Can I rent time on an earth mover? And maybe some earth to move?
February 28, 2007 10:18 PM   Subscribe

Backhoe filter. Is it possible to give a few hours on a backhoe or other earth mover as a gift?

My husband's childhood dream was to be a backhoe operator. Now that he is a grownup lawyer, this doesn't seem likely to happen. Seeing him look longingly at some construction guys the other day gave me an idea.

He has a birthday coming up, and I would love to get him some time to play with an earth mover. Is this possible? Is my best bet tracking down someone with property and see if we can dig and fill in a hole? Can I rent this kind of equipment? Or is this whole plan too dangerous and/or full of insurance problems that I haven’t considered to be feasible?

If it helps, we are in the Denver area.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There was a company in the UK that had sort of mini-amusement parks where people could play with construction equipment. I wouldn't be surprised if there was something similar in the US. Call an equipment rental place.

At the very least there are miniature versions that can be rented.
posted by Good Brain at 10:47 PM on February 28, 2007

Does it need to be a full-on backhoe? You can rent a mini-excavator (Cat) in a lot of places. My dad and my uncle have rented them to dig trenches and things. You'd need to know someone with some property, though.

Otherwise, you could try calling your local vocational school, heavy equipment operator training program, or even a heavy equipment rental place. of Commerce City quotes a backhoe at $225 a day. If you talk to them, perhaps they can help you out.
posted by acoutu at 10:48 PM on February 28, 2007

When I lived in Oklahoma I rented backhoes from a chain rental place called Crosslands for $200/day... it was no different from renting a U-Haul. Once it was dropped off at our house, it was ours to do with as we wished... my wife got to play with it. So I don't see this as being much of a problem and you could probably just set it up as your own rental.
posted by zek at 11:32 PM on February 28, 2007

Yeah, it's easy. Usually, they want a deposit, but try calling junk and salvage yards. A lot of 'em around here rent heavy equipment, as do hardware stores. If you're around me, anonymous, send me an email.
posted by klangklangston at 11:46 PM on February 28, 2007

Is it possible that you could schedule a home improvement project in the future? Even a one-room addition would involve, in many cases, digging a foundation for the basement. This entails days of excavation and tons of dirt -- a backhoer's paradise.

You could include terms in the builder's contract that specify a few hours of backhoe use, knocking off a few dollars in the price as "rental." The insurance end might be tricky, however.
posted by Gordion Knott at 3:18 AM on March 1, 2007

Good Brain was right, but it's in Germany. If he's a good lawyer, you could afford to fly him over there for his birthday or some other holiday. I looked quickly but could not find anything similar in the US.

You could rent one locally quite easily, but I doubt you would want to rip up your backyard so he could play with this machine.
posted by wile e at 3:53 AM on March 1, 2007

There's Diggerland, but it's in the UK.
posted by gene_machine at 4:45 AM on March 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

oh. gene_machine That is so cool. Now I have to ask my wife if I can go to Diggerland.
posted by medium format at 4:55 AM on March 1, 2007

Make sure you call before you dig.
posted by JJ86 at 5:32 AM on March 1, 2007

[erk. embedded audio file in that Diggerland link.]
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:20 AM on March 1, 2007

Package and market this longing properly, like those boar-wrestling weekends, and you've got a really good idea for a man camp ...
posted by thinkpiece at 7:35 AM on March 1, 2007

Oops, I think I meant boar hunting. Wrestling with a boar would probably take a lot shorter than a weekend ...
posted by thinkpiece at 7:37 AM on March 1, 2007

Diggerland was the UK one I was thinking of.
posted by Good Brain at 8:41 AM on March 1, 2007

We're doing a bunch of excavation, and I've rented a skid-steer loader a few times (a "Bobcat"). This would be easy if you have somewhere to dig. You want to search for "equipment rental".

Alternatively, have you considered either A) asking a friend in the construction industry, or B) just asking someone at a site if you can pay them a bit to teach him?
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 9:18 AM on March 1, 2007

You might try calling some stump removal or posthole digging places. The ones I've employed in the past used small bobcat type devices with augers or grinder attachments on the back. They might find your request amusing or odd but I bet not too odd. Everyone understands the appeal of the zamboni and backhoe.
posted by phearlez at 10:09 AM on March 1, 2007

I am almost positive that there's a place in Michigan that has a "playground for grown-ups" and lets you roam around with tractors. I remember seeing something about it on a news show a while back. And it wasn't Diggerland in the UK, it was here in the US.
posted by drstein at 10:38 AM on March 1, 2007

I know CAT in Peoria lets their starting employees operate a bunch of their different equipment as an introduction to the company. It might be worth checking out if they have some form of public access.
posted by onalark at 1:38 PM on March 1, 2007

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