Crane Trucks & Hiab Trucks Hire Rates: What you should pay per hour, per job and per load

Crane Truck Hire Rates

What should you be paying to hire a crane truck?

Crane trucks, which are sometimes called Hiab trucks (because Hiab manufacture the most popular brand of crane truck), are fairly easy to find in cities and hire on an hourly, fixed, distance or tonnage rate. We've explored all the different types of hire below, and average national rates for each of the contract types, so you can plan your project.

Crane trucks are most frequently used to lift-and-load materials onto a truck and transport them across cities. Crane trucks are really common to lift and transport sea containers, site sheds, storage units, pallets, supply & consumables, motors, cable rolls, large parts & engines and some of the bigger crane trucks (upwards of 12 tonnes) can actually lift things like loaders, skid steers and mini excavators onto the back of a tipper tray.

Apart from the hydraulic crane (which has a deferring boom lengths, heights and capacities) what makes a crane truck such a versatile and useful piece of machinery is its two-in-one combination of the crane & tilt tray or tipper tray. This means you can lift, load and transport substantial loads on paved roads. There are usually a good number of one-man-bands (or as we call them at iSeekplant, owner / operators) that own their own crane truck and rip around cities all day lift and shifting items for multiple sites. There are also a couple of pure crane truck specialists out there.

Crane Truck Hire Rates: Hiring a crane truck or Hiab truck on an hourly basis

  • Small (4 tonne - 6 tonne) crane truck or Hiab truck hire rate (with operator): $70 per hour +
  • Medium (6 tonne - 10 tonne) crane truck or Hiab truck hire rate (with operator): $90 per hour +
  • Large (10 tonne - 12 tonne) crane truck or Hiab truck hire rate (with operator): $100 - $120 per hour +

Crane truck rates, in the larger cities anyway, rarely fluctuate from the standard or average rates above, unless the crane truck is a lot older and has many more hours on the clock. There isn't too many variations in terms of features either, because they are a relatively simple machine in terms of specification. Operating a crane truck requires a ticketed operator and a heavy rigid license. Any type of lifting, even small tonnages of materials, is a dangerous exercise so you need to be sure that you have hired a qualified supplier with a well maintained machine and a focus on safe lifting practises.

Crane Truck Hire Rates: Hiring a crane truck or Hiab truck on a fixed rate basis

  • 4 tonne crane truck hire fixed cost: $250 - $300 (within 100km radius of depot, one pick up)
  • 4 tonne - 8 tonne crane truck hire fixed cost: $300 - $320 (within 100km radius of depot, one pick up)
  • 8 tonne - 14 tonne crane truck hire fixed cost: $350 - $500 (within 100km radius of depot, one pick up)

Fixed rate options are really common amongst owner / operators with one crane truck as these are guys who usually spend their whole day driving from lift to lift across big cities. They standardise their rates and charge flat fees if the job is within the normal tonnage range of their machine (and there are no real surprises when it comes to materials being lifted) and is within a reasonable driving distance of their depot. This charging model also helps them with paperwork and a simplicity of invoicing their customers. Anything outside of the normal lift and shift jobs they do all day long will typically be charged at and hourly rate and an extra charge for travel.

Crane Truck Hire Rates: Hiring a crane truck or Hiab truck on a distance or tonnage basis

The most common types of crane truck hire contracts are on an hourly basis or fixed fee for a single lift, as described above, but from time to time you will come across an operator willing to negotiate on a distance travelled basis, or tonnage lifted.

There can be some atypical charging models out there for crane trucks, depending on your type of job, lifts and the distance you need to travel. Some examples we've seen published online are;

  • $50 per 10km travelled for small to medium sized crane trucks
  • $450 per 100km travelled for small to medium sized crane trucks
  • $20 per tonne of load transported (max 100km travel radius)

Crane Truck Hire: Common Terms and Extra Fees

  • Minimum 4 hour hire is standard for most crane truck operators
  • 8.5% - 10% fuel levy
  • Travel to and from site on an hourly rate basis
  • Damage or wear and tear (if the load spills or damages the truck in any way)
  • Penalty rates of between 1.5x and 2.5x for weekends, public holidays, nights and strange shift types.

Short term crane truck hire contracts usually have additional fees and charges that may not necessarily apply to longer-term contracts, because the plant hire supplier who owns the crane truck or Hiab truck needs to recoup on-costs associated with booking his crane for a shorter job. You can expect to pay travel to and sometimes from your site. If the crane truck has to dispose of anything, then you pay tip fees or disposal fees at the point of drop off.

There is short-time hire (which may be a single day of work) and long-term contracts (which can go for months to years). On a one day hire you may be charged on a per-hour basis or just an entire day rate. On a longer term hire you will be more likely to be charged on a monthly basis. This contractual term is mostly offered to freight business companies.

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