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How do I determine which excavating company to hire?

Contractors who work in landscaping and hardscaping, sewer and septic service and foundation repair often perform excavation services, in which they use heavy machinery to dig up or transport large or heavy items like dirt, rocks, construction materials and even trees.

Excavation for projects could range from underground water and sewer line repair or replacement; service and installation of wells or septic tanks; or backhoe service for demolition, maintenance or landscape projects.

Hiring an excavator

Licensing requirements for excavation services vary by state and municipality, as well as the type of work being done. However, count on whoever is doing the work to be in need of some type of license, as excavation equipment can be dangerous and requires specialized training.

Check with your local licensing authority on the requirements for your area.

Once you determine your state’s requirements, ask the person you are considering hiring to provide proof of licensure.

Also, require the company show proof of their liability and worker’s compensation insurance for any employees on the job. The company should also hold a bond for at least the amount of the job cost.

What to do before excavating

If you haven’t gotten the 411 on 811 yet, you need to get the scoop before you dig.

Homeowners can be responsible for damages to buried utility lines if they don’t call 811 before they dig for anything ranging from putting in a tree to regrading the foundation to a major excavation project like installing a septic system.

Call 811 several days before beginning any excavation project to have your local utility companies mark any buried lines. Not only can it save you a significant amount of money, it can prevent injury and even save your life.

Hitting a buried power line might just give you a memorable jolt, or it could cut off the power to your entire neighborhood. Imagine accidentally killing the juice to your block moments before the big game.

Avoid excavating scams

With most types of underground work, especially emergency repairs related to underground piping, sewage or septic systems, the homeowner can’t visibly see the issue. Often, the situation calls for a professional to use a video to inspect the area.

This can put homeowner’s in a vulnerable situation, as less-scrupulous companies may use a staged video as a scare tactic to sell unnecessary repair or replacement services.

Anytime a company recommends a video inspection, ask them to film a recognizable feature associated with your house first, or go with the contractor during the inspection to view the video in real time.

If a contractor says you need expensive repairwork done, get at least two more opinions to confirm the recommendation. Search Google for highly-rated excavators in your area. Talk to your neighbors. Never succumb to pressure to have work done immediately.

Anyone who offers to make a deal for your business today, should be willing to make that same deal tomorrow.