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What Is The Difference Between Wet And Dry Hire?

If you’re undertaking any sort of major construction project, it is likely you will require a crane to lift and move heavy materials. Cranes are often hired on a project-by-project basis, so you’ll need to weigh up your options (wet hire vs. dry hire). Both options have their pros and cons, and the decision usually comes down to the job requirements and budget available. 

What Is Wet Hire?

A wet hire involves hiring not only the crane but also the crane operator. If you opt for wet hire, the crane hire company generally takes responsibility for any repairs and maintenance required during the rental period. 

The Benefits Of Wet Hire

  • Expert operators

Even if you already have qualified crane operators, a wet hire can offer you the benefit of an operator that is highly skilled in operating that specific crane. This could save the time that is required by operators to familiarise themselves with the hired crane. You’re also likely to get a better quality performance and a faster speed of service from the supplied operator who is proficient in operating that specific type of crane.


  • Hire company’s responsibility 

In wet hires, the operators are responsible for the crane. This means that the responsibility for any problem, damage or machinery failure lies with the operator’s company. The hiring company also has the responsibility of ensuring that the operator is appropriately trained, licensed and insured. 


  • No maintenance required 

Cranes are complex machines and adequate maintenance is absolutely essential for ensuring safe operation. In a wet hire agreement, you can rest easy knowing that the crane you use is being maintained by the company according to the appropriate maintenance schedule. Wet hire cranes are also generally better maintained as they are less susceptible to wear and tear from improper use. 


  • Fixed costs

Although wet hire is more expensive than dry hire, the costs are usually clearly conveyed and won’t change much over the course of the project. Dry hire is generally harder to budget for as labour costs may vary.

What Is Dry Hire?

A dry hire involves hiring the crane on its own. If you opt for dry hire you will need to have your own trained and licensed crane operator. You will also need to pay for any repairs or maintenance that is required over the course of the hire period in some cases.

The Benefits Of Dry Hire

  • Cost

Unsurprisingly, dry hiring a crane is significantly cheaper than wet hiring in terms of upfront costs. You will need to factor in the cost of labour in order to determine the full cost. Dry hire is usually cheaper as you may be able to use a crane operator with a lower hourly rate than the operator provided in the wet hire agreement.


  • Flexibility

Dry hire can be a good option for longer projects, which may be prone to pauses and changes in schedule. In this type of agreement, you can schedule your own crane operator to work on an ad-hoc basis rather than continuously paying throughout the wet hire contract. 


  • Simplify management 

If you already have experienced crane operators, they may be easier to direct than a wet hire operator who is not aware of your project’s requirements and procedures. There is also always a risk of personality or value clashes when working with an outside contractor you have not hand-selected.


  • Safety benefits

Another benefit of using your own staff member to operate the crane is that you can be confident they are properly trained in the safety procedures of this particular site and project. Having an established relationship of trust will also mean you may feel more confident they will follow their safety training.


Which Is Better – Wet Or Dry Hire?

Deciding whether you should opt for dry hire or wet hire will depend on a number of factors as outlined above. Wet hire can be a great option for shorter-term projects where you need predictable fixed costs and don’t want the hassle of sourcing a crane operator. Dry hire can sometimes be a cheaper option. Especially for longer-term projects which may be unpredictable in terms of when the crane will be required.


If you’re looking to hire a mobile crane for your next construction job, contact St George Cranes today to discuss what type of mobile crane is suitable for your project.

Date posted: November 8, 2022 | St George Cranes