Never assume that the soil you're walking on is the same soil that you'll be digging up! In some areas, you don't even need to dig very deep before you hit rocky soil, muddy soil, or outright sand.
Trying to dig through these various types of dirt can be tricky; rocky soil is difficult to break up and can be cumbersome to lift. Muddy or overly wet soil may merely run right out of the bucket attached to a bobcat. Muddy and sandy pit walls can also collapse as you dig, making the job difficult if not impossible to complete.
A professional excavator will know how to test soil that will be dug up, to understand its overall composition better. He or she will then know the right equipment to bring, how to treat the soil to make it easier to dig, how to brace up the pit, and everything else needed to ensure they can easily drill through the dirt.
Professional excavators may have use of more equipment for digging, and which make excavating quicker and safer. For example, an excavator may use trenchers, or long and narrow digging tools that are meant to dig trenches, for excavating farms or large gardens. These trenchers are also useful for the long and narrow pits needed for plumbing pipes or irrigation pieces. Using these trenches is much quicker and more efficient than trying to dig those small rows with a cumbersome bobcat!Specialty crane arms can also be used to reach over and around obstacles. Using these arms can be much easier than trying to manage a bobcat or other equipment around landscaping trees, flowerbeds, and other such items on your property.
Cranes or backhoes with more extended arms can also make quicker and safer work of digging pits that are over soft or wet soil. The equipment with those extended arms can sit further back from the edge of a hole during digging, so it's less likely to collapse under its weight.
It's also worth noting that professional excavators may have access to heavy-duty, construction-grade equipment that requires special licensing to use. This larger equipment can often make quicker work of digging any pit or trench; in turn, you can have your new pool or outbuilding installed more quickly when you rely on a professional excavator with access to this heavy-duty equipment.
Before you begin digging on your property, you may know to call your public utilities or other such municipality and have them mark off the location of buried lines and pipes. However, these buried pieces are not the only things at risk of damage during an excavation project!As an example, you might forget about overhead lines when lifting the bucket of a bobcat, or when moving the bobcat with the bucket already elevated. You also might turn or swing the bucket or bobcat itself into something nearby, including a window of your home or garage. Even bumping an exterior wall of your home with a bobcat or other such equipment can chip outside brick, dent aluminum siding, snap decking posts, or snag shutters and pull them off the house.
An inexperienced bobcat operator might cause that equipment to "jerk" forward or backward when moving it. If the bucket is full of dirt, this can cause that soil to spill, creating an enormous mess and damaging anything that winds up under all that dirt! A professional excavator will know how to clear a dig site of obstacles and will still be very careful at all times when turning or moving. He or she will know how to operate that equipment smoothly and efficiently, avoiding spilled dirt and other such hazards.
A professional excavator cannot guarantee that something on your property won't get damaged, as even they can make a mistake when turning a digger, underestimate the weight of a load, and so on. However, if something does get damaged, they will typically have insurance to cover the cost of repairs!Keep in mind that most homeowner's insurance policies won't cover damage you cause to your home and property when making any improvements to the house or yard, and especially when taking on a project like excavating. If you were to tear up an underground utility line or public sewer pipe, you might be responsible for the cost of those fixes as well!
It's also worth noting that the insurance you purchase when you rent a bobcat or other such equipment doesn't cover damage to your property. That insurance policy typically only covers potential damage to the rental equipment, not to your house or garage. The insurance coverage maintained by a professional excavator, however, can often be worth the price of hiring them, so you know you won't face additional costs for repairing the damage you might cause to your property or public utility lines.
Digging a pit of just about any size can be dangerous if not even downright deadly. Note some hazards that often make digging and excavation more precarious than you might realize:
There is also, of course, the obvious danger of someone getting hit because of standing near a bobcat or other such equipment while it turns or backs up. A person can also slip and fall on soft or moist exposed soil and land on the bobcat, or otherwise suffer injuries.
Note a few additional benefits of hiring a professional for any excavating work on your property:
Excavating companies may be able to help with permits, calls to utility companies, and other such technical details and tasks that are needed before the excavation work begins.