You have a couple of options, such as using a generic labor hire company such as Hays, Skilled etc. these companies supply everything from traffic controllers, secretaries and crane operators and they do this poorly for the following reasons
- the recruiter is generally from a sales background, and if you are lucky has spent 5 minutes on a building site. They barely even know what a crane is so how can they be expected to find a good operator or ask the questions to separate the good operators from someone bluffing their way into a job?
- they dont know how to deal with crane crews. Again this comes down to experience and they just dont have it.
- look at the adverts in the classified such as indeed or seek. The ones advertising for tower crane operators are 95% of the time from generic labor hire companies. The reason is they dont know the industry or the people in it and have to source from the people that are unemployed and dont have the skilled to work for a proper crane company
- generic labor hire companies dont look after their workers, whatever they charge you they take a large cut, sometimes more than half before passing that onto their workers. You may think that this is not your problem but any good workers will only put up with that for so long before leaving. Do you really want a high turnover of workers on your site? Although to be fair the totally useless workers may stick around as they are unemployable elsewhere
The second option is to have one of your existing workers (usually the laborer or apprentice) do a one week tower crane course. This may be fine on smaller sites such as a high end house but on larger sites your newbie crane operator will be much slower than an experienced crane operator and you will have unnecessary delays. Personally I believe this is the best option for builders on small sites that are usually not very busy with the crane during the duration of the project. Make sure the worker that is selected is of good temperament, is calm and level headed and wont get stressed out or do things beyond their ability.
You can use one of the six or so unionized crane companies in Sydney. Whilst these companies are generally very professional it seems that their rates are set in conjunction with the union. There is not much difference in price and not much real competition between them. Workers are shared between companies and from an economic perspective we could describe this market structure as a cartel. Generally good workers although price may be cost prohibitive, the difference between using these guys and others can run into the 100s of thousands over the life of a project. Expect to pay around $90 per hour and $120 per hour on Saturdays and after 8 hours. That equals $16,560 a week before GST for a 3 man crew working 4 x 10 hour days and 2 x 8 hour days.