”

If you are looking for short- or long-term mini digger hire, WHC Hire Servicescould be the right plant hire company to help. With 25 years of experience of delivering the highest quality machinery, we know what it takes to operate in today’s busy workplace. All our mini diggers have been hand-selected to meet the needs of our clients. We only provide equipment that is less than 48 months old, meaning you will be at the wheel of a mini digger you can trust to deliver. Check out our range of mini diggers we have to offer hereor give us a call to discuss your requirements on 01684377977.