Cutting the cost of your Trenchers

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Trenching is the basis of all civil engineering and groundwork. A dedicated trencher can dig the trenches you need in less time - and that means cutting your costs. But how can reduce the cost of buying your trencher?

Trenching is the basis of all civil engineering and groundwork. A dedicated trencher can dig the trenches you need in less time - and that means cutting your costs. But how can reduce the cost o buying your trencher?

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Whether you are laying a drain or cable channel, putting in foundations for a small home extension or laying out a major development, your work will involve trenches. Digging those trenches in the shortest possible time not only reduces your initial costs, it means other trades can get onto the site faster, cutting your overall construction budget.

Whether you are a specialised contractor or a general builder - or even a major construction business - you need an efficient answer for trenching.

Of course, you can use a general-purpose machine. A small excavator or a backhoe loader can be used to dig trenches, and in the hands of a skilled operator, the time costs can be drastically reduced. 

But the costs could be reduced still further, and your trenches and other small excavations could be completed in less time with a dedicated trencher.  With innovations such as global positioning.   

The different types of trencher

Trenchers exist both as attachments for other plant and as standalone equipment. Wheel trenchers, also known as rockwheels, are fitted with a toothed metal wheel and can be used in hard or soft soils. They can also be used for cutting pavements and for creating access to utilities under roads.

Depending on diameter, there can be up to ten cutting elements placed around the wheel with high-strength steel teeth, arranged in a scoop configuration for material removal. The wheel can be dropped to different levels, enables cutting of varying depths, and offers a constant soil working angle with a relatively small wheel diameter. Some use a bucket chain, some - mainly intended for very narrow trenching for cable and pipe laying - use a wheel or a pair of wheels , but most are versatile enough to be used for a variety of purposes.

Chain trenchers are chainsaw-like machines which use a digging chain or belt to cut the ground. The belt is driven around a rounded boom, the angle of which can be adjusted to control depth while a conveyor belt removes the spoil. They are able to tackle mixed terrain ground conditions with ease due to their tungsten teeth combination and produce uniformly smooth sided, flat-bottomed trenches. Minimum disruption is caused to the ground. Chain trenchers are used to cut hard ground, and are able to cut narrow, deep and wider trenches for utilities, ground heat pump systems, drainage and irrigation,, fibre optic cable and hedge and tree planting.

Chains are available in a number of different tooth configurations for trenching in soft ground, mixed grounds and even permafrost.

Inevitably, trenchers will be called in to provide work for which their particular type si not ideal. However, it is always best to get the right tool for the job, and by choosing the right trencher for your task, you can maximise the benefits.

Excavator Mounted Trenchers

An excavator can be used to dig a trench if you have a suitably-sized bucket available - but time and accuracy will still be compromised, and the finished result will depend on the skills of your operator. Excavator Mounted Trenchers are designed to mount on the digging arm of larger excavator with an adequate hydraulic power takeoff, and provide effective trench digging wherever the arm can reach. This means that, as well as standard work, they can be used over barriers, down slopes, in road verges, in canals, and in areas such as alleyways where the excavator itself could not physically fit.

Not only can a mounted trencher digs trenches up approximately ten times the speed of an excavator with a bucket, it can do so at exactly the width needed, reducing the need for spoil movement and refilling work.

Skid Steer Loader Mounted Wheel Trenchers

Skid steer loaders are versatile general construction machines, and capable of mounting large wheel trencher attachments. These can cut a narrow slot in the shortest possible time and work to depths of up to a metre as standard, providing the perfect solution for installing fibre optic and other cables in hard road surfaces - they are capable of cutting directly through most road structures without preliminary work.

Tractor Mounted ChainTrenchers

Bucket trenchers can deal with adverse and stony soil conditions and are the technology of choice for tough soil conditions. Both hydraulic and shaft PTO are available, and shaft powered models are particularly suitable for challenging soils types and awkward terrains, as they can allow tractors and vehicles - such as Unimogs - to be used as the mounting chassis, and especially those with Vario transmissions and crawler gears. 

The combination of versatility and the ability to cope with adverse conditions makes the tractor-mounted chain trencher the technology of choice for the installation of long-distance fibre optic networks.

Compact Tractor Mounted Trenchers

Compact trenching attachments are available for use on small groundsman-type tractors, of below 45HP with creeper or hydrostatic transmission. These are ideal for work on small construction sites and in constricted areas, and while speeds are inevitably slower than larger models, the compact size makes them usable when others are not, with a choice of blades or with carbide teeth to handle tough digging conditions.

Walk-behind trenchers

Walk-behind trenchers from manufacturers such as Ditch Witch provide the most compact solutions of all, with directional drills that allow cable and pipe trenches to be run in narrow spaces such as alleyway and inside structures.

Trenchers for rental business

If your business is plant rental, you will want a rugged trencher that is ready for work rather than attachments, that is forgiving enough for inexperienced users and powerful enough to tackle anything that is asked of it – while still being reliable for more work the next day. Several manufacturers including Komatsu and Hitachi offer machines optimised for the plant rental market.

Lightweight trenchers

Lightweight portable trenchers have limited capacity but are easy to handle, and can be used to instal landscape edging and irrigation lines. They use a chain or a blade, similar to a rotary lawnmower, rotating in a vertical plane.

Technology for excavators

The modern excavator has moved a long way in recent years, and can now offer sophisticated electronics with system monitoring as standard, and global positioning accurate to fractions of a metre – saving hours in surveying time on greenfield projects, ensuring that utilities run precisely to plan.

Operating and purchase costs

If you are considering buying a trencher, you will need to look at the total cost of ownership. The speed and cost of replacing cutting elements may ultimately be more important than the actual purchase price - which can run from below £5000 in the case of lightweight trenchers, to tens of thousands for larger self-propelled machines. 

Funding excavators

You may need new trenchers. Older equipment may not just be inefficient. Spare parts may be problematical and, without emissions certification, it may not be allowed to work on some sites.

Fortunately, there are ways to make new equipment affordable. Funding solutions based on Asset Finance can help you work with the latest equipment while you spread the repayments - and despite what you may believe, it is available for both new and used trenchers.

There are several types of Asset Finance that can help:

Hire Purchase – spreading the cost of buying a trencher

Hire Purchase spreads the cost of buying - letting you hire an asset until you have paid for it in full.

You pay a deposit plus fixed monthly instalments for the agreed term, which lasts between 12 and 72 months. HP is the solution for durable equipment you‘ll want to keep for long term service.

Leases - removing the capital cost of your trencher

Leasing can provide the equipment you need without the cost or commitment of buying it - or of any upfront costs.

Operating leases work like a rental agreement. You pay a monthly rental charge to use the asset. Maintenance, repairs, and registration can be the responsibility of the leasing company. Operating leases can be ideal for specialised items you may only wish to use for a particular contract.

Finance leases also let you borrow equipment for a set time, but maintenance, repairs and running costs will become your responsibility. Finance leases are common with larger high-cost assets.

Contract Hire is a specialist type of leasing arrangement often used for plant. Payments can be reduced, as they are calculated on the purchase value less the estimated residual value of the vehicle at the end of the agreement. This type of finance can be suitable for many kinds of specialised high-cost plant, including trenchers.


If you currently have a trencher or other plant under a finance arrangement, you may be able to reduce the cost commitment.

At Rangewell, we can look at your existing deal and frequently arrange refinance - a way of paying off your existing finance, by replacing your current deal with fiance from another lender, and a more competitive rate. 

It could mean a substantial reduction in your monthly outgoings.

This is known as Asset Refinance and can also allow you to release the investment you have already made in existing plant, and re-use the funds.

It works by letting you sell existing assets to a finance company, who will provide you with a cash payment which you can use as you wish. You will then make monthly repayments to buy them back - your trencher or other tool remains yours to use. 

You can continue to use the equipment while you are repaying. You can also use Asset Refinance to replace an existing funding agreement - allowing you to reduce your monthly outgoings.

Ready to find out more about Asset Refinance? Contact us now

Why you need Rangewell to set up the right finance for your trencher

At Rangewell, we know the many different ways to fund your excavators and other heavy equipment.

We also know that getting the most appropriate type of finance for your business is essential to keep costs under control.

Many lenders offer Asset Finance – but their costs vary enormously. Not all types of deals may be suitable for all circumstances. Getting things wrong could mean you pay a great deal more for the equipment you need.

Our team includes Asset Finance experts. They work with you to understand your needs and help you find the right kind of finance arrangement. Then they will help you find lenders who work in the heavy equipment sector, and who can offer the most competitive deals.

Asset Finance is essential to spread the cost of the equipment you need. When you call us, we can explain in more detail about all the different Asset Finance options - helping you see which is the right choice for your heavy equipment needs.

Whatever your business, we will help you get the excavators you need, and get them working for you - and cut the costs. 

Discover our range of finances

Every type of finance for every type of business

Our goal is very simple - to help businesses find the right type of finance as quickly, transparently and painlessly as possible.

Helping you build your profits

  • Funding tailored to your trencher needs
    At Rangewell, we can help set up funding to fit your various business needs. Working finance, asset finance and other types of lending can be tailored for different funding needs.
  • Spread the cost
    the cost of your trencher costs can be spread over months or years. You may not even need a deposit with some types of asset finance.
  • grow your business
    bring in more trenchers or other kit as you need it. Funding can keep pace with your needs as you scale up your business
  • Leasing reduces ongoing cost
    Leasing can avoid the maintenance costs associated with large machinery.
  • Avoid depreciation on your trencher
    With a lease you avoid depreciation. You don’t own equipment that is falling in value.
  • Keep your monthly outgoings under control
    . We can help you match payments to your budget.

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