Is Hiring a Contract Climber a Good Idea For Your Company?
Are you the owner/operator of a tree care company? Many of us are, and I know that we are always looking for ways to get things done as fast AND as safe as possible! As owners, we are obviously looking to get the job done as efficiently as possible so we can move onto the next job--and then the next. So, the big question is' How do we safely and efficiently get the job done as fast as possible?
One option that has always been around, but has really started gaining popularity lately is to hire in a contract climber. A contract climber is someone that comes onto your worksite with a high skill set that allows them to not only get trees on the ground but also train your workers by showing them techniques that they may not have been exposed to while working with the same coworkers. The contract climber should be highly efficient at climbing and rigging, but also keep in mind that they are also a human. Human expectations should be put upon them instead of thinking they are a superhero!
I find that a contract climber or contract worker works out very well for my small company. I am the owner and head climber, and have two workers that manage ground operations. I bring in a contractor one day a week to help us with bigger jobs, or to allow me time to get out and handle PHC or bids. This has opened up a day for me to more efficiently get things done, while maximizing the contractor's abilities as well.
A contract climber usually comes in for an eight-hour day and on most occasions charges a day rate. Costs can be anywhere from $200 to 1000 a day depending on the area and the contractor you decide to work with. Though this may seem like a high price to pay, do remember that they are bringing in a set of skills that your company may be lacking in. This isn't to say that your company isn't good at what they do, but if you are primarily a removal company--then it may be a good idea to bring in a contract climber for a day of dead wooding large trees with huge spread out canopies. Maybe bring in a contract climber that is highly skilled in crane removals when your company hasn't done many in the past? These are all great places to add someone to your team for a day or a week to maximize what they are capable of as well as what you are capable of.
I would also recommend working with a contract climber that would be willing to do some training with your guys as well. Having a high caliber climber on the crew for a couple days is sure to motivate your workers and give them some incentive to want to learn as much as they can. Some contract climbers come in with the initiative to do training along with climbing for the company. This is a great deal when you really think about how much money you would have wrapped up into sending all your workers to a training seminar, paying for hotel rooms and food for everyone' or bring along a great climber that is more than willing to share some knowledge to not only make your employees smarter but also make your work site a more efficient and safer place to be!
Keep in mind that a contract climber should come with General Liability insurance as well as some sort of Worker's Comp insurance as well. This area has been a bit of a headache in the past and it's good to keep all your ducks in a row when it comes to insurances. Be sure to check with your insurance carrier as well before bringing a contractor onboard! When I started my company, I went out as a contract climber and worked with some really good companies as well as some really bad companies. This helped me realize that having unrealistic expectations of a contract climber can really cause problems on a job site. For example, when I was contracting, I had a company try to get me to climb a severely decayed, dead Birch tree that likely would have failed and killed me in the process. I stood my ground and proceeded to not work for that company ever again. Looking at this situation from the other side now, I would never put another person in that situation, and neither should you!