Is An Aerial Lift A Good Purchase For Your Construction Fleet?

Posted on: 26 March 2015

If you're interested in growing your construction business, you may have wondered about purchasing capital equipment, especially aerial lifts. Here are some reasons why an aerial lift might be a smart buy for your company and some things to think about before making a purchase:

Why Aerial Lifts Can Help Your Business

There's no doubt that owning an aerial lift (or several) can help your business. Being able to get into tough-to-reach places and work at height on rough surfaces makes you more competitive when bidding for jobs. It also increases the types of jobs you can go after by being more flexible.

While aerial lifts are not a casual purchase, they are less expensive long-term than repeatedly hiring a crane, which eats into your profit. Aerial lifts are also more versatile and sturdy than simple temporary construction elevators that are meant to transport workers and light goods from floor to floor.

Extra Perks of Owning an Aerial Lift

While you may only use your aerial lift on heavy construction projects, if you are an up-and-coming business looking to make connections and extra revenue, this type of equipment can come in handy. You can expand your services or subcontract to complete smaller jobs in the off-season, especially if you are limited by a cold, snowy winter:

  • repair windows and roofs
  • clean and repair gutters, including ice damming problems
  • hang Christmas lights
  • assist with wintertime home inspections

You may even get called out by the local fire department to assist with rescues--not a bad way to do a good deed and get some PR for your biz as well!

Basic Considerations Before Purchase

When comparing aerial lifts, you need to take into consideration the types of jobs where you'll most likely use the equipment and what you want out of it. If you need to add vertical reach or want to replace using cumbersome scaffolding, for example, a scissor lift might be your best bet. For more horizontal flexibility, a boom lift or bucket truck (cherry picker) might be a better choice. If all your jobs are on uneven surfaces, stabilizing features are a must, and to get to remote or muddy work sites, four-wheel drive is probably necessary.

Some elements to think about include

  • work height
  • horizontal reach
  • equipment size (for both on-the-job use and storage)
  • amount of weight being lifted
  • work surface (indoor, outdoor, rough terrain, etc.)
  • portability (self-driven or hauled)
  • power source (electric, diesel, propane, or hybrid)

Of course, budget is always a consideration. You need to think about paying for the lift up front versus amortizing it. If capital funds are an issue, consider factoring some of your invoices for ready cash, and think too about the possibility of renting out your lift to other companies to recoup some of its cost.  You could also look at used equipment if it is in excellent condition.

An aerial lift can be a good investment for your business if you think ahead of time about your needs and how you can make the most of your purchase. Crunch the numbers, and look at different devices and models, and you'll likely find one that pays for itself with the increase you'll get in new jobs.