5 Mistakes Contractors Should Avoid When Hiring a Crane

In some construction sites, several cranes are needed to get the job done more quickly and efficiently. If you are short on cranes, hiring one might just be your best option.

Aside from saving time, hiring a crane can help you recoup your expenses faster compared to purchasing one. Also, cranes for hire are delivered in top shape and prepped to be put to work at a moment’s notice, which means there’s virtually no downtime during the construction.

However, hiring one crane (or more) for your project calls for thorough planning and consideration. It is important that you read the contract thoroughly to avoid misunderstandings, get multiple quotes to ensure that you get the best deal in the market and avoid these five common mistakes contractors make when hiring a crane:

1.   Hiring the Wrong Type of Crane

Hiring the wrong crane is probably one of the biggest blunders a contractor can make as it will not only cost more, but will also be a total waste of time. It can also leave the work site unsafe for workers and passer-by alike.

To choose the right type of crane, you should consider the kind of construction projects they are the most suitable for to achieve optimal working conditions. Some of the most important factors you need to consider before selecting a crane for the job include:

  • The weight and kind of loads to be lifted
  • The horizontal distance required to perform the lift
  • The available space for the equipment
  • The frequency of lifts necessary for the project

With that said, if you are working on a high rise project that requires frequent horizontal transport (lifting and lowering) of items like metals, concrete, and large tools, you should hire tower cranes. If you’re short on time and don’t have a source of power available on-site, then a mobile crane may be the best fit for the job, providing it’s not a high rise project.

Crane With Operator

2.   Neglecting a Lift Plan

Another major mistake you should absolutely avoid is forgoing a lifting plan when hiring cranes. Also called the “rigging plan,” this type of plan is an important item in the building construction best practices as it results in optimal safety on the work site while supporting efficiency in the process and, ultimately, preparing the work site should there be changes that need to be implemented to accommodate the crane.

Basically, lift planning entails preparing a checklist of the main goals the crane operator should achieve, a map of the location that highlights where the crane should be set up in, and an outline of the workers’ position and population on-site.

It should also include information about the crane (or cranes) to be used, particularly its capacity, operation plane, length, radius, boom angle, and an estimation of its weight load.

3.   Forgoing Safety Inspections

Crane safety inspections should be at the top of your priorities list when hiring a crane. Ideally, companies that offer cranes for hire have already checked and prepared the equipment for use on the construction site.

However, safety regulations require crane inspections first to ensure that the equipment is properly adjusted to perform at its best on the job, to confirm whether the presence and use of a crane may affect other structures nearby, and to determine if the weather on-site can support the use of such high-rise equipment.

Of course, safety inspections will also ensure that the crane you hire is working as it should so as to avoid unnecessary delays on the job.

4.   Looking for a Crane at the Last Minute

Like other major steps in starting a construction project, looking for a crane to hire should be done with ample time to spare. Otherwise, you may have to face the consequences of a major delay in the project and extra costs particularly if the demand for the crane you plan to hire is high.

When you take on the task of hiring a crane ahead of time, you’ll also enjoy several advantages such as being able to come up with a lift plan based on weather patterns in the work site and adjusting the construction standard operating hours according to the availability of the crane operator.

5.   Not Considering Traffic

Traffic is another major consideration when hiring a crane. After all, you’re transporting a piece of equipment that is a lot bulkier than a typical four-wheel vehicle, and this can take more time and effort to maneuver when stuck in a traffic jam.

Avoid the rush hour by choosing off-peak hours when scheduling the pickup and installation. Avoiding traffic holdups will help you avoid unnecessary headaches, like extra hours of crane rental charge even if you haven’t even used the equipment. Remember that most crane-for-hire companies start counting the hours of use the moment the crane is driven off the yard.

Final Thoughts

Mistakes are the greatest teachers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to experience the blunder first-hand to learn from it. To get the most out of what you pay for (and get higher profit from your next construction project), you should make sure that you hire cranes bearing in mind these common mistakes that contractors make. You’ll then avoid making them yourself.


Hermann Buchberger is the Founder and CEO of Active Crane Hire (ACH). He’s taken the company from start-up to Industry Leader offering the largest fleet of construction cranes in Australia. ACH launched a new type of crane previously unheard of in the Australian market: electric tower cranes. The company’s infrastructure and associated services now comprise a fleet of trucks and trailers, a crane-rigging team, mobile crane technicians, a fleet of service vehicles, and an extensive range of crane spare parts.