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  #1  
Old 11-16-2004, 12:30 PM
ZomZom ZomZom is offline
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How Much Do Crane Operators Make?

I work in downtown DC near the old Woodies department store building and there are two large cranes that I was watching just now. They are close enough that I think their booms could collide if they swung together at the wrong time.

This got me thinking about the difficulty of operating these giants. Just how much are these guys paid? And do they have to climb the entire way up to the cab or is there an elevator?
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  #2  
Old 11-16-2004, 12:45 PM
mhendo mhendo is online now
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I don't know the exact answer, especially for the US, but i remember when i was living in Vancouver about ten years ago, and i knew a guy who did construction. He said that the crane operators were the highest-paid guys on site, and that their official income was A Fucking Lot Of Money.
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  #3  
Old 11-16-2004, 01:02 PM
Phlosphr Phlosphr is offline
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I have a friend who works at a defense plant as a crane operator and he makes nearly $100 an hour.
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  #4  
Old 11-16-2004, 01:06 PM
trupa trupa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhendo
...their official income was A Fucking Lot Of Money.
Band Name!

This is a cool question. I hope we get answers, and also on how one becomes a crane operator...
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  #5  
Old 11-16-2004, 01:48 PM
GaryM GaryM is offline
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I think you get your start with those machines you feed with quarters and try to pick up the stuffed toys!
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  #6  
Old 11-16-2004, 02:34 PM
BobT BobT is offline
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The "American Salary and Wages Survey" I have access to gives a much lower figure for "Crane and Tower Operator"

Usually around $15-20/hour.

I would assume that a guy making $100/hour must have some special skills.

Or perhaps the job description encompasses several different aspects of the job.
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  #7  
Old 11-16-2004, 02:54 PM
spingears spingears is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trupa
Band Name!
This is a cool question. I hope we get answers, and also on how one becomes a crane operator...
First learn how to operate construction machinery.
Second get a union job as a "rigger and operator."
Third bid for the lush crane operators job against all other contencers.
Fourth be very lucky.
__________________
Do nothing simply if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful
spingears
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  #8  
Old 11-16-2004, 04:40 PM
ccwaterback ccwaterback is offline
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Nationally, the median wage for crane and tower operators is $3,030 per month ($17.47 per hour). Half of all crane and tower operators earn between $2,340 and $3,830 per month ($13.50 and $22.07 per hour).

Wages vary based on the operator's experience. Crane and tower operators who belong to a union generally receive higher wages. Also, pay is usually higher in large urban areas. Seasonal work may reduce overall earnings.

http://www.iseek.org/sv/13000.jsp?id=100054
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  #9  
Old 11-16-2004, 04:41 PM
ccwaterback ccwaterback is offline
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Whoops, and this too:

http://www.iseek.org/sv/46001.jsp?id=537021
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  #10  
Old 11-16-2004, 05:02 PM
ccwaterback ccwaterback is offline
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Me and my multiple posts.

Here's and interesting site on tower cranes. You can see they have an elevator to get to the top.

http://www.towercrane.com/tower_cran...ail_Select.htm

http://www.towercrane.com/K-10000_tower_crane_06_00.htm
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  #11  
Old 11-16-2004, 05:09 PM
Danalan Danalan is offline
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On the other side of all that money is this wonderful site, which illuminates the many dangers of this job.
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  #12  
Old 11-16-2004, 05:15 PM
SmackFu SmackFu is offline
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I just noticed while looking something else up that Connecticut requires a special license for crane operators.
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  #13  
Old 11-16-2004, 05:22 PM
pullin pullin is offline
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I ran a crane for about 6 months in 1981. It was a 35 ton pedestal crane on an offshore rig (near the Forties-C field in North Sea). IIRC I was paid about 14-15 per hour (usd). Doesn't sound like much, but with 12-hour workdays, 7-days/week (with OT) it added up to quite a good wage. Didn't get any training, the former crane driver for that shift was fired. I was standing nearby and got a battlefield promotion. It was actually pretty easy to learn. The only difficulty was compensating for the waves (and blind lifts really sucked; I never got used to them).
Sorry if this info is kinda dated.
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  #14  
Old 11-16-2004, 06:41 PM
ltfire ltfire is offline
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First hand info. My brother works a union job as a HEO (Heavy Equipment Operator) in New York. The chief perk of this job is that when heís on site for eight hours, if the..letís say backhoe..isnít needed that day, he sleeps in the cab for eight hours.
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  #15  
Old 01-31-2014, 04:19 PM
craneguy craneguy is offline
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crane

I am a journeyman crane operator from canada and the wage of crane operators depends if you are working union vs nonunion. Union operators make close to twice what nonunion operators make. Also there is different classes of crane. Tower crane , hydraulic crane, conventional crane. The salary are based on tonnage of the crane. I operate a 300 ton Manitowoc crawler conventional crane in fort Murray Alberta and have a salary of $48/hour with overtime and double time I usually take home $10,000 a month. I doubt the guy who says he's making $100 a hour never heard that. I started like everybody else, right at the bottom. If you want to become a operator go to a crane company and apply as a rigger that is the best training you can get to start off. Anybody can pull levers but you gotta know what's going on at the business end of the hook. Once you have spent a few years rigging register as a apprentice and join the IUOE and It will take 3 years to get you red seal ticket but its only 2 months of schooling per year.
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  #16  
Old 01-31-2014, 05:51 PM
bob++ bob++ is offline
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There was a fly-on-the-wall documentary here a while ago. TBH, the operators were reasonably well paid, but it wasn't that great considering that they worked in all weathers and silly hours. You need certificates here too and the pay is based on tonnage.

As an aside, there was a report this week that Pimlico Plumbers in London, were looking for French speaking (we have a lot of rich French refugees here) plumbers. Apparently they could earn upwards of £100,000 a year.
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  #17  
Old 01-31-2014, 10:18 PM
Gbro Gbro is offline
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My first day in the cab of a hydraulic crane long before certification was required i was working out over the edge of a flooded mine pit. The lead Mechanic/rigger informed me that if he gets wet, so do I.
I passed the Apple Knocker test but worked as a mechanic until i bought my own crane and then getting certified was a cake walk.
I was working non union and a IUOE rep visited the site i was working. I met with him and bought myself and my Son-in-law into the union and then simply challenged the test. After passing the practical skills test administered by the Union i payed the next fee and took the written test.
Here in MN there is/was no grandfathering certification and when i took the written test there were many many great operators that basically didn't have the reading skills to pass the written test.

A tower crane operator is a very special breed. Many have to climb the tower much like a radio tower jack and they are alone for long hours and they carry their 5 gal. pail up and down with them each shit, i mean shift.
Crane operating is a stressful job. A wrong move and someone might not go home.
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  #18  
Old 01-31-2014, 10:27 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craneguy View Post
I am a journeyman crane operator from canada and the wage of crane operators depends if you are working union vs nonunion. Union operators make close to twice what nonunion operators make. Also there is different classes of crane. Tower crane , hydraulic crane, conventional crane. The salary are based on tonnage of the crane. I operate a 300 ton Manitowoc crawler conventional crane in fort Murray Alberta and have a salary of $48/hour with overtime and double time I usually take home $10,000 a month. <snip>
My husband worked for many years in construction, and that was his experience with the crane operators, too - it's a very specialized field, and they are very well paid. He told me about a crane operator on one of his sites who had a panic attack out on the jib, and had to be brought down using the air ambulance.
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  #19  
Old 01-31-2014, 11:19 PM
jasg jasg is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gbro View Post
A tower crane operator is a very special breed. Many have to climb the tower much like a radio tower jack and they are alone for long hours and they carry their 5 gal. pail up and down with them each shit, i mean shift.
Crane operating is a stressful job. A wrong move and someone might not go home.
Does the pay start when you start climbing or only when you get to the cab?
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  #20  
Old 01-31-2014, 11:25 PM
Xema Xema is online now
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Originally Posted by jasg View Post
Does the pay start when you start climbing ...
Remotely operated cranes are reasonably common - no climbing required, and you typically have a better view of the things you need to see.
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  #21  
Old 02-01-2014, 01:01 AM
guizot guizot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craneguy View Post
I am a journeyman crane operator from canada and the wage of crane operators depends if you are working union vs nonunion. Union operators make close to twice what nonunion operators make.
Yes, a friend of mine is a union crane operator, and he makes about double. He gets sent all around the country to operate special cranes. One time he operated the crane that moves the major section of a nuclear reactor (can't remember which part) for the yearly cleaning. He said that the load was so big, and the process so slow, that you could hardly perceive that the thing was moving.
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  #22  
Old 02-01-2014, 01:24 AM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is online now
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Back in the early 90s the guys who operated the cranes at ports that pick up containers off ships made $125,000 a year and up in the SF Bay Area. Highly skilled workers with very expensive equipment and loads.
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  #23  
Old 02-01-2014, 10:31 AM
PastTense PastTense is online now
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Originally Posted by jasg View Post
Does the pay start when you start climbing or only when you get to the cab?
I would guess it would start and end at the same time as for other construction workers--so they are in fact being paid for a significant amount of time just waiting around until they are needed.
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  #24  
Old 02-01-2014, 12:01 PM
Flywheel Flywheel is online now
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I can't help thinking there's more than a grain of truth in this article.
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  #25  
Old 02-01-2014, 12:08 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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There's probably a punch clock, or modern equivalent, at some point on site that all the employees use. Since it'd be on the ground, you'd have to clock in before climbing up to the cab, and clock out after climbing back down.
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  #26  
Old 02-01-2014, 12:32 PM
jasg jasg is online now
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
There's probably a punch clock, or modern equivalent, at some point on site that all the employees use. Since it'd be on the ground, you'd have to clock in before climbing up to the cab, and clock out after climbing back down.
Things have improved since the days of the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PBS
Good Money

When construction started, in January 1933, union wages ranged from $4 to $11 per day (about $45 to $125 per day in 2004 dollars). Workers clocked in when they reached their work sites -- the 30- to 40-minute climb was on their own time. Despite the obvious risks, a job on the bridge was considered a plum. Cable supervisor Charles Kring recalled, "there was always somebody waiting at the base of the tower for someone to fall off so they'd get a job."
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  #27  
Old 02-01-2014, 11:27 PM
Dread Pirate Jimbo Dread Pirate Jimbo is offline
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
My husband worked for many years in construction, and that was his experience with the crane operators, too - it's a very specialized field, and they are very well paid. He told me about a crane operator on one of his sites who had a panic attack out on the jib, and had to be brought down using the air ambulance.
Technically, he had a panic attack while in the crane cab and crawled out onto the jib, requiring us to fly the air ambulance up to get him.

If he had been in the tallest crane on the site, such that we couldn't go up and get him with the air ambulance, he might still be up there, ten years later.

Last edited by Dread Pirate Jimbo; 02-01-2014 at 11:27 PM..
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  #28  
Old 02-02-2014, 07:58 PM
Gbro Gbro is offline
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Originally Posted by Flywheel View Post
I can't help thinking there's more than a grain of truth in this article.
Well i got a little bored sitting but mostly standing (My crane was a stiff-neck) where i stood behind the controls, but i did love my job.
I would jump down and help with all kinds of things when my hook wasn't needed unlike many crane jobs where one would not want to be caught outside the cab.
Hell I would let the crew know where I was and go pull nails or pick up nails on jobs when i wasn't hooked up.
Quote:
Does the pay start when you start climbing or only when you get to the cab?
Answered already. But on a non-union job you might run into all kinds of different pay options.
When i ran my crane I would do most of my jobs at a minimum witch was $250.00
and I could do almost any roof jobs in that minimum AND i always stopped the clock for bracing up a roof. Even then some contractors wouldn't brace up until i pulled out. Those were stressful days!!
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  #29  
Old 02-03-2014, 12:18 PM
nevadaexile nevadaexile is offline
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I'm a maintenance planner/scheduler and I have to work with cost accounting on some jobs so that they schedule high cost employees at certain times to make projects come in under budget. NCCER ( National Center for Construction Education and Research) certified operators in non-union areas make between $25-45 per hour, depending upon a number of factors. Union operators make (on average $10-20 per hour) also depending upon a number of factors, but they have to have union dues deducted from those wages.

A person making $100 per hour (if it happens) would have to be a specialist who is operating an unusual type of crane for very specific projects. It's doubtful that this person works daily earning that amount; more likely than not they are a contractor who travels to jobs.
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Old 02-03-2014, 07:24 PM
bubba001 bubba001 is offline
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Originally Posted by nevadaexile View Post
I'm a maintenance planner/scheduler and I have to work with cost accounting on some jobs so that they schedule high cost employees at certain times to make projects come in under budget. NCCER ( National Center for Construction Education and Research) certified operators in non-union areas make between $25-45 per hour, depending upon a number of factors. Union operators make (on average $10-20 per hour) also depending upon a number of factors, but they have to have union dues deducted from those wages.

A person making $100 per hour (if it happens) would have to be a specialist who is operating an unusual type of crane for very specific projects. It's doubtful that this person works daily earning that amount; more likely than not they are a contractor who travels to jobs.
Are you saying that nonunion crane operator's are paid more than union? That would really surprise me, if true.
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  #31  
Old 02-03-2014, 08:15 PM
nevadaexile nevadaexile is offline
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Are you saying that nonunion crane operator's are paid more than union? That would really surprise me, if true.
I meant that union workers make MORE.
I'm unable to edit my post now.
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