Bobcat operator - how much to pay him

Discussion in 'Employment' started by JFGauvreau, May 3, 2012.

  1. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    I have a big landscaping job to do a few weeks and I am short handed in staff.

    My brother will be taking a week off to come help me. His job will be primary to operate a bobcat, since I'll be busy on a excavator.

    I'll have more labors doing dirty work with hand shovel and hand rake and installing sod etc. I usually pay them 12-15$ and hour (cash), depending on the experienced, cash is always worth more since you don't pay taxes on it.

    My brother who will be driving the bobcat wants more than 15$ cash, he wants a min of 20$ cash.

    However, he is a smart guy, no doubt, has been driving forklifts for years, he is pretty much a master forklifts driver, he is the guy in charge to move expansive and delicate stuff that's worth 500k+

    But I don't see the point in paying him 20$ an hour when he's driving a bobcat, which is way easier on the body then doing physical hand work all day long. Plus he has 0 experience on a bobcat. He told me it won't take long for him to get used to it, but stills, it's totally not the same as a forklift. I wouldn't mind paying someone 20$ cash if he had years of experience on a bobcat, since you really see the difference between a veteran operator and a newbie.

    Any inputs or suggestions on this?

  2. zak406

    zak406 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,516

    I think 15-20 is fair, however you could stick a laborer in there with just as much experience for 10 dollars an hour and they would be 20x happier than digging by hand. I also think that 15-25 would be my range for an experienced operator of that particular machine, like you said though he has never operated one before. I have operated forklifts, skid steers, excavators (briefly), haul trucks, loaders, mini loaders, track trucks, and rollers and there is definatly a learning curve to all of them. However to me fork lift (smaller toyotas) are easier to operate than the rest of that equipment. Its not easy to hold a grade or grade dirt with a machine you dont work with every day. Not to mention if your using a bobcat (brand) the foot pedals take a lot longer to get used to than say pilot controls on a cat. I still to this day have problems with foot pedals, I stay away from them at all cost
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  3. JFGauvreau

    JFGauvreau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,298

    I'm sure he would be good to transport soil and to drop it somewhere, but grading is a total different game.

    Thanks for your input.
  4. newtostone

    newtostone LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Messages: 681

    I wouldn't pay anyone that cash, I don't know how your writing off the wages but it cost you far more paying the guys cash than it does on the books when it comes to tax time. Your tax bracket bumps up and then you've gotta pay your 33% on money you don't even have. So someone that's getting paid $20 per hour costs you $27 and so on, on top of the fact its your neck if they get hurt.

    Besides that point, I've been there with family and its not worth the extra money, there are plenty of guys out there that know what they are doing, and will work cheaper. Maybe even call around to some guys and sub out that at an hourly rate and have them bring their machine fuel and experience.
  5. richsealcoating

    richsealcoating LawnSite Member
    Messages: 30

    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,761

    if he has 0 hours experience, he isn't worth $20. How many times have you heard "this will be easy.... piece of cake... oops....."
  7. MatthewG

    MatthewG LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    As posted above what kind of controls? Hand/foot or just hand, some guys can seem to master both (or any), $25 an hour is for a experienced operator, $15-$20 is for an unexperienced operator.

    I pay my skidsteer snow removal operators $22- but thats different ballgame
  8. S-205

    S-205 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 1,401

    Had a new a operator at a supply store near me loading mulch, and he busted the side of a truck bed open with the bucket. Although he does have some experience with equipment, you never know. 15 would be pretty fair in my eyes, if you saw him operating a skid steer first you might be surprised and he could be an efficient operator.
  9. richsealcoating

    richsealcoating LawnSite Member
    Messages: 30

    0 experince equals less pay. Just because he runs a forklift DOES NOT MEAN he is capable of running a skid proficient enough to pay him $20 a hour cash. $15 cash or $20 on payroll or 1099 him.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. S-205

    S-205 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 1,401

    My thoughts are if he is an experienced operator on a fork lift, chances are he'll have a clue how to operate a skid steer safely (not getting too close to things or people) Although they are different machines, he would learn to use it safer and faster than someone with truly 0 experience on any equipment.

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