The Intangible Benefits of Owning a Bucket Truck Over Renting a Tow-Behind Lift

We frequently receive calls from potential customers who are trying to decide if buying a Van Ladder makes financial sense. Sometimes the math is pretty simple. For example, if someone currently rents a tow-behind lift, the calculation might be as straight forward as comparing their average monthly rental expenses with a payment on a new bucket truck (including insurance). Sure, they’d also need to compare the working height and bucket capacity, etc, but if those considerations are relatively equal, it’s hard to imagine that they’d be better off renting because, in addition to the labor savings, there are so many benefits to having your own truck. For example, one new customer recently highlighted a benefit that I hadn’t considered—timely surveys.

Before he owned his own truck, this customer let his surveys pile up until he could justify renting a lift for the day. Or, he’d wait until he had an installation on the schedule and try to sneak the survey in before bringing the tow-behind lift back to the rental shop. After all, no one gets billed for a quote, right? That makes it hard to justify the expense of renting a lift to put pricing together for a customer who may or may not buy the sign. But his cost-saving strategies delayed his quotes, sending the subliminal message to his potential customers that their business wasn’t important, or that he was slow to get things done. Now, with his own bucket truck, he’s out doing surveys the same day the quote request comes in. And a day later, the prospect has the quote in hand. Now, he’s sending these two subliminal messages:

  • You’re important to us.
  • We get stuff done.

Just how much additional money will this new way of doing business add to the bottom line? That’s hard to calculate, but timely quoting has a significant bearing on your closing rate. Wouldn’t you agree?

The other thing this new customer told me is how much he now looks forward to his installs. He used to dread them. The tow-behind lift he was renting monopolized his pickup’s trailer hitch, so he had to make two trips to the jobsite—one to bring the lift, and another to haul the sign on a utility trailer. Once at the jobsite, it took time to set up the lift, which was a pain. Then two people went up in the basket, one to man-handle the sign, balancing it on the rail of the basket, and the other to run the lift and operate the tools. A third person was usually on the ground, tossing up sockets and bits, uncrating, etc. This is a small sign shop, so a typical installation cleared a significant portion of his workforce out of the shop for hours at a time, leaving only a skeleton crew to build signs.

Now, with the Van Ladder, most signs are easily transported in the truck’s Workport service body, safe and out of the elements. The Chariot Bucket’s accessories allow signs to ride securely on the rotating forks system, freeing the installer’s hands to run the lift and operate tools. A raceway sign can be installed in less than an hour now with one person in the bucket and another on the ground, and it’s a relatively stress-free operation compared to the old way.

We all know how nice it is to tackle a project with the right tools, and how frustrating a project can be when you don’t have the right tools. It’s simple math to estimate the labor savings from making your process more efficient, but how can you put a price tag on your happier life quotient? Or your, I sleep better now quotient. Those things are intangible . . . and sometimes the intangibles really add up.