Cherry pickers are a valuable piece of machinery for any job involving height.
By using cherry pickers, individuals can be elevated to a suitable height to carry out work like roof and brickwork repairs, maintenance of tall structures, tree surgery, etc.
Cherry pickers are easy to manoeuvre into place and safe to operate, providing all directions and safety precautions are followed to the letter. They’re a flexible alternative to scaffolding for shorter-term applications.
This is a guide to the cost of hiring a cherry picker in the UK and factors that affect the cost.
Average Cost of Hiring a Cherry Picker
The average cost of hiring a cherry picker varies primarily with the type of cherry picker. Larger, more complex cherry pickers are more expensive, and some will need specially trained operators. By compiling quotes from 6 primary sources and 5 secondary sources, we discovered the following average costs of hiring a cherry picker.
Prices generally start around the £200 mark per day for standard-sized cherry pickers suitable for work on second stories. From there, prices range up to thousands per day for large construction-ready cherry pickers.
|Boom lift (up to 3.5 tonnes)||£175 - £700||£150 - £600 (per day)||£350 - £1000+|
|Boom lift (over 3.5 tonnes)||£700 - £1,500||£500 - £1,250 (per day)||£2,000 - £5,000+|
|Scissor lift (up to 3.5 tonnes)||£100 - £600||£175 - £500 (per day)||£300 - £1,000+|
|Low Level Access Platform (up to 3.5 tonnes)||£100 - £200||£90 - £200 (per day)||£300 - £1,000+|
|Truck Mounted Cherry Picker||£600 - £1,500||£400 - £1,250 (per day)||£1,500 - £5,000+|
|Spider Lift||£800 - £2,000||£700 - £2,000 (per day)||£2,000 - £5,000+|
|1-Man Crew (Small Boom lift, Small Scissor Lift or Low-Level Platform)||£100 - £250||£90 - £250 (per day)||£700 - £1,500|
|2-Man Crew (Large Boom lift, Large Scissor Lift or Spider Lift)||£250 - £600||£200 - £500 (per day)||£1,500 - £3,000|
Factors Affecting the Cost of Hiring a Cherry Picker
Cherry pickers range from small low-level access platforms for work at 3.5m to 10m. There are several factors that can affect the cost of hiring a cherry picker, including:
- The type and size of the cherry picker: Larger and more advanced cherry pickers will always cost more to hire than smaller, more basic models. For example, you can get huge cherry pickers designed for work at heights of over 50m.
- The duration of the hire: Of course, the longer the hire period, the higher the cost. However, hiring for two or more days is cheaper than hiring for a single day.
- Location: Prices are usually higher in London and the southeast.
- The time of year: Cherry picker hire rates may be higher during peak seasons, such as summer months. Residential hirers might be competing with maintenance construction companies, so the availability of cherry pickers might slimmer in peak times.
- The specific requirements of the job: Additional equipment or specialised operators may be required, which can increase the cost of the hire.
Do You Need a License to Operate a Cherry Picker?
Firstly, you cannot hire a cherry picker in the UK without a full UK driving license. Standard-sized cherry pickers under 3.5 tonnes can be driven by anyone with a driving licence, whereas larger models between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes require a C1 licence to drive.
However, regulations do apply to operating the cherry picker. If you intend to operate it, you’ll need MEWP accreditation to comply with regulations for working at height. Cherry pickers fall under the category of Mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs), and you can view HSE’s guidance here. Operators must be competent and trained via a recognised scheme such as that offered by the IPAF (International Powered Access Federation).
If the person hiring intends to operate the cherry picker, they’ll usually be asked for a certificate that they’ve completed training.
In short, if you’re a residential property owner who wants to hire a cherry picker for construction, repair, or maintenance work, you’ll need to hire someone to operate it and oversee safety.
It’s also crucial to undergo the required safety procedures, such as using a harness or lanyard.
Permits For Cherry Pickers
If you intend to use the cherry picker on a public highway, you’ll need a permit. Local councils organise permits and their costs, and rules and pricing vary considerably across the UK.
In addition to the permit, some councils require a deposit. Some councils don’t charge for the permit, but the majority do, and criteria are stricter in built-up areas and cities.
For example, Croydon Council charges £235 for the first day with an additional deposit of £200, and Surrey charges £225. In contrast, Bucks County Council charges just £45 for certain streets, and Bromley Council charges £27 per day.
Lincolnshire County Council requires a permit, but the permit is free. Windsor and Maidenhead charge an eye-watering £568!
This licence is generally referred to as a temporary highway licence or temporary structure licence.
Different Types of Cherry Pickers
There are several types of cherry pickers with unique characteristics and uses.
- Boom Lifts: Boom lifts are the most common type of cherry picker. They consist of a platform attached to the end of an articulated arm, or “boom,” that can be extended to reach high places. Boom lifts can be either telescopic, where the arm is made up of several sections that can be extended one at a time, or with knuckles, where the arm is made up of several jointed sections.
- Low-Level Access Platforms: These are portable units for working up to heights of 10m or less.
- Scissor Lifts: Scissor lifts have a platform raised and lowered by a set of crisscrossing metal supports, or “scissors.” They are typically used for vertical travel only.
- Vertical Lifts: Vertical lifts are similar to boom lifts, but the arm is fixed and cannot be extended. They can travel vertically and horizontally.
- Spider Lifts: Spider lifts are often mounted on caterpillar tracks and can be driven through doorways and narrow spaces. They have multiple outriggers to provide stability.
Boom lifts are the most flexible cherry picker and can be very small for working at heights of 10m or so or very large for working at heights of over 50m. Low-level access platforms are suitable for working at 10m or lower.
Larger boom lifts are mounted on the back of trucks. 10m boom or scissor lifts are all that’s required for most home improvement and maintenance works.
To Sum Up
Cherry pickers are useful for various tasks involving working at height. Cherry pickers vary from smaller low-level access platforms to colossal spider platforms and boom lifts.
Prices vary from around £200 a day for low-level access platforms to thousands for large boom lifts. For most projects lasting 5 days to a week, it’s sensible to budget at least £1,000 for a moderate boom lift.
While you don’t need a licence to dry a motorised cherry picker, regulations do require operators to be competent or possess a certificate of training. This has become stricter in recent years, and many hirers ask to see a certificate before hiring out the cherry picker.
So, in many cases, it’s only possible to hire a cherry picker if the hirer is also hiring an operator.