How much does ground penetrating radar (GPR) Cost to Operate?

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  • How much does ground penetrating radar (GPR) Cost to Operate?

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technology has become an indispensable tool in a range of fields, from construction and archaeology to utility locating. This non-invasive technique allows professionals to detect and map underground features without the need for digging, reducing the risk of damaging buried utilities. 

However, as with any advanced technology, the cost of utilizing GPR can be a significant consideration for businesses and individuals alike. 

In this blog post, we break down some of the various costs associated with GPR operations, providing you with a better understanding of what to expect financially when purchasing and operating a gpr in your business.

Initial Investment: Renting vs. Buying

The first decision point in GPR operation costs is whether to rent or buy the equipment.

Purchasing a GPR unit represents a substantial investment, with prices ranging from $15,000 to $55,000, and even upto $100,000.

The specific cost depends on the system's capabilities, depth range, and resolution. Owning a unit offers the advantage of immediate access and eliminates ongoing rental fees, making it a cost-effective solution for frequent users.

For those who require GPR technology on a less regular basis, renting may be a more financially viable option. Rental costs can vary widely based on the rental period:

  • Daily rentals average around $380
  • Weekly rentals at approximately $1,485
  • Monthly rentals can be around $3,358, with some providers offering rates close to $550 per month.

These rental rates make GPR accessible for simple, short-term projects without the need for a large upfront investment.

Operational Costs

Beyond the initial acquisition or rental of GPR equipment, operational costs must also be considered.

Professional GPR services typically charge around $180 per hour. 

Given that an operator can complete around 2-4 scans per hour, the cost  can average out to approximately $45 per scan.

Some companies charge call-out fees, 4 hour minimums and other surcharges, per diem, fees or services needed.

For specific tasks, like electromagnetic fault detection, companies might charge around $300 per hour, with a 2-hour minimum billing policy.

The size and scope of your project will heavily influence these costs. Larger projects requiring extensive scanning will inevitably incur higher fees.

The complexity of the terrain and the density of underground utilities can also affect the total cost, as these factors may necessitate additional scanning time for accurate mapping.

There are other costs such as Insurance, You need all relevant insurances  not only the equipment but also for liability insurance for the operator and business. 

Miscellaneous cost might include software to interpret data sets etc.

Training and Expertise

Another critical factor in the cost of operating GPR is the level of expertise required. Interpreting GPR data accurately demands specialized training and experience.

Depending on your or your team's proficiency with GPR technology, you may need to factor in the cost of training courses or hiring experienced professionals to analyze the data effectively.

The average wage for a GPR Concrete Scanner Technician or GPR Utility Locator with 2 years experience is about $62,000-$83,000.


The cost of operating Ground Penetrating Radar technology encompasses more than just the price of the equipment.

From the decision to rent or buy to the operational and expertise-related expenses, several factors influence the overall cost. 

For those considering GPR, it's essential to carefully evaluate these costs against the benefits that GPR offers for your specific project needs.

With its ability to save time, reduce risk, and provide invaluable subsurface insights, GPR can be a worthy investment for many projects, as long as the costs are well-understood and managed effectively.

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  • How much does ground penetrating radar (GPR) Cost to Operate?