New to bidding work with crane rental. Curious about your thoughts....

Sfoppema

Well-Known Member
Location
Central MA
Have been in business 5 years and very rarely rent crane. I'd rather stay in my lane and leave the crane work to the guys who own their own crane, which in my area there are quite a few. Recently we've been extremely busy and quite a few jobs coming up where crane would very much come in handy. Wondering how people are pricing this. Don't want to just give it away, but don't want to gaff people either.

If I'm trying to get 2000 USD a day for my 3 man crew with 1890 and mini skid on a typical day, and a 45t crane costs me 1600, obviously it's not worth it for me to attempt to accomplish 3600 worth of work. $4000 ($500/hr) seems like it wouldn't be worth it either. Especially if we had something break down or I misquote. Clock keeps ticking...

What are people tacking on to the crane rental cost? If it costs me 1600 for the day, how much extra is reasonable to charge? Obviously there is some variability, but looking for some kind of rule of thumb.

Much appreciated.
 

climbhightree

Well-Known Member
Location
Lebanon, Pa USA
Using a crane typically cuts the job time in half, or more. In the past when I rented a stick crane, the charge to the customer was pretty much the same whether I used the crane or not. With crane the price per hour is higher, but job goes quicker. Without the crane the job is less per hour, but takes longer.

So an all day removal without a crane, should only take half a day (or less). Therefore you can do multiple jobs in a day (instead of just one), or do a multiple day job in one day with a crane. So you are getting more work done in a day, and therefore making more money a day...not necessarily charging one customer more per day.

Hopefully that makes sense
 
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Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
We bill for the crew plus the cost of the crane and a bit of a markup. We do enough crane work to have a pretty good idea what a crane crew can do - a typical day with a crane and a three-man ground crew for us will bill about $4k or so.
 

Sfoppema

Well-Known Member
Location
Central MA
Using a crane typically cuts the job time in half, or more. In the past when I rented a stick crane, the charge to the customer was pretty much the same whether I used the crane or not. With crane the price per hour is higher, but job goes quicker. Without the crane the job is less per hour, but takes longer.

So an all day removal without a crane, should only take half a day (or less). Therefore you can do multiple jobs in a day (instead of just one), or do a multiple day job in one day with a crane. So you are getting more work done in a day, and therefore making more money a day...not necessarily charging one customer more per day.

Hopefully that makes sense


That's kind of what I have been doing. I'll tell them we might use a crane, but the price will be the same regardless. My philosophy has been that I'd rather do a 4k job in two days with my crew and no crane rental than to do it in one, but give half the money to the crane guy. Doesn't really make sense to me to do that, especially when I'm assuming the liability/stress of paying the crane 200-250/hr on top of my reasonably high overhead hourly rate.

If I could do 5k in a day with my crew and a crane rental, I'd certainly be motivated to bring a crane in. Guess it depends on how the job is bid. Though, if I could do 5k in two days without the crane, I'd probably just as soon do that too.....

hmmmm
 

climbhightree

Well-Known Member
Location
Lebanon, Pa USA
That's kind of what I have been doing. I'll tell them we might use a crane, but the price will be the same regardless. My philosophy has been that I'd rather do a 4k job in two days with my crew and no crane rental than to do it in one, but give half the money to the crane guy. Doesn't really make sense to me to do that, especially when I'm assuming the liability/stress of paying the crane 200-250/hr on top of my reasonably high overhead hourly rate.

If I could do 5k in a day with my crew and a crane rental, I'd certainly be motivated to bring a crane in. Guess it depends on how the job is bid. Though, if I could do 5k in two days without the crane, I'd probably just as soon do that too.....

hmmmm

As someone said above, get the crane in and out as fast as possible...dont make him sit around and wait for you (between picks, at the end, etc). I can't recall any 4k type job where I had the crane there for a full 8 hours...taking half my money. Most single tree jobs, the crane is leaving by lunch. On multiple trees (or jobs), sometimes the debris sit till he leaves...clean up what we can but once he done picking on one tree we move on.

Liability wise - once it is fully connected/controled by him and the crane, it is all on him and his insurance.

Around here a 40ton stick is around $150 an hour. 250 sounds high...especially if your rate is only around 80 per man.

I have more of problem with contract climbers taking half my money, with no major overhead.
 

Sfoppema

Well-Known Member
Location
Central MA
45t for 1600 and 60 for 2k. A tree guy around where I'm at has a 30 and he'll do 150/hr four hour minimum. But he's always busy.

I see what you are saying. I think the best way to make money would be to blow through a bunch of single tree/quick pick jobs, keep moving and come back even the next day to clean up to get your money's worth. Like I said I don't have lots of experience with it, not have I spent much time reaching out to crane companys. Maybe I could find them cheaper. Thanks for the input!
 

Boomslang

Well-Known Member
Location
NB
It's all a clock game. We start at 7am, the crane company we use usually isn't on site until 8:30/9. Use that time before hand to stage the area. Know where the crane needs to be so there's no delay when he shows up. Get your guys to help him setup and teardown his outrigger pads. If possibly get your slings set. Stage your landing zone and make sure it's doable for the crane. Nothing worse than having a pick hanging because the piece is too big for the area or because the crane can't swing that direction. Make sure your crew knows there's no stopping for lunch until the crane is off site. A lot of little things that can be done that add up to saved time.
 

Al_trees

Member
Location
Connecticut
Im with Climbhightree on this one. You can easily double if not triple your work output in a day.

You should be charging your customers just as you normally wood for your time. The crane will make it go much quicker. Your 2k day can easily be a 4k.

It would be foolish to merely charge the cost of the crane or even only add a small markup on the crane onto your normal daily rate while spending all day on site with a crane. You would be UNDERCUTTING yourself. You don't buy or rent equipment to work for less money. Think about it.

I wasn't sure what you meant by rent a crane. The contractor I work with is a true professional. I nor anybody else without decades of experience and training is going to hop on a crane rental and be worth a damn or safe.

At least here anyway a person needs multiple licenses to operate such a rig. Maybe you mean sub a crane for a week?
 

Sfoppema

Well-Known Member
Location
Central MA
The crane rental comes with an operator... I am asking what people price jobs they know they will use a crane rental (operator included) for. For example, normally I want 250 an hour, crane costs 200/hr with operator. How much are people shooting for when they quote the job? Obviously not 450 based on this example. Do you feel me?
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
At those rates, we would be $475-500/hour - enough markup to be worthwhile, but not so much we can’t compete with some of the other companies around here who like to work for free.
 

Boomslang

Well-Known Member
Location
NB
I wasn't sure what you meant by rent a crane. The contractor I work with is a true professional. I nor anybody else without decades of experience and training is going to hop on a crane rental and be worth a damn or safe.
When we talk about renting a crane it comes with an operator. We're limited to just one crane company where I am so they have a monopoly on pricing (300 loonies/hr), but they have a number of operators with tree removal experience. Finding an experienced operator is key because tree work can have different variables than their normal work. So when subbing out a crane ask the company if they have anyone with tree experience. You'll save yourself a lot of headache rather than trying to explain the nuances of tree work to a newbie.
 

Al_trees

Member
Location
Connecticut
When we talk about renting a crane it comes with an operator. We're limited to just one crane company where I am so they have a monopoly on pricing (300 loonies/hr), but they have a number of operators with tree removal experience. Finding an experienced operator is key because tree work can have different variables than their normal work. So when subbing out a crane ask the company if they have anyone with tree experience. You'll save yourself a lot of headache rather than trying to explain the nuances of tree work to a newbie.
Yikes, 300/hr is steep. Thanks for the clarification. Around here we just say hire or sub.
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
The crane rental comes with an operator... I am asking what people price jobs they know they will use a crane rental (operator included) for. For example, normally I want 250 an hour, crane costs 200/hr with operator. How much are people shooting for when they quote the job? Obviously not 450 based on this example. Do you feel me?

With the mindset that the job takes half the time you'll actually bid more competitively at $450 an hour than the $250/hr.

A 10 hr job at $250/hr is $2500. The same job completed in 5 hrs with a crane at $450/hr is $2250. If you keep the $2500 quote for roping it down but use the crane you increase your profit and decrease your labor and move onto the next job.
 

owScott

Well-Known Member
Location
Lafayette
That's kind of what I have been doing. I'll tell them we might use a crane, but the price will be the same regardless. My philosophy has been that I'd rather do a 4k job in two days with my crew and no crane rental than to do it in one, but give half the money to the crane guy. Doesn't really make sense to me to do that, especially when I'm assuming the liability/stress of paying the crane 200-250/hr on top of my reasonably high overhead hourly rate.

If I could do 5k in a day with my crew and a crane rental, I'd certainly be motivated to bring a crane in. Guess it depends on how the job is bid. Though, if I could do 5k in two days without the crane, I'd probably just as soon do that too.....

hmmmm
I like to say profit to effort ratio. Yes 2 days at $2000 each day versus 1day at $2000 is more money but the effort to do it without the crane in 2 days is x3. If you do a reasonable amount of removals that grinds the crew down. I will take 1 easy day at $2000 versus 2 hard days at $4000. IMO must have a mini to manage the ground during crane work to be profitable.
 

owScott

Well-Known Member
Location
Lafayette
As someone said above, get the crane in and out as fast as possible...dont make him sit around and wait for you (between picks, at the end, etc). I can't recall any 4k type job where I had the crane there for a full 8 hours...taking half my money. Most single tree jobs, the crane is leaving by lunch. On multiple trees (or jobs), sometimes the debris sit till he leaves...clean up what we can but once he done picking on one tree we move on.

Liability wise - once it is fully connected/controled by him and the crane, it is all on him and his insurance.

Around here a 40ton stick is around $150 an hour. 250 sounds high...especially if your rate is only around 80 per man.

I have more of problem with contract climbers taking half my money, with no major overhead.
Liability wise the crane company is working for me they are my sub, not working direct for the homeowner. If something happens after the pick is fully connected/controled by the crane it is my responsiblity to take care of the damage with HO. Then its between myself and the crane company to hash out who pays in the end. Unless the crane co has a contract direct with HO if there is damage the HO is turning to me to correct any issue, their contract is with me. As the primary contractor I am responsible to the HO for anything that happens on my jobsite. I do agree with a 4k job is 3-4 hours crane time. Heres my break down. 40t $200 per hour. 1 hour drive time 1 way. Lets say 4 hours on site plus $200 for drive time= $1000+$800 3 man crew cost for day+ $1500 for my company which pays me + $200 wood disposal which i usually dont need=$3500. Generally crew is done by 2pm I finish hauling wood, done in 8hours. Nobody worked too hard, do i assume risk? Yes, which is a given in this business.
 

Sfoppema

Well-Known Member
Location
Central MA
Liability wise the crane company is working for me they are my sub, not working direct for the homeowner. If something happens after the pick is fully connected/controled by the crane it is my responsiblity to take care of the damage with HO. Then its between myself and the crane company to hash out who pays in the end. Unless the crane co has a contract direct with HO if there is damage the HO is turning to me to correct any issue, their contract is with me. As the primary contractor I am responsible to the HO for anything that happens on my jobsite. I do agree with a 4k job is 3-4 hours crane time. Heres my break down. 40t $200 per hour. 1 hour drive time 1 way. Lets say 4 hours on site plus $200 for drive time= $1000+$800 3 man crew cost for day+ $1500 for my company which pays me + $200 wood disposal which i usually dont need=$3500. Generally crew is done by 2pm I finish hauling wood, done in 8hours. Nobody worked too hard, do i assume risk? Yes, which is a given in this business.

I am a little confused by the price breakdown here, but I think I can get the gist of what you are saying. I agree that I'd rather make money working easy than hard. We have two minis a dw 1050 and 650, so we're not really dragging brush or rolling logs. That's a real moral killer....

Unless the job would be stupid to do without a crane, I wouldn't hire one. And in that event, I'd probably just refer the customer to a company that I'm friendly with that has a crane. I'd rather stay in my lane and prefer the backyard stuff and use the minis where other companies would prefer the easier access crane/bucket work. They'll refer customers to me instead of screwing around climbing in a backyard where they'd prefer to be on the hook.

I wouldn't rent one just to save my back. Still young, probably change my opinion on that eventually. I've got some jobs priced high that I'm waiting to hear back on that I was thinking of using a crane for. We'll see how it works out!

I appreciate the input!
 

Sfoppema

Well-Known Member
Location
Central MA
With the mindset that the job takes half the time you'll actually bid more competitively at $450 an hour than the $250/hr.

A 10 hr job at $250/hr is $2500. The same job completed in 5 hrs with a crane at $450/hr is $2250. If you keep the $2500 quote for roping it down but use the crane you increase your profit and decrease your labor and move onto the next job.
Using the 250/hr for me and 200/hr for the crane, if I'm done in 5 hours for 450, I'm only bringing in 1250 on the job, giving a G to the crane company, then we have to line up another job for the day.

No crane and we're set for the day still making 250/hr. No extra stress if something takes a bit longer or something breaks down. No calling/scheduling with crane company. No worrying if the stick will reach the last tree. etc.

I agree that I'd be able to bid more competitively, but I am fortunate to never be short on work.
 

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