Plant Hire FAQs

Plant Hire FAQs

PlantClassifieds answer some of the most commonly asked plant hire FAQs.

Answer: Plant Hire comes from the verb “to plant.”

Plant Hire is a term used in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other English-speaking countries to refer to the hire of equipment and machinery and not the hire of florae and flowers. The name comes from the verb ‘to plant’, and the machinery or heavy objects are ‘planted’ on the ground when used, similarly to plants.

Another term for plant hire is equipment rental, often used in America, whereas according to Google Trends, the use of both terms is almost split 50/50 in Europe.

Answer: Plant hire refers to renting out construction equipment, such as excavators, bulldozers, dumpers, telehandlers, cranes and more, to contractors and other companies in the construction, mining, demolition, groundworks, landscaping, waste management, recycling, timber, scrap metal, crushing, and screening industry.

Hiring plant machinery is a convenient and cost-effective option for companies to access the equipment they need for specific projects without purchasing and maintaining it.

Plant hire companies typically have a wide range of equipment available for rent and can provide transport, support, and maintenance services as needed.

Equipment rental also offers flexibility and choice to hire the right equipment for each project and the ability to off-hire the machine when you no longer need it, saving on storage costs.

The termmini digger is used in the United Kingdom to describe a small excavator. These excavators are small, compact, and agile, they weigh between 0.8 and 4 tonnes and are used for digging trenches, holes, foundations, and loading site dumpers.

Mini is used to refer to something small version of something and the term “digger” is a colloquialism that is commonly used in the United Kingdom to refer to excavators.

The answer is no, you do not need a licence to operate a excavator in the United Kingdom on private construction sites, on private land or access roads.

Nevertheless, the operator needs to be competent and trained on the use of the excavator and have read and understood the operator’s manual.

However: If the excavator is being used on public roads in the United Kingdom a driver’s licence is required.

The Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) is ultimately responsible for providing and maintaining a safe work environment and ensure that the operator is competent to operate the digger.

Plant Hire Tip:

All construction sites require a NPORS or CPCS excavator 360-degree ticket to operate a telehandler on a construction site. NPORS or CPCS training centres are listed on our site.


A valid UK Driving Licence to Operate a Digger Excavator on Public Roads.

A valid UK Driving Licence is Not Required to Operate a Digger Excavator on Private Land.

Find out more about operating a excavator in the workplace on website.

Yes, you do need insurance to hire plant in the United Kingdom. Your insurance policy should cover loss or damage of hired in construction plant that covers the value of the plant in the United Kingdom.

Make sure you insure your plant for its full value to avoid any shortfall should something unforeseen occur.

When you hire plant, you become responsible for loss or damage to the equipment. Plant hire insurance covers you for these risks,

Plant hire insurance cover includes cover for excavators, diggers, rollers, dumpers, forklift trucks, access equipment, lighting equipment, dozers, telehandlers, attachments and more.

Find a plant hire insurer near you.

Plant Tip:

Typically, the most cost-effective option is to get hired in plant insurance from your insurance broker.

Ensure that the hired in plant insurance covers the value of the hired in plant machinery’s full value. Some plant hire contacts stipulate replacing like for like with new plant. 

Most hire companies offer hired-in-plant insurance at a premium. (Usually about 10-15% of the weekly hire rate)


Plant Hire Insurance is a requirement when hiring a digger.

Plant hire insurance usually covers accidental damage, fire and theft anywhere in the UK.

It is essential to read and understand the terms and conditions of your insurance policy to ensure that you are aware of what your policy covers.

It is always a good idea to shop around and compare quotes from multiple insurers to find the best coverage for your needs and budget. 

Consider purchasing additional insurance protection, such as a damage waiver, which can help cover the cost of damages that may not be covered under your standard insurance policy.


Listing your business on PlantClassifieds Directory listing service:

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    Increase your website’s visibility and organic search traffic
  • Generate leads and sales for your business
  • All leads go directly to you and you alone

There are no specific minimum age requirements to operate plant in the United Kingdom however operators must be competent. The exception is if you are working in a port, then you must be at least 18 years old.

Plant hire has several benefits for companies looking for equipment to rent. Some of the main advantages of plant hire include the following:

  1. Cost savings: Hiring plant machinery can be more cost-effective than buying it outright, especially for companies that only need the equipment for a short period or for a specific project.
  2. Flexibility: Renting equipment allows companies the convenience of accessing the equipment they need on an as-needed basis, which can be helpful for companies with fluctuating workloads or needing to adapt to changing project requirements. 
  3. Convenience: Renting equipment can be more convenient than owning it because it eliminates the need for companies to worry about storage, maintenance, finance payments and other issues associated with owning equipment.
  4. Access to a broader range of equipment: Plant hire companies typically have a wide range of equipment available for rent, which can be helpful for companies that need specialised equipment or that want to try out different equipment before committing to a purchase.
  5. Transport: Plant hire companies often subsidise the delivery and collection of their equipment as part of their hire packages. Reduced transport costs can be convenient and cost-effective for companies to access the necessary equipment.
  6. Support and maintenance services: Plant hire companies provide breakdown support and maintenance services as part of their rental packages, which can be helpful for companies that need more expertise or resources to maintain the equipment themselves.

When hiring equipment from a plant hire company, you will be responsible for paying for any damage to the plant during the hire period. The plant equipment is the property of the plant hire company, and it is your responsibility to take care of it while it is in your possession. Most plant hire companies will have detailed terms and conditions outlined in their rental agreement regarding damages, so it is essential to read and understand these before hiring plant machinery. In some cases, you may be able to purchase insurance to cover any accidental damages to the hired-in plant, but this will depend on your policy. It’s a good idea to read your policy carefully and ask your insurance provider any questions about the terms and conditions. Understand what is covered and what is not, and ensure you have the protection you need in case of an accident or other unforeseen event.

Plant hire services involve renting or leasing heavy machinery and equipment to businesses or individuals for a specific period.

Hiring plant machinery can be a cost-effective solution for small businesses that only need to use certain types of equipment on a temporary or sporadic basis.

You can hire various plant and equipment, including excavators, diggers, telehandlers, site dumpers, bulldozers, cranes, skid steer loaders, forklifts and more. Some plant hire companies may also offer specialized equipment for specific industries, such as concrete pumps for construction, stump grinders to remove those hard-to-dislodge tree stumps or farm machinery for agriculture.

When looking for plant hire services for your small business, it’s essential to consider all the following factors:

  1. The type of equipment you need: Make sure the plant hire company has the necessary machinery required for the job.
  2. The duration of the hire: Determine how long you need to use the equipment and find a plant hire company that can accommodate your needs.
  3. The cost of the hire: Compare prices from different plant hire companies to ensure you get the best value for your money.
  4. The reputation of the company: Research the plant hire company’s reputation and ensure they have a good track record of providing reliable equipment and excellent customer service.
  5. The terms and conditions of the hire: Carefully review the terms and conditions of the hire agreement to ensure you understand any additional fees or charges that may apply.
  6. Transport: Find a plant hire company near you to reduce transport costs and your carbon footprint. Plant hire transport costs vary and depend on the size of the equipment, the distance it is being transported, the type of vehicle used, and any additional services required.

Considering all these factors, you can search on PlantClassifieds Directory for the right plant hire company near you to provide the equipment you need at a reasonable price and with excellent customer service.

Yes, most plant and equipment are delivered full of fuel.

Your hire cost only includes fuel if you specifically ask to hire it at a “wet rate”, but this is the exception to the rule. You should return the machine full of fuel. If not, the plant hire company will charge you to refill the tank.

Ask your plant hire company for their diesel charge per litre so that you can work out the most cost-effective option for refuelling.

It’s important to note that the requirements for plant hire cash sale identification and documentation may vary from one plant hire company to another. 

The most common forms of identification documents required:

  1. Driver’s license or passport
  2. Debit or credit card
  3. Utility bill: 
  4. Business registration, if applicable
  5. Plant hire insurance

For a more in-depth look into forms of ID required for a plant hire cash sale?

A green flashing seatbelt beacon is a safety device required on UK construction sites and designed to alert other road users and workers to the presence of diggers, dumpers and other plant equipment to indicate that operator is wearing a seatbelt.

The beacon is mounted outside the plant equipment and flashes green, indicating that the seatbelt is fastened.

Learn more.

A purple beacon on a digger or other heavy machinery typically indicates that the electronic slew restrictor is in use.

The electronic slew restrictor is a safety feature that limits the movement of the machine’s arm or bucket. A flashing purple beacon is a visual signal to anyone working in the vicinity that the restrictor is active and the machine’s arm or bucket movement is restricted.

The flashing alert is to help prevent accidents or injuries that may occur if the arm or bucket were to move unexpectedly.

It is crucial for anyone working around heavy machinery to be aware of the meaning of different coloured beacons and to follow proper safety protocols when operating or working near such equipment.

Amber flashing amber beacons are often used on slow-moving vehicles, such as construction vehicles (excavators, diggers, telehandlers, rollers and dumpers), road maintenance vehicles and agricultural equipment, to alert other drivers that the plant vehicle is moving slower than regular traffic.

A flashing beacon is a visual warning to anyone working in the vicinity of the machinery that it is in use and to be cautious around it. It is vital for anyone working around plant machinery to be aware of the meaning of different coloured beacons and to follow proper safety protocols when operating or working near such equipment.

Reversing alarms, also known as backup alarms, have become increasingly popular on plant machinery, such as site dumpers, wheel loaders, compaction rollers, dozers, and telehandlers, to alert nearby construction workers and other road users when the machinery is reversing.

White noise alarms produce continuous, high-pitched sounds and are less jarring or startling than traditional reversing alarms, whereas traditional reversing alarms typically produce a series of beeps or tones.

There is debate about whether white noise alarms are safer than traditional reversing alarms. Some people argue that a white noise alarm’s continuous, the high-pitched sound is more effective at alerting nearby workers and other road users of the machinery’s movement, as it is more distinctive and less likely to be ignored or overlooked. While others argue that traditional reversing alarms are more effective, as they are more familiar and easier to recognise.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of a reversing alarm will depend on the specific circumstances and the people in the area. Keeping reversing alarms in good working order is vital to ensure that they effectively warn people of the plant’s movement. Audible alarms should be loud enough to be heard over the background noise, and flashing warning lights can be used to supplement the alarm or as an alternative in environments where the alarm might not be noticeable.

In addition to installing and maintaining reversing alarms, it is also essential for vehicle operators to be aware of their surroundings and take appropriate precautions when backing up, such as looking behind the vehicle and using mirrors to check for pedestrians or other objects.

For more information see the Highways England plant and equipment guide.

We have compiled a comprehensive troubleshooting checklist to ensure that your Kubota mini digger starts.

Yes, many plant equipment hire companies offer short-term hires for plant equipment for a specific project or period.

It is best to discuss your specific hire duration and equipment needs with the hiring company to determine availability and pricing, as it can differ from company to company.

  • Typically plant hire companies charge the following hire rates for short periods:
  • 1-day hire *typically (50% of the weekly hire rate)
  • 2-day hire *typically (75% of the weekly hire rate)
  • 3-day hire *typically (100% of the weekly hire rate)
  • Weekend hire *typically (75% of the weekly hire rate)
  • Weekly hire *(100% of the weekly hire rate)

Yes, with self-drive plant hire, VAT is charged at the standard rate.

With operated plant hire, the VAT liability depends on the type of work the plant or machinery is used for. This supply can be zero-rated when supplied during the construction of a zero-rated building. For more information, please visit the HMRC website.

A folding ROPS (Rollover Protection System) is an engineered steel reinforcement frame fitted to plant equipment to reduce crushing and provide a safety zone for an operator in a rollover event.

The foldable feature allows access when lower clearance is necessary and can quickly return to the upright position once the low-hanging obstruction has been cleared, like doorways and is also used to transport the plant to avoid low-hanging bridges, cables, etcetera. ROPS is typically fitted to mini diggers, excavators and dumpers and can form part of the plant’s canopy.

Roll-Over Protective Structures (ROPS)are safety structures on plant machinery and self-propelled equipment that protect the driver or operator protection from roll-overs.

Falling-Object Protective Structures (FOPS) are mesh sheeting structure that protects from accidental falling objects, like branches, rocks and hay bales.

This clause in the rental agreement (CPA and HAE) states that the customer (you) will be responsible and liable for any loss, damage, or theft of the equipment (Hire Goods) until the equipment has been collected by the supplier (the plant hire company).

However, suppose the supplier needs to collect the equipment within five working days (seven days) of the customer informing them that the equipment is ready for collection. In that case, the supplier will be liable for any loss, damage, or theft after that point.

Be cautious when handling and storing the equipment while it is on your property/site, and notify the supplier as soon as you have finished using it and it is ready for collection. It is worthwhile to clean the plant and digger out the tracks if muddy. It is advisable to take pictures of the equipment before returning it to the supplier.

Keep a record of the communication with the supplier for future reference and ensure that the equipment is adequately secured and protected from potential hazards.

The old rule of thumb was that the weekly hire rate for plant machinery rental works out to 1% of the capital rate of the machine.

Capital Plant Cost £50000 x 1% = £500 weekly hire rate.

Due to improved reliability of machines, higher resale values of plant and competitive nature of the sector the weekly hire rates have been squeezed and you generally are able to hire plant at a lower rate than 1%.

To view current listed plant hire rates search and compare plant rates in your area.

Find Plant Hire Rates Near You

Auxiliary hydraulic systems deliver hydraulic flow from an excavator, backhoe loader, skid steer and telehandler hydraulic pump to operate heavy construction attachments, such as breakers, brush cutters, tilt buckets, augers, compactors, grapples, processors and shears. The system includes external fluid fittings and valves specifically configured to control hydraulic fluid supply and accommodate different plant machinery requirements. Auxiliary hydraulic systems are also referred to as auxiliary hydraulics, hydraulic kits, wet kits and plumbing kits.

Quick Hydraulic Couplers allow excavator operators to change between various attachments, such as hydraulic hammers, steel or concrete shears, sorting grapples, pulverisers, and hydraulic magnets, within a few seconds from the comfort of the cab.

Quick hydraulic couplers are also known as Fast Oil Connection or Automatic Quick Couplers.

Benefits: Quick hydraulic couplers improve health and safety and enhance productivity.

No, from 1 April 2022, it will be illegal to use red diesel in plant and machinery used for construction work.

However, operators can continue using red diesel for plant and machinery hired to clients if used solely for agricultural or forestry purposes.

Answer: Micro Diggers are ideal diggers for tight access requirements. The popular Kubota K008-5 has a width of only 700cm (tracks retracted), an 1720mm digging depth and a fold-down roll-over bar, and these machines, with their retractable tracks, can go through doorways and tight alleys and get to most places a person can get through.

Kubota K008-5 Specifications 
Machine Weight (kg) 900
Engine output (kw)7.6
Max Dig Depth (mm)1720
Max Reach Ground Level (mm)3020
Maximum Dumping Height (mm)2035
Cab Height (mm) *excluding beacons2260
Max width Tracks Retracted (mm)700
Max width Tracks Extended (mm)860
Transport Length (m)2.75
Transport Height (m)2.26
Rubber Shoe Width (mm)180
Bucket width (m)0.368
Dozer Size (width x height mm)860 x 324
Bucket Capacity0.022
Fuel Tank Capacity (L)12
Travel Speed (Km/h)2
Ground Pressure (kPa)24.3
Maximum Arm Digging Force (kN)9.8

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