How Much Do Excavator Operators Earn for a Living?

How Much Do Excavator Operators Earn for a Living?

For people who love working with heavy machinery in the great outdoors, a career as an excavator equipment operator may be to your calling. An excavator operator handles excavator equipment for commercial and industrial use, or will rent out their services to residential homeowners who need the experience of an operator to perform small jobs on their properties.
Here at Rent1, we are a heavy equipment rental company that provides excavators, skid steers and other machinery for commercial, industrial and residential clients. We offer over 60 rental machines that are practically brand new as we sell off our old equipment after a few hundred hours of use (or less). On occasion, we are contacted by people wondering how to become an excavator operator as they are curious to learn how much they could make as their hourly and yearly salary.
If you have been wondering what an excavator operator can make in Canada, here is some helpful information to use. You can learn how much an excavator operator can earn in Canada, the required experience, and the types of tasks that they may have to perform.

Excavator Operator Requirements

Excavator operators have a variety of job tasks to perform based on the company they work for and the industry. Their main tasks may involve digging holes and trenches, moving materials and debris, clearing land, landscaping and demolishing. An excavator operator can work in harsh conditions such as rain, sleet and snow. They may also work in remote locations such as mines and forests. They have to be able to handle extreme conditions such as cold, heat, noise and dust. Some of the industries where excavator operators may work in include landscaping, agricultural, construction, mining, energy, alternative energy, and demolition.
Excavator operators need to have good communication and team-building skills. They may work alone or as a team on large construction and development projects. The operator needs to constantly be aware of the environment they work in and the changing conditions that can impact their work productivity and output. Mechanical skills are also desired as the operator should possess attention-to-detail, have good eyesight and be in relatively good shape. In addition, excavator operators have to fully understand all safety protocols and policies set forth by their company as well as local operator codes.

Excavator Operator Education

A person can become an excavator operator with simply a high school diploma or equivalent. They will learn the skills through a formal apprenticeship and on-the-job training. Other people may also obtain college-level classes in mechanics or construction and obtain hands-on-experience when attending a trade school. Formal training may open up more job opportunities for a person to find the salary and company that will be the perfect fit for them. Licensing, certification and possessing a commercial license may be required for some heavy equipment operators.

Excavator Operator Salary

An excavator operator in the Canada area can earn an average rate between $18.66 per hour to $35.91 per hour depending on the industry and work requirements. The average hourly salary is normally about $26.04 to $27.71 in Canada. Annually, an excavator operator in Canada can earn about $39,824 a year to $82,520 a year. The national average year-end salary is about $57,000.
This pay rate was compiled from April 2018 annual data, as certain industries may pay less or more that this annual average rate. In addition, some companies will need the excavator operator to work weekends, overtime and night shifts. An excavator operator who works overtime could possibly earn $14.29 an hour to $50.50 per hour in additional pay on top of their hourly rate.

Factors that Impact Excavator Operator Salaries

There are a range of different factors that can impact how much an excavator operator makes in Canada. The location and sparseness of qualified operators can make the salary more competitive, as an excavator operator may be offered additional benefits. In addition, the type of industry may also increase the hourly rate. Excavator operators who will work in more dangerous areas or work environments, such as mining, construction or energy industries, could possibly see different hourly rates versus an excavator operator working in landscaping or grading jobs.
The job experience will also impact excavator operator salaries. Excavator operators who have worked in this industry who are in a late career position could see an increase in their annual $57,000 salary by up to 10%. A mid-career excavator operator could actually see a decrease in the annual year-end salary by 1% while an entry level operator’s salary could be decreased by more than 8%. An experienced excavator operator who isn’t entering their late career can see an increase in salary by up to 5%.
Another factor that may increase an excavator operator’s salary is his knowledge of other heavy equipment. If the operator also knows how to use track loaders, skid steers, and loaders may also be compensated by their particular company for having this additional knowledge and experience. This compensation is due to the fact that the company would not have to spend more money or time hiring another worker to operate the other heavy equipment. Also, the company won’t have to spend more time training the excavator operator on how to use this other equipment. Having an understanding of safety compliance may also have an impact on how much a person can earn as an excavator operator.

Excavator Operator Opportunities

There are many industries out there that have the need for an excavator operator. If there is no one specific industry that a person would like to work for so long as they can get into the cab seat of an excavator, they may decide to work at a heavy equipment rental company. Heavy equipment rental companies work with a variety of industries such as farming, mining, construction and landscaping as these businesses provide experienced heavy equipment operators and reliable machinery for different projects. Excavator operators working for heavy equipment rental companies may also help residential homeowners who are in need of an excavator yet are not confident enough to drive the heavy machinery themselves for several hours.
Renting an excavator and an operator is desired by many commercial and industrial companies for short-term and long-term work. This work opportunity can be a great benefit to excavator operators who are looking for temporary or extensive projects based on their salary objectives.
If working with your hands and with heavy equipment at various work sites is something that you are interested in, consider becoming an excavator operator. The chance to work in such an environment as part of a team can provide you with a satisfying career.