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What You Should Do Before Returning Your Dry Hire Equipment

Finished with your excavator and ready to return it to the hire company? Before you do, here’s a list of basic things to check to ensure it’s in the condition that you borrowed it in and that you won’t be charged any additional fees.

Document pouch

There is a document pouch on every machine (usually in the cab) which contains all the relevant paperwork including registration papers, service history, risk assessments and a pre-start checklist. You will refer to several of these documents when you hire the excavator, so make sure you return them all to the pouch when you are finished.

Fire extinguishers

Almost every piece of heavy machinery will have at least one fire extinguisher onboard and some of the bigger ones will have more, with one in the cab and one where it can be accessed externally. These will usually be dry powder extinguishers suitable for tackling most kinds of fires including class A (solids), class B (liquids) and class C (gases), so check that they are where they should be and are firmly mounted in their brackets.

Free Download – Dry Hire Equipment Returns Checklist

LED beacons

Most heavy machinery has one or more flashing and/or rotating LED beacons on the outside of the cab to warn bystanders of danger and you should test these prior to returning the excavator to ensure they are intact and working correctly. If they aren’t, make a note to inform the hirer, as they are potentially non-compliant without them.

First aid kit

This is mandatory equipment with any heavy machinery and should be located somewhere inside the cabin in an easily accessible position. If the box has been opened while you were using the excavator, you should double check that it still contains all the basic requirements and replace anything that may be missing. Basic contents should include plasters, bandages, scissors, tweezers, thermometer, antiseptic, eye wash and painkillers plus a basic first aid manual.


The emergency stop button is hard-wired into the machine, but it can still come off or stop working, so be sure to test it while the excavator is still running to determine that it is operating correctly and will cut off the engine in an emergency.

BSP caps

BSP caps should be checked to ensure they are in place and securely fitted. Check the operator’s manual for details.

Bucket teeth

If your excavator has a bucket attachment, check that all the teeth are present and fully intact. Teeth are relatively easy to replace and some spares may have been included with the attachment. If so, replace any missing ones or if there are no spares available, make a note to inform the hire company when you return the excavator to them.

Fuel tank

Ensure that the excavator has a full tank of diesel before it goes back to the hire company, because as with a rental car, if the hirer has to top up the tank themselves, they will charge you a premium for doing so.


Worksites can be very dirty environments, so if your operator has tracked muddy boots into the excavator cab, take the time to clean up before you return it. Also remove any litter from the cab such as food wrappers and drink containers and wipe down the seat and controls ready for the next operator.


Good etiquette when hiring heavy machinery is also to wash the equipment down with a high pressure hose after use. While this is not compulsory, if you have been using your excavator on a particularly dirty or muddy worksite, it is common courtesy to give it a clean before returning it to the hire company.

The golden rule is to return your equipment in the same condition as it was delivered to you. That way you will avoid any potential surcharges which might be applied and will cover your own liability for any problems.

You may wish to use your mobile phone to take a few photographs when you first hire your excavator, so if there are any small signs of damage, you can prove they were there before you took delivery.

If you hire from a reputable company such asSolution Plant Hire, you can rest assured your excavator has been thoroughly checked and tested and is ready to go to work.

Get a quick quote online with us today, or contact us at Solution Plant Hire if you have any queries.

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