If you’re a print service provider working in wide formats, your business may be dependent on your ability to install high off the ground the banners, signs or outdoor advertising you produce. Access to equipment allowing you to perform those tasks, is key to profitability.
A telescoping remote control crane truck, often called a bucket truck, offers service and installation versatility, as well as lifting capabilities.
In addition, the telescoping feature provides the ability to reach over obstacles to access specific areas, says Bryan Wilkerson, vice president of Wilkie Manufacturing, LLC. Renting or buying a crane or bucket truck can save print service providers a great deal of time, effort, and hassle. But whether you should buy or rent one will depend a great deal on your size and priorities.
Advantages of Buying
Purchasing a crane or bucket truck offers a number of upsides. It is a wise move from the standpoint of taxation, in that you own a piece of equipment that provides a tax write-off in the form of depreciation, Wilkerson says. It can also be a promotional tool, he adds. “If your truck is properly lettered, it will have your company name, phone number, and website, as well as services you offer. So it acts as a mobile billboard for your company whenever you take it out. It provides advertising both on the job site and as you take it to and from the site.”
As well, there’s the advantage of flexibility. If you own the equipment, you can set your own schedule of appointments without concern for availability of rentals. You will also be able to assign one of your employees to regularly work on that equipment. He will be well-trained on and familiar with the apparatus, and won’t have to surmount a learning curve every time a rental truck is used.
Because you now own the equipment, you can also subcontract it out to other shops lacking their own, and generate still more revenue, Wilkerson says.
Also, if you are the owner of your own machinery, you are more likely to offer not just the original installation, but service after the sale, which will spur additional sales and profit. In addition, owning the equipment enables you to ensure the crane or bucket truck has benefited from regular maintenance. In general, owning the equipment means greater credibility for your company.
Many good-size sign shops own their own bucket trucks. Very small counterparts, on the other hand, tend to rent, Wilkerson says.
Customization is another advantage of owning. Elliott Equipment Company manufactures telescopic aerial work platforms and sells to banner and outdoor advertising producers and electrical sign installers. Its customers are able to select the trucks, levels of horsepower, cabin configuration, and seating formats best fitting their needs. Crane or aerial work platforms are then customized by Elliott to meet the customers’ precise needs.
Observes David Phillips, Elliott Equipment Company’s international sales manager and spokesman: “It’s truly a turnkey solution for these guys.” He adds that Elliott can customize their aerial work platforms to meet a wide array of needs, building baskets from as large as 16 feet wide to as tight as 40 inches wide, with telescopic booms that will extend vertically from 30 to 203 feet.
Elliott Equipment Company president Jim Glazer, who notes the company offers 40 different models, says “each model can be configured to meet the customers’ needs. There are thousands of permutations.”
Another consideration that favors purchasing the equipment is resale value. “It’s a multi-functional machine, particularly when you’re talking about Elliott, and tends to hold its value,” Phillips says. “Even after 10 years, we’ve seen plenty of machines that are sold and resold again at good resale values.”
Positives of Renting
A number of considerations may motivate print providers to rent instead of own. One of the biggest is freedom from maintenance. With a rented bucket truck, the maintenance chores are left for the rental company, Wilkerson says.