We don't take on new pilots as pilots, they start as ground crew. Gotta be around $20/hr depending on age and ability. Real young guys might be down around $17 or $18/hr, try to make sure that they are living at home, or can live really cheap. After a while we let them have a bit of a play, ie ferry flights with senior pilots etc, then if necessary put them through type ratings. They would be lucky to get 100 hrs in first year, and are a loader/crewman not a pilot. Gotta remember all that is in NZ pesos, not the mighty $AUS. But u do get to support the AB's.
After a year or so you know if they can fly or if they are going to make it with us. We are probably no different to a lot of ag/utility companies, in that we generally don't know what we are doing next month, a lot of it depends on the weather, so it's very hard to plan. Lots of people can't handle constant change, if that's the case, go fly scenics, or offshore, EMS, or something where you are either on roster or off, and away you go, rather than having no work on Friday for the next week ,and then end the week having knocked out 50 or 100 hrs... Or getting calls at all times of the night and day to go flying.
When we get guys into flying then if they have potential we put them through a NZ ag rating on a turbine, and pay starts to move up a bit. They should be on $25/hr when flying 2-300hrs /yr, plus either hourly while flying or % of revenue, while flying. Also try to make it in their interest to make us a good hourly rate, so pay more if they can get more/hr than our required rate. Makes them think about how they organize their jobs.
After they have worked off the cost of the ag rating, or really start making me good money, then we pay more. No contract etc for ag ratings or type ratings, we figure if we are stupid enough to give someone a rating and the next day they leave, then that is or own stupid fault. Also, I don't want someone flying my helicopter if they don't want to work for me, they are welcome to leave, all or staff know that, and so far we have only had one guy leave that doesn't talk to us anymore, not a pilot. All the rest still come back to talk about the good ol times.