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Why are loader subs so highly paid?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by crazymike, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. crazymike

    crazymike Senior Member
    from Toronto
    Messages: 639

    I keep hearing how people are paying their subs with loaders up to $150+ an hour. Why such a high rate? Is it simply a shortage of people to drive them? I realize the equipment is a bit pricey, but not compared to plow trucks.

    This repo center in the trader has a 2000 92HP Volvo L40 with a bucket for $7000. You would think the equipment would pay for itself fairly quickly. I don't find them that difficult to drive either.

    Is it simply the repair/fuel costs?
  2. plowed

    plowed Senior Member
    Messages: 344

    What size loaders are you talking about? For a large loader, say CAT 966, that price sounds about right, perhaps even a little low. Those machines are hundreds of thousands of dollars. The L40 is a small machine. Keep in mind that a large machine will likely hold about 150 gallons of fuel, which may last about 12 hours, so they are not cheap to run either. If you can find an operating engineer to run it (union guy) figure they get about $35/hour, but a private owner will want much more than that to provide an operator.

    You need to know what you are doing in those machines in order to be productive. I would much rather pay a skilled operator more money an hour than to some rookie who will do it for less money, but take twice as long and not do as good a job.
  3. crazymike

    crazymike Senior Member
    from Toronto
    Messages: 639

    Is the L40 of any benefit to a company?

    I wouldn't buy something like this this year, but in a year or two it would pay for itself.

    I am by no means a skilled operator, but I know the basics and would only get better with practice.
  4. kl0an

    kl0an Senior Member
    Messages: 215

    I ran a loader for a guy here last year that paid $18 an hour. 2.5yd bucket and then we'd put a Protech box on the front.

    His hourly rate was $90 with operator.

    On a typical event, my shift ran 18 hours, then the next day, we'd haul most of it for another 12 hours. Usually one event would make his monthly note. As for fuel, I'd put $50-75 per shift, fairly reasonable actually for what the loader acconplished.

    As for jumping in and operating one, not that easy.. You push to hard when you're turning and tweak the loader arms, you're in for a BIG bill.. Hit something solid when you're pushing in a curve, BIG bill. Protech box on front is pricey as well..

    They're better than backhoes I reckon..
  5. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    Need a big pusher box for the loader too IMO......
  6. crashz

    crashz Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    I've run loaders for more than 10 years. Most states mandate at least a hydraulics license and proper training on the equipment. More importantly, loaders are nothing like a pickup. It takes skill and finesse to run them. They can tip very easily if you lift the wrong way or turn sharply with the bucket raised. And any loader that will be worth anything moving snow is not going to be cheap. Look at the equipment traders, a 20 yr older Cat 936 will cost $25K - $30K, new over $200K. On top of that, the loaders are more costly to insure and repair. On our Cat, we lost the tranny in 1996. Just to have a Cat authorized repair shop (Lane's) rebuild it was a little over $20K.

    Back when we were running our full fleet in snow removal we got:

    $50 per hr per pickup/one ton dump
    $75 - 90 per hr for a single axle or tandem over 26K lbs w/ 10' plow and salter
    $100 per hr per loader
    $200 per hr for the loader with 22' box pusher
    $300 per hr for the snow blower and clean up truck

    The blower is a Sicard Jr. 200HP diesel on a truck chassis. The truck is powered by a 6 cyl gas Crystler. It was very loud, very slow and I was the only one dumb enough to run it. But it put me through college.