Trade Secrets of The Cost of Running Plant Hire

If you are considering hiring any type of plant or tool hire equipment. The No.1 question that is asked is what is the cost? There are certainly two sides to a question such as this. First is the cost of hiring the equipment. This will include standard rates, deliveries, fuel, etc. Alternatively, there is the true cost of running plant hire.

If you are looking for a resource that is going to provide you with a zero-filter answer to the cost of running plant hire, then you have certainly come to the right place. If you are considering hiring a lot of equipment for the first time or want to gauge the running cost factors that define the overall cost. Then use the information in this resource to help you budget far more effectively.

First, let’s just make sure we are clear on what plant hire is all about.

The meaning of plant hire

Plant hire is a term given to renting earthmoving equipment from a third-party supplier. Examples of machinery that you can expect to see are such as excavators, dumper trucks, telehandlers and more. Plant hire is one of the most popular trends throughout all sectors of construction in the UK. More businesses turn to using equipment from these suppliers as a fast and efficient response to their business needs.

Costs of running plant hire

The cost of running plant hire is determined by several factors. It is essential that all these factors are taken into consideration when budgeting. It is essential that you factor all these additional costs into your project to avoid unwanted surprises. Let’s now have a closer look at these individual running costs.

Plant equipment outlay.

The first cost that you need to be aware of is for the plant machinery itself. The cost of the machinery will vary depending on the quality and supplier you choose. It is very common that larger or specialised equipment to cost more than small or standard. So, bear that in mind when choosing your supplier. The original outlay for the machinery covers you for the period it is in your possession. It is advised that you get a written quote from your supplier to ensure you have proof of the agreed rates. Most plant hire suppliers will cost their machinery plus VAT (value-added tax, 20% in the UK).

In addition, it is common for suppliers to offer long-term hire rates for machinery, which is required for vast durations.


Insurance documents for plant hire

Your insurance is the next plant hire cost you need to be aware of. Plant hire insurance is generally required no matter where you hire your machinery. This is a policy which can be set up temporarily for the duration of your hire. Meaning, if anything was to happen, you can avoid paying any hefty fines. When agreeing to hire machinery, you also take on full responsibility for the equipment while it is in your possession. Plant hire insurance is available with most business insurance policies; however, it is always best to check first.

For more information on plant hire insurance, as well as some recommendations, check out our other resource. “Plant Hire Insurance Explained”


Plant hire delivery is another factor that is essential to budget for. Having plant hire equipment delivered can have numerous amounts of benefits. Especially if cannot transport the machinery yourself. This plant hire cost can be determined when initially enquiring about the cost of machinery. There are many methods of transporting plant equipment. The gross weight of the machinery will determine the type of vehicle used to escort the cargo. It is worth noting that some extra-large machinery requires a movement notice to be submitted, which may incur additional charges.

For more information on plant hire delivery charges and the types of equipment used to do so, check out our other resource. How Much Does It Cost To Deliver Plant Hire Equipment


One of the most essential things to budget for is fuel for your plant hire equipment. It is a common practice throughout the industry for the machinery to be delivered full of fuel. Additionally, you must note that the machinery needs to be returned in the same manner, or you will incur additional fuel charges. Fuel can be a difficult aspect of plant hire to budget for, however, by choosing machinery that is more fuel efficient, you are guaranteed to make savings. It is essential that you don’t cut corners with your fuel either.

Since April 2022, the reform of red diesel, a lot of hire fleets have changed to only using white diesel. This, unlike old rebated red diesel, costs more to power machinery with. Nevertheless, failure to do so can lead to large fines and the ceasing of equipment. For more information about the new laws on rebated red diesel, check out the resource, The Transition From Red Diesel.

Cleaning charges

Another plant hire cost that you will want to bear in mind when hiring is potential cleaning charges. Machinery that has either been used with contaminated waste or is excessively dirty when returned can be susceptible to additional cleaning charges. Depending on the size and type of machinery, this cost can reach above and beyond £100 +VAT. Therefore, when it comes to budgeting, you need to bear this in mind. For some, the additional cost may be something you are prepared to pay for, whilst others may dispute it. Through upkeep of machinery can extend its lifespan and avoid any health and safety issues that could arise when operating.

Always discuss cleaning charges with your supplier before committing to an agreement on the supply of the machinery.

Operators’ wages

The final factor you will want to consider is the wages for the operator. If you are required to sub-contract or employ an additional person to operate the machinery, then this is classed as another plant hire cost. Some plant hire suppliers also offer operators too. For more information about operated and none operated plant hire, check out this resource, “Where to hire a self-drive excavator”

You can expect a fully qualified operator to expect around £18.94 per hour according to indeed 2023. (See resource for more).  All of which you need to factor in along with machinery and other factors as well. If you are hiring the machinery for your own business or purpose.

Conclusion of cost of running plant hire

In this resource, we have highlighted all the factors you should be aware of when it comes to budgeting for the cost of plant hire. When leasing plant equipment for construction, you have to watch out for lots of different things to get the most bang for your buck. It is always best to practise working closely with a plant hire supplier to determine the overall cost of the equipment you need. Not all projects require idyllic plant machinery so never rush the process.

Finding a trusted plant hire supplier that meets your needs can be a daunting task. However, if you are looking to partner with a trusted, passionate, and dedicated business, then our team at WHC Hire Services could help.

WHC Hire Services in Gloucestershire

For over 25 years WHC Hire Services has helped businesses of all sizes get the job done. With a large fleet of industry-leading plant equipment from some of the world’s biggest names, we can help make the difference your business is looking for. With internationally recognised levels of health and safety, we make it our mission to ensure everyone goes home safely at the end of a working day. See our online catalogue of plant hire machinery or call 01684377977 today for more information.

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