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  1. #61
    Bronze Member redfarmer's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
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    71
    Location
    Southeastern PA
    Tractor
    case ih

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    Hey have you considered large scale farming? Just thought I had to mention that beings that I am a farmer at heart, and love what I do!

  2. #62
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Posts
    22,519
    Location
    South Bend, Indiana (near)
    Tractor
    Power Trac PT425 2001 Model Year

    Default Re: Heavy machinery operator

    Don't forget that a lot of heavy equipment work is seasonal and cyclical. That means you can be unemployed for months between jobs due to weather, winter, economy, etc.... so you better have a backup plan to bring in cash and you need to understand personal finance as well (which a lot of folks don't).

    For example:
    I have a brother-in-law that is a heavy equipment operator. When he works, he makes great money. But he is off work most winters for at least 4 months, and some years 5-6 months. He sometimes gets called in to plow snow, but last winter, there was NO snow to plow.

    So, try to look for consistent employment if you plan on having a family some day.
    If you plan on being single for a while, I would suggest work that requires travel. It generally pays much more and you can have a rowdy good time with the folks on the job. Just be sure to stockpile as much money as you can for the future.

    I don't know the laws in Canada, but I tell every young person I meet here to start a ROTH IRA as soon as they turn 18 and deposit 15% of their earnings in it before they do anything else. Pay yourself first. Had I known about reitrement savings at 18 instead of 24 I would be retiring at 55 instead of 67 with more money!

    Stay in school. Go heavy on math. Become a foreman for an engineering/construction company. Start your own excavating company. You can do it.
    MossRoad

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  3. #63
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    857
    Location
    WV
    Tractor
    John Deere 1026R

    Default

    I agree that the more geometry and unit conversions you can do the better. Converting cubic yards to feet to tons is a big one as well as calculating stockpile and excavation volumes to figure how much fill will have to be trucked to or away from the site. Learn basic surveying skills for using survey tools and reading and writing surveys. Learn to estimate fuel usage, wear, and maintenance costs. Take a basic business and accounting class to learn how to keep track of what you are spending and earning. If you never see that an employee costs their salary +30% then you won't bid your jobs high enough.

    It took me a while to get out of the "I can do that job for less" mind-set when bidding jobs. It's usually more like "what hidden cost did I forget about?"

  4. #64
    Bronze Member rubes2311's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    Posts
    66
    Location
    Peterborough, Ontario
    Tractor
    Dynamark

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    Quote Originally Posted by redfarmer
    Hey have you considered large scale farming? Just thought I had to mention that beings that I am a farmer at heart, and love what I do!
    I would love to be a farmer but it cost A LOT of money to start a farm unless you inherit one. Unfortunately I have no farmers in my family so the next closest thing would to be a heavy machery operator

  5. #65
    Super Member dave1949's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
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    9,015
    Location
    Industry, Maine
    Tractor
    New Holland TC40

    Default Re: Heavy machinery operator

    Quote Originally Posted by rubes2311 View Post
    I would love to be a farmer but it cost A LOT of money to start a farm unless you inherit one. Unfortunately I have no farmers in my family so the next closest thing would to be a heavy machery operator
    Or get close to a farmer's daughter Just kidding. Don't shut doors prematurely. You could connect with someone who farms but needs help which could take you from hired-hand to something larger with the right attitude and mentors, you could rent or lease land to get your foot in the Ag door.
    "Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end ..."

  6. #66
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    982
    Location
    Hartford, SD
    Tractor
    Kubota L3400F

    Default Re: Heavy machinery operator

    Quote Originally Posted by rubes2311 View Post
    I would love to be a farmer but it cost A LOT of money to start a farm unless you inherit one. Unfortunately I have no farmers in my family so the next closest thing would to be a heavy machery operator
    Yopu could always marry one's daughter.

  7. #67
    Super Member dave1949's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    9,015
    Location
    Industry, Maine
    Tractor
    New Holland TC40

    Default Re: Heavy machinery operator

    Quote Originally Posted by sdkubota View Post
    Yopu could always marry one's daughter.
    Dirty Old Man
    "Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end ..."

  8. #68
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    7
    Location
    Vancouver, bc
    Tractor
    Bobcat T190, MT55, E55, 430 ZHS

    Default Re: Heavy machinery operator

    Hey guys,
    I'm 36 and have had a construction/landscaping biz for about 12 years. I bought our first machine (a tiny little MT55 with a hoe attachment) about 8 years ago. Then we uptraded it for a T190 track loader and a 430 excavator. Now we uptraded the 430 for an E55 and are soon to be upgrading the T190.

    Some times I'm the operator and at times I've had operators running our machines. I never planned on this path and only started getting into the machine work because we couldn't find reliable owner/operators. We would arrange for a bobcat guy for a week and on day one we'd have five tandems sitting waiting for a couple of hours while our machine or operator showed up late. Aaaarg that was frustrating. After it happened with he third guy we were using I but the bullet and got our own machines. I just learned to run them by running them. I'm alright but not as good as some of the operators that we've had that can REALLY run them.

    My advice is to learn it by doing it not just by becoming certified. We've hired and fired a number of guys that were 'certified' but didn't know their stuff. And we've had some incredible guys who were born on a tractor but have no paperwork. I prefer the latter.

    My advice...take a year or two and get on at a small company that will give you some time running them. Ask to practice on the machine for free on the weekends or something. Don't focus on your immediate wage and look at it like free schooling.

    Your generation is going to have a dozen different career changes and being handing on machinery opens up tons of options. If you have fun on those machines give it a shot and see what happens.

    Cheers

  9. #69
    Platinum Member sparc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    974
    Location
    NJ
    Tractor
    JD 4410, NH TC-25, Bobcat M610, JD X534, Dig-It Model 158

    Default Re: Heavy machinery operator

    Quote Originally Posted by ch47dpilot View Post
    Rubes, just glanced through the 4 pages but didn't see anyone suggest the military. I'm retiring from the Army (Chinook Helicopter pilot) and did 4 years in the Air Force as a mechanic on F-111D/Fs. I won't say in today's climate that the military would be my first choice as an option, but..... All 4 branches have heavy equipment operators, you'll get to do the job for a few years to see if you like it. If you don't then you'll at least have that knowledge and the Post911 GI Bill.
    If you were in the US and thinking about going in the service to gain some experience I would say consider becoming a EO (Equipment Operator) with the SeaBees. There is most likely a similar group in your military.

  10. #70
    Bronze Member rubes2311's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
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    66
    Location
    Peterborough, Ontario
    Tractor
    Dynamark

    Default

    I like the idea of free schooling but im planning to go to college to learn how to do simple repairs on diesel engines and maybe a corse on road construction

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