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How Much Do Crane Operators Make

Did you know over 36,000 crane operators are working in the US? Crane operators are important in supporting operations at construction sites, mining projects, and docks. Are you wondering how much do crane operators make? This article will examine the salary of a crane operator and the crane operator insurance you need to boost income.

What Does a Crane Operator Do?

As their name suggests, crane operators are experts at utilizing cranes to manipulate large objects at a construction site. Cranes are used to move heavy materials to high levels that are ordinarily difficult to transport. A crane operator's responsibilities include:

  • Repairing the crane

  • Performing inspections

  • Moving materials and equipment around a construction site

  • Checking pressure levels on hydraulic machinery

  • Putting together a tower crane

  • Performing maintenance on a crane

  • Maintaining safety standards of the crane

  • Operating the crane


Many states will require that crane operators be licensed. Getting a license involves undergoing a training period and taking a course to prepare you for the job. Experienced crane operators offer apprenticeships where you can learn while you work. You do not need a college degree to apply to be licensed and certified as a crane operator, a high school education will suffice. The certification process can be quick and may only take a few weeks. 

Since crane operators often work on construction projects, they must travel for work. They are a highly demanded construction job with growth opportunities. Crane operators use three main types of cranes, which include: boom trucks, mobile cranes, and mobile cranes. 


Boom Trucks

Boom truck cranes are cranes mounted to trucks. Typically a hydraulic train is affixed to a truck to take advantage of the vehicle's mobility. With a boom truck, a crane operator can easily reposition the crane and move it to different job sites. These boom trucks must be heavy-duty vehicles to support strenuous loads. They are still popular with construction contractors for their mobility and flexibility. Typically boom trucks can support weights between 10 and 60 tons.


Mobile Cranes

Similar to boom trucks, mobile cranes also enjoy the flexibility of being moveable. However, mobile cranes are attached to crawlers that do not enjoy easy transport on roadways like a boom truck does.


Tower Cranes

A tower crane is more stationary than the other types of cranes, but it can move along rails. They are tall, reaching heights of up to 265 feet, and can lift 18 or more tons. Tower cranes have a sturdy support base that is carefully attached to concrete pads that ensure it can support its operations. Despite having less mobility, it can still rotate and has a counterweight to help it carry heavy loads.


 A crane tower used for construction projects.


How Much Does a Crane Operator Make a Year

Are you interested in learning how much do crane operators make a year? Crane operators make an average of $54,275 per year. The likely range of annual salaries you will make as a crane operator is between $35,000 and $83,000. The amount you make as a crane operator will vary by location and industry you operate in. Your salary will also change based on the amount of experience you have as a crane operator.

PercentileAverage Annual Salary
10th$35,000
20th$41,000
30th$47,000
40th$54,275
50th$59,000
60th$65,000
70th$71,000
80th$77,000
90th$83,000


How Much Does a Crane Operator Make Per Month

Are you wondering how much do crane operators get paid per month? Crane operators make $4,522 per month on average. The monthly wage of crane operators typically varies between $2,916 and $6,916. Wages will vary based on the location you are working in and your level of crane operating experience.

PercentileAverage Monthly Wage
10th$2,916
20th$3,416
30th$3,916
40th$4,522
50th$4,916
60th$5,416
70th$5,916
80th$6,416
90th$6,916

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How Much Does a Crane Operator Make Bi-Weekly

Do you want to know how much money do crane operators make bi-weekly? You can expect to make $2,086 bi-weekly as a crane operator. Typical bi-weekly wages for crane operators will range between $1,346 and $3,192.

PercentileAverage Bi-Weekly Wage
10th$1,346
20th$1,576
30th$1,816
40th$2,086
50th$2,268
60th$2,500
70th$2,730
80th$2,960
90th$3,192


How Much Does a Crane Operator Make Per Week

Are you wondering how much do crane operators make per week? Your average weekly wage as a crane operator will be $1,043. Weekly wages for crane operators typically range between $673 and $1,596. See the table below for the average weekly wage compared to the earnings of workers at each percentile.

PercentileAverage Weekly Wage
10th$673
20th$788
30th$908
40th$1,043
50th$1,134
60th$1,250
70th$1,365
80th$1,480
90th$1,596


How Much Does a Crane Operator Make Per Day

Do you want to know how much do crane operators earn per day? The daily wage of a crane operator is $208 on average, assuming a 5-day work week. As a crane operator, your daily wage will typically range between $134 and $319.

PercentileAverage Daily Wage
10th$134
20th$157
30th$181
40th$208
50th$227
60th$250
70th$273
80th$296
90th$319


How Much Does a Crane Operator Make per Hour

Are you interested in learning how much do crane operators make an hour? The average hourly wage for crane operators is $26.09. As a crane operator, your hourly rate ranges between $16.82 and $39.09.

PercentileAverage Hourly Rate
10th$16.82
20th$19.71
30th$22.60
40th$26.09
50th$28.37
60th$31.25
70th$34.13
80th$37.01
90th$39.09


How Much Do Crane Operators Make By State?

Do you want to know how much do crane operators earn by state? The top state for crane operators is New Jersey. In New Jersey, you will have an average annual salary of $59,726 as a crane operator. Below is a comparison of what you can expect to make in each state.

StateAverage Annual SalaryAverage Hourly Wage
Alabama$37,731$17.97
Alaska$52,160$25.08
Arizona$59,964$28.83
Arkansas$47,770$22.97
California$70,663$33.97
Colorado$57,295$27.55
Connecticut$50,260$24.34
Delaware$51,029$24.53
Florida$47,131$22.66
Georgia$47,975$23.06
Hawaii$48,183$23.16
Idaho$47,613$22.89
Illinois$39,675$19.07
Indiana$50,831$24.44
Iowa$56,069$26.96
Kansas$37,795$18.17
Kentucky$38,372$18.45
Louisiana$51,952$24.98
Maine$47,232$22.71
Maryland$56,055$26.95
Massachusetts$48,181$23.16
Michigan$40,904$19.67
Minnesota$47,814$22.99
Mississippi$48,895$23.99
Missouri$43,303$20.82
Montana$49,738$23.91
Nebraska$49,372$23.74
Nevada$45,812$22.02
New Hampshire$46,643$22.42
New Jersey$59,726$28.71
New Mexico$47,892$23.02
New York$70,189$33.74
North Carolina$45,909$22.07
North Dakota$52,418$25.20
Ohio$44,467$21.38
Oklahoma$48,848$23.48
Oregon$53,343$25.65
Pennsylvania$42,851$20.60
Rhode Island$49,244$23.68
South Carolina$48,442$23.29
South Dakota$49,152$23.63
Tennessee$46,103$22.16
Texas$48,217$23.18
Utah$52,935$25.45
Vermont$44,542$21.41
Virginia$55,557$26.71
Washington$75,464$36.28
West Virginia$58,230$28.00
Wisconsin$45,707$21.97
Wyoming$46,511$22.36


What Are the Top Cities For Crane Operators?

Are you interested in which cities, on average, pay crane operators the most? The top city, Vancouver, Washington, pays crane operators $76,648 on average. See the chart below to see which other cities pay crane operators well.

CityAverage Annual SalaryAverage Hourly Wage
Vancouver, Washington$76,648$36.85
New York, New York$70,448$33.87
San Diego, California$68,424$32.90
Phoenix, Arizona$60,063$28.88
Denver, Colorado$57,230$27.51
Norfolk, Virginia$55,427$26.65
Beaverton, Oregon$53,247$25.60
Grand Fork, North Dakota$42,594$25.29
Baton Rouge, Lousiana$52,059$25.03
Indianapolis, Indiana$50,434$24.25


How Much Do Entry-Level Crane Operators Make?

How much do crane operators get paid at the entry level? On average, you will make $35,000 per year as an entry-level crane operator with 0-2 years of experience. You will make $2,916 per month and $673 per week on average. Entry-level crane operators work for an average hourly rate of $16.82. You can expect your average daily pay to be $134.


How Much Do Mid-Level Crane Operators Make?

Do you want to know how much money do crane operators make at the mid-level? If you are a mid-level crane operator, you have 3-6 years of experience. At this level, you will make $54,275 per year on average. Your monthly wage as a mid-level crane operator will be $4,522, and you will make an average wage of $1,043 weekly. Your income will average out at a rate of $208 per day and $26 per hour.


How Much Do Senior-Level Crane Operators Make?

Senior-level crane operators have between 7-12 years of experience. At the senior level, you can expect an average salary of $61,921 annually. Your monthly wage will be $5,160, and your weekly wage will be $1,178. Senior-level crane operators will make $235 daily and work at an average hourly rate of $29.

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Insurance Requirements for Boosting Income

Getting the right insurance coverage is crucial for protecting and boosting your business income. Without insurance coverage, your crane operating business can be left footing the bill for an expensive lawsuit or damage to your property. The following policies are recommended to avoid high financial costs and protect your business in the future.


Business Owner’s Policy for Crane Operators

A business owner’s policy combines general liability coverage and commercial property insurance. For this reason, it is considered a more comprehensive insurance option that can save you money. NEXT is our top choice for a business owner’s policy. 

Their business owner's policy features the same coverage as their general liability policy. This means you aren’t missing out on coverage by taking on a business owner’s policy. Their business owner’s policy saves you money compared to buying the coverage it contains in separate policies. 

NEXT promises quotes for your crane operator business in 10 minutes or less. You save 10% or more on business insurance when bundling with them. They boast a 4.7/5 rating in their customer reviews. NEXT has an A- rating with AM Best.


General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance protects your crane operating business from third-party claims. Typically it covers claims related to bodily injury, property damage, and advertising injury. If you accidentally damage property or a person is injured by your crane operating, this policy will protect you. 

Thimble is our recommended pick for this insurance coverage. They provide resources to help you understand your policy options and feature a quick-buying process. You can have your coverage within hours of filling out your insurance form. They offer short-term general liability coverage. This means you can get covered for a customized policy duration that you set down to the month, day, or hour. Thimble has an A+ from the Better Business Bureau.


Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance protects your business from the consequences of errors, oversights, and other mistakes. This policy helps you pay legal fees and court costs from negligence, copyright infringement, and libel lawsuits. For this insurance policy, we recommend Hiscox

They have a trusted service award from Feefo. Their policies are discounted when bundled together, and you get a 14-day refund window if you are unsatisfied. Thanks to these advantages, you can shop policies at Hiscox with less stress. 

Their professional liability insurance policy extends coverage outside of the US. Their service agents are standing by to deliver a personalized experience. Hiscox excels at providing tailored policies to small and medium-sized businesses. Hiscox has an A rating from AM Best.


Commercial Property Insurance

Commercial property insurance is essential for crane operators because it protects your business property from damaging events. The events covered include:

  • Theft

  • Fire

  • Vandalism

  • Wind damage

  • Water damage

  • Explosions


CoverWallet is our top choice for commercial property insurance. They offer a selection of over ten highly-rated insurance partners to choose from. You can fill out an insurance form asking detailed questions to apply for a policy. If you are in a hurry, you can skip the form and call them for help. Their handy app contains an insurance policy dashboard that simplifies tracking policies and claims. CoverWallet has an A+ from the Better Business Bureau.


Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial auto insurance protects your business against the liabilities of vehicle accidents. Most states require all operating vehicles on roadways to have an insurance policy. This insurance also protects your vehicles from damage or being totaled. Tivly is our recommended option for commercial auto insurance. They have over 200 insurance partners to choose from. You can pick policies with options like gap coverage, personal injury protection, uninsured motorist coverage, and more. 

With Tivly, you don't apply for quotes online but through a quick phone call. Tivly boasts a quick 4-second phone answering rate. With such a quick response time, your future policy is never far away. Tivly makes it easy to update your policy as your business needs change. One downside of Tivly is that they don't yet have a mobile app. Tivly has over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry. They have an A rating from the Better Business Bureau.


Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance is required in most states for crane operator businesses with employees. It protects your workers by paying for medical treatments when they get hurt or sick. 

A workers’ compensation policy also provides supplemental income when employees cannot work or have to reduce their hours due to an injury. The Hartford is an excellent pick for your workers' compensation insurance policy. They are a long-standing insurer with over 200 years of insurance underwriting experience. 

The company stands out for its plethora of features. The Hartford give your employees access to over 65,000 pharmacies nationwide. They also employ nurse case managers that ensure your employees are getting proper care at every point of their recovery process. The Hartford’s policies offer benefits to AARP members. 

They have a mobile app and have served over one million small businesses. This company was named one of the most ethical companies by Ethisphere. The Hartford has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

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