Carriers either ignore or are unaware of contractors’ higher than average truck roll expenses

In Featured News by Wireless Estimator

In order to be compliant and perform a quality installation, contractor are required to provide a crew cab vehicle that can cost a quarter million dollars of more

In order to be compliant and perform a quality installation, contractors are required to provide a fully-equipped crew cab truck that can cost up to a quarter million dollars or more.

Wireless contractors can’t be profitable with the hourly rates set by carriers and turfing contractors in many markets or the rates that they have to use to successfully win a bid, according to company executives who registered their concerns in an extensive nation-wide survey taken by Wireless Estimator that will be released this week.

“They treat us like we’re a typical household serviceman or a U-Verse tech,  and when they want to lay off more work on you they don’t understand how difficult that is. They have absolutely no idea what it costs for us to fully equip a crew truck. Then when they slow down, the equipment’s sole function is to remind you that you’ve got a loan payment due,” wrote the troubled contractor, one of hundreds of others who provided honest assessments of the current state of wireless contracting.

He’s likely correct regarding his clients’ lack of knowledge regarding the actual cost of a crew cab and equipment since a few company owners contacted by Wireless Estimator couldn’t pinpoint it with any degree of accuracy.

Six established contractors offered to detail costs to Wireless Estimator and they were all close in their provided expenses listed below, with the average three-technician crew cab and its equipment totaling $225,000. In some cases in rough terrain markets, the crew cab cost could be considerably more.

The excessive cost to outfit a crew is most likely one of the highest of any industry. As an example, a garage door service technician rolls up to a contractor’s bay door and the charge could easily be $100 or more per hour. Yet, the $23,000 cargo van most likely is stocked with a few hand tools, springs and hardware, totaling no more than $3,000.

Yet, carriers oftentimes will limit wireless contracting crew pricing to $65 to $75 per man hour in some markets.

If you’re calling AT&T to troubleshoot your home’s DSL service, their published pricing is $99 to tell you that a ten-minute check at your test port identified that the problem was inside your home. Then it will be $149 to spend in most cases an average of an hour to identify and fix the problem.

Also, before they do any work, you’re required to authorize it with your signature, and payment must be paid during the next billing cycle. What a concept.

A U-Verse technician provides a vital link in maintaining telecommunications. However, there is no comparison between the skillsets and training required of a tower technician.

Hopefully, the carriers aren’t aware of the fragile state of the industry and the high cost born by contractors to equip a three-man crew, and the survey will create the necessary dialogue with contractors, associations and other stakeholders if they want to ensure a healthy industry that can partner with them in rolling out 5G.

Description Quantity Cost Each Total Description
Truck w/Utility Body 1 $55,000 $55,000 F-250 Utility Crew Cab or Equal
Trailer 8’x16′ Enclosed 0.5 $10,000 $5,000 Various, Not Used Every Time
Drum Hoist 0.25 $20,000 $5,000 2 Drum, Not Used Every Time
BBU Emulation Tool (Verizon) 0.25 $38,000 $9,500 Not Required For Every Truck, But Every New Build
PIM Sets 3 $22,000 $66,000 3 Different Frequencies
Sweep Set w/Accessories 1 $10,000 $10,000 Sweep Set
Antenna Alignment Tool 1 $7,500 $7,500 Various Aligners
Remote Electrical Tilt Tool 1 $1,300 $1,300 RET Tool
Fiber Test and Cleaning Set 1 $9,500 $9,500 Fiber Tester and Accessories
Spool Stands 1 $1,500 $1,500 Tx Line Spool Stands
Generator 1 $1,000 $1,000 Various
Cordless Tool Set 1 $1,500 $1,500 Various Tools
PPE Climber Kit/w Radio 3 $1,800 $5,400 Various PPE Equipment
RF Monitors 3 $600 $1,800 Various
Rope Access Kit 1 $1,600 $1,600 Various
Capstan Winch 1 $4,000 $4,000 Various
Rescue Kit 1 $1,400 $1,400 Various
Compression Connector Gun 1 $5,100 $5,100 Includes Dies & Accessories
Misc. Tools, Thermowelding Molds 1 $4,000 $4,000 Various
Repel Kit 1 $1,500 $1,500 Rope Access Equipment
Compute/Cell Phone/Camera 1 $1,600 $1,600 Crew Issued
Plum & Tension Set 1 $7,500 $7,500 3 Transits, Dillon, Grips, Come-Alongs, Etc.
Truck Stock 1 $1,700 $1,700 Connectors, Ground & Weatherproof Kits, Etc.
Equipment Calibration, Repairs 1 $1,500 $1,500 Various
Vehicle/Trailer/Equipment Insurance 1 $7,500 $7,500 Various
Finance Truck and Equipment 1 $4,000 $4,000 Per Year
Miscellaneous Carrier-Specific Requirements 1 $3,600 $3,600 Various
TOTAL: $225,000