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.
Just try hiring a crane for a day, and you will see what we mean with the less effort part. Until you work with one you don't appreciate the potential that can be realized with a crane. To see a 4K pick floating away from you from a deck tree is pure bliss when you consider the alternative...
We have a full size grapple truck, a track mini, and a four man crew, and we shoot for 1K per hour onsite time. We dont always get it, but thats what we shoot for. With 1 guy in the tree or man-lift, 3 guys with a grapple truck and a mini can keep up with steady 3-4K pics going out. I will add that any crane job that we can use our lift on goes considerably faster.
Also,telling the client that you are using a crane and not charging extra for it can be an added perk that helps you win these type of jobs.