Homeowners and contractors can typically do a lot of their own excavating work if they decide on an excavator or earthmoving hire; these machines are often very easy to operate and many are small enough to fit onto a residential property or any such jobsite. If you've never rented or hired such machinery before, however, you need to ensure you check a few things first, rather than just assuming you need a standard bulldozer or crane for the work. Ask a rental agency about any of these steps if you need more assistance with choosing the right equipment and operating it safely.
1. Check the overhead clearance of a jobsite
You may know to check the width of any clearance that is needed by an excavator, such as space between two outbuildings or around trees and other obstructions, but may forget to check overhead clearance. Are there wires, telephone cables, low hanging branches and the like? You need an excavator with a smaller arm than a standard crane so that you don't bring those down. Note, too, that some excavators may simply need a wider clearance above them for the knuckle or other part of the arm, even if you don't think you'll need to reach the arm up so far so as to bring down those obstructions.
2. Check the moisture level of the subsoil
Even if the topsoil seems very firm and compact, you need to remember that it could have been treated with lime or clay or another substance to make it that compact, and the subsoil could be very moist. If it's muddy, it will likely just run out of a standard bucket and should be excavated with a hydrovac instead. You may also need to invest in a smaller, more lightweight excavator than you were thinking, so that its weight doesn't cause muddy soil to sink and the dig to collapse.
3. Note if a dump truck will also be needed
What will you do with all that soil once it's cleared? If you won't be needing it to fill in the pit once again, you want to get a dump truck and have it hauled away. This is one challenge to managing excavation yourself, as an excavating professional will usually have arrangements with landfills or soil recycling companies that receive their truckloads of dirt they've excavated. However, for work you'll be doing yourself, call those nearby landfills or recycling companies and note if they will pick it up, or otherwise you'll need to get a dump truck and have it hauled away.