Access platform hire rates for a one-man operator and cherry picker costs in the region of about £25 to £30 per hour. A two-man crew and cherry picker hire cost about £50 per hour so you can see that the major part of the total amount is down to the cherry picker hire cost per day. Remember too that the rental will almost certainly be subject to a minimum hire charge to cover the time the equipment is booked to you and that includes delivery time as well as cleaning and maintenance at the end of the hire period.
Another thing to remember is that the delivery of an access platform may cost more depending on how far you are from the hire shop. It is always useful to save money on both large and small cherry picker hire prices by approaching the nearest hire shop first. Don’t always take the first price or rate you are offered for the simple reason that the shop slightly further away may have cheaper hire charges even with extra delivery costs. Don’t forget to work slowly through your list of nearby hire shops, compare the total price from each and then go back to rent from the chosen shop.
The larger machines will almost certainly be rented to companies who have their own qualified operators and are able to cover the insurance costs themselves. In these cases, most platforms will be rented at a daily or weekly rate. Once again remember that the hire period will also have a minimum charge to cover delivery and end of rental maintenance. You may find that some shops will offer a total price for the job rather than an hourly rate and that is especially true if you are hiring manpower as well.
|Access Platform||Rate||Additional notes|
|One man crew & platform hire. Small scissor platform||£30 per hour or fixed charge||Additional fees include delivery and minimum charge|
|Two-man crew & platform hire. Small scissor platform||£50 per hour or fixed charge||Additional fees include delivery and minimum charge|
|Large access platform with 12m boom||£100 per day or £300 per week||Additional fees include delivery and minimum charge|
Remember these amounts are indicative only and will vary depending on the size and type of the cherry picker as well as your location. London rates will always be more expensive than other parts of the country.
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What Are Cherry Pickers Used For?
Cherry Pickers, are the common name for a range of different shaped and sized self-powered mobile, elevating access platforms. They are a useful piece of equipment for any trade or occupation that requires its workforce to work at height and move from location to location quickly.
Ladders, although still commonly used by tradesmen, are inherently dangerous in that they are:
- Difficult to secure at the top without climbing up the ladder.
- You must at all times have at least three points of contact with a ladder; two feet and one hand; two hands and one foot, or two hands and two feet. You can see that this makes it difficult to carry tools and materials on a ladder and even more difficult to work from a ladder.
- A ladder needs a firm and level surface on which to stand.
- Two people cannot be on a ladder together.
- A ladder always needs something to lean against.
The obvious answer to the problem of a ladder is to use a platform provided by scaffolding. Scaffolding is, however, difficult to use for most applications because:
- It is expensive to hire.
- It can only be erected by qualified tradesmen.
- It is no use if all that is required is an hour or two or access.
- Ladders are needed to access the higher platforms so will need an elevator for carrying tools and materials.
- Access is limited to the height of standard levels.
- There may not always be enough room to build scaffolding.
Cherry Pickers get around all these problems because:
- They are fitted onto a movable vehicle so is easily manoeuvrable.
- They can give safe access to a range of heights.
- They can reach over obstacles.
- The operator can carry tools and equipment inside the operator’s cage.
- The operator can use controls either inside the cage at height or on the mobile unit at ground level. He can, therefore, work alone if necessary.
- The operator can work for many hours or just a few minutes before moving to the next location.
Who Uses Them?
Theoretically, the answer to this one is “Anyone who has to work at height”.
That could mean someone who is
- Repairing your chimney.
- Painting the fascias and cleaning your guttering.
- Replacing upstairs windows.
- Fitting a television antenna on the chimney.
- Electricity and telephone employees working on poles or overhead wires.
And if those aren’t enough they could also be harvesting fruit from trees (cherry picking!).
In practice, however, you will find that because of insurance and safety regulations, the only people who are allowed on them are suitably qualified and insured personnel.
How To Choose
The required cherry picker height and reach will always depend on the size of the job, how high the working platform needs to be and how far does the arm (or boom) have to reach horizontally. It will also depend on how long they will need to be in operation, whether they are to be self-mobilised or on the back of a van or truck and If they are powered by a diesel engine or electrical battery.
For most domestic uses a scissor jack access platform on a self-propelled base unit or a cherry picker attached to a Ford Transit van with a 12m reach will usually be ample. The former is good for windows, guttering and fascias as it is purely vertical access while the latter allows vertical and horizontal access so will allow work to be done up to chimney height of a standard house. You will probably have seen the telephone engineers using one of this size when working on overhead cables at the top of telegraph poles, or town council employed electricians working on street lights.
It is a general rule that high buildings need more reach on the cherry pickers and because of that, they need a heavier base unit. They also need to have a larger engine and you will find that a large cherry picker is more likely to have a diesel engine than an electrical battery. Higher buildings are generally not domestic houses but are more likely to be industrial units, public buildings or apartment blocks and require more complicated access. It is therefore common practice for the building owners or management companies to have equipment of their own or employ construction companies who either own or can hire access platforms.
Finding Hiring Services Near You
Although you can rent small cherry pickers from hire shops there are also a growing number of companies specialising in access equipment hire from which larger cherry pickers can be rented or bought. You will probably find that the larger and more specialised type of access platform can be hired from companies congregated around industrial areas, while the small cherry picker hire outlets in a local tool hire shop are available to gardening contractors, tradesmen and small construction companies.
Can Anyone Use A Cherry Picker?
Now we come down to the nitty-gritty. Not everyone can hire one. A motorised access platform can be dangerous in untrained hands as hydraulic systems are not easy to control. The controls need some practice before the boom can be extended smoothly without unnecessary jerkiness. In fact, the operator of a boom hydraulic system such as those found on cherry pickers will find them just as difficult to operate as those on forklift trucks and small mini cranes and you will definitely need a competency test to satisfy your insurance company before operating one of these. The base unit also needs to have outrigger legs deployed to increase the unit’s footprint thus making it more difficult to topple the machine over. Whoever is in the cage must not underestimate the power of fear either.
If the operator is working alone and is high up in the air accessing a chimney or roof, just consider how awkward it would be if the untrained operative froze because of a previously unknown fear of heights. He would not be able to operate the controls and retract the boom to ground level and may even end up causing severe property damage or at the very extreme cause injury and death. Rental companies do not want to be held responsible for situations like this which is why they insist on suitable training and insurance.
Operators require training for working at height as well as passing a test to operate the cherry picker. You will find that hire companies will only rent access platforms to companies that carry their own insurance for machines like these. This limits the rentals to bona fide companies that have employees trained in the use of the machines and have relevant ‘working at height’ qualifications.
How then can the ordinary householder get hold of one to fit his television aerial or paint his fascia boards? The answer to this riddle is that he can rent a platform complete with a trained operator. The number of operators depends on the size of the job, but most general home maintenance tasks should only need one skilled handyman.
As with any piece of equipment, the safety of people and property comes before all other considerations. As we stated earlier, mobile access platforms can be very dangerous for the operators and bystanders and if operated incorrectly can result in injury and even be fatal. Similarly, unskilled operation can result in damage to the property being worked on and to the access platform itself. These are the reasons why it is very rare that the ordinary householder can hire an access platform and operate it himself. Either you have to hire an operator with the equipment or you have to supply your own qualified operator. If you are supplying your own, you will have to provide evidence of qualifications and suitable insurance cover.
So let’s assume that you are hiring a cherry picker and operator, you won’t have to worry about insurance or qualifications but there are a few things you will have to check and remedy if necessary:
- The access to the site is safe, can take the weight of the equipment and is large enough to allow access.
- There are no overhead electricity or phone wires that can get in the way. If there are, you must notify the utility provider so they can take relevant safeguards.
- Keep children and animals away from the work area.
- Provide somewhere safe for equipment storage if it is being left on your property overnight.
- If the equipment is being used on the road, make sure you don’t fall foul of any parking restrictions and ensure there are sufficient signs to warn pedestrians and road users of the ongoing work.
- Make sure you know who is to supply the diesel fuel or charge the battery.
Cherry pickers or mobile access platforms can be really useful for providing access to difficult to reach locations on your property. They are easier to use than scaffolding and are often cheaper to hire as well, even if you hire a work crew. The only thing to remember is that it will be very unlikely that you as a householder will be able to use the cherry picker.
Overall, using a cherry picker will be an economical and handy tool when it comes to many different maintenance jobs on your house such as painting a window, repairing a loose roof tile, or pruning high branches.