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joe in mke 10-30-2012 11:55 AM

Boom Lift
I am working on my three story residential in Milwaukee. It needs two chimneys rebuilt, about 5000 square feet of stucco siding removed, windows repaired throughout, trimming overgrown tall trees,, and new cedar shingles on the exterior. Given our budget restraints, we are spreading the work out in stages over 4 years. The top of the highest chimney is 50'. Much of this work will require either renting a lift, or scaffolding.

To control our costs, we are thinking of buying a lift and letting contractors use it (after getting a waiver), rather than have each contractor rent their own lift and add it to our bill. At $700 per week for a lift, it may make more sense to buy a used lift for $8 k (the price I've found) and sell the thing when we are done. Has anyone done this for a big project? My biggest concern maintenance - what are the average annual maintenance costs for a 50' boom lift? What other concerns should I be thinking of?

Thanks, joe

joecaption 10-30-2012 12:58 PM

Any real mason would have and supply there own staging.
Your opening a whole can of worms by buying one.

kwikfishron 10-30-2012 01:05 PM

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I agree wit Joe…Don’t go there.

Masons, siding/window guys etc. should all have there own stuff to get them up there. If they don’t you’re talking to the wrong contractors.

rossfingal 10-30-2012 01:30 PM

I agree with what has been stated above!
Also -
You bought a "boom lift" and you're going to "lend" it - "rent" it to someone -
make sure you've got substantial, liability insurance!!!
Don't assume someone else is going to have enough!
Enough??? -

joe in mke 10-30-2012 04:25 PM

Thanks guys, these are some good points.

I have talked to an attorney and he is comfortable with preparing a waiver to keep us somewhat protected from litigation. And if we proceed, we are going to get this approved by our insurance. But, before we pull the trigger, we really need some credible advice on the average costs for maintaining a '50 boom lift for 3-4 years? $2k per year? $10k per year? I know it varies with each piece of equipment and by area, and I've got numbers from a mechanic and the dealer, but I'm looking for a random third party that doesn't have skin in this game. Have you guys ever managed at a company that owned one of these? What's a ballpark average?

Finally, this whole project is a can of worms - and it's already been opened.

Thanks joe

md2lgyk 10-31-2012 07:27 AM

You found a 50-ft lift for $8K? That's awfully low for such a machine. I suspect it's in pretty bad shape.

Mort 10-31-2012 09:49 AM

I suspect you're trying to save a dime by spending a $100 bill. Like joe said, real masons already have all that stuff, and won't necessarily give you a discount for not having to use their machine.

nadorp 10-31-2012 08:14 PM


Originally Posted by Mort (Post 1041657)
I suspect you're trying to save a dime by spending a $100 bill. Like joe said, real masons already have all that stuff, and won't necessarily give you a discount for not having to use their machine.

I totally agree. I had a mason repair a block wall and he used the scissor lift I had rented for myself and it saved him many hours of scaffold set up time for him. No discount at all and he finished the job in half the time and I paid him and the for scissor lift rental. Still pleased just the same even though it was a lot of money for a few hours of work.
If you aren't going to do the work yourself, don't buy any equipment.
Just my .02

Anti-wingnut 10-31-2012 08:26 PM

Whats the waiver for? You're just wasting money on the lawyer. If anything happens accident wise, you're still going to be named in any lawsuit. If the accident happens because of the maintainence issues or break-down of the lift, you are in a world of hurt.

OSHA won't care at all about a waiver, you own the lift, you own the problems.

I have worked for many contractors over the years, they owned forklifts and cranes galore, but not lifts because of the liability.

Maintenance 6 11-01-2012 06:38 AM

Much of your maintenance cost will be decided by the condition of the machine. You'll need an annual safety inspection by a qualified company. They'll check for integrity of the machine. cracked welds, leaking or aged hyraulics, tip over sensors/interlocks, etc. If this is electrically powered, you'll have at least some battery replacements, more likely all of them on a used unit.

If I were a contractor, I would not sign a waiver placing my future in your hands, seeing as you have no experience with the equipment you'd like me to use. Would you?

You will also need harnesses and lanyards. They too have to be inspected.

hand drive 11-04-2012 09:40 AM

the masons will have 400 lbs of mortar stuck to that lift after the job is done, we've allowed the masons to use our pump jacks before and you could not see the walkboards because of all the mortar, let them use and abuse their own equipment...

LVDIY 11-07-2012 01:01 PM

9 Attachment(s)
If you were doing all this work yourself over the next 4 years, then the idea of buying a lift might make sense.

You might not save as much as you think by providing your own lift. If you hire a contractor who already owns whatever equipment needed to do the job, then he won't really save a lot of money by using your equipment instead of his own.

Second, the contractor now has to depend on the equipment that you are providing. What happens if the contractor lose a day of work because your lift is not working? If it was his lift then that is his problem not yours, if it's your lift, the contractor might end up charging you for sitting around waiting for your lift to be repaired.

And worse, what happens when you have an injury related to your lift? Sure you can have the contractors sign waivers, but you could still be sued and held responsible. Let's say a worker gets hurt due to maintenance neglect then you can find yourself in a hot mess regardless of what waivers this worker's boss signed. At the very least you would need proper insurance, and you probably need to by some sort of commercial insurance, I doubt your homeowners insurance will cover this. Even insurance won't cover neglect, so if you don't know what you're doing, then don't do it.

Lastly, I think a lot of contractors would be reluctant to this whole idea. If they need to rent a lift, they would probably prefer to do so from a reputable rental company rather then from the homeowner.

As for your question on maintenance cost, your cost is going to be different then what it cost a rental company who might have 20 lifts and their own mechanic on staff. The best you can do is to find a company who service lifts and ask them what to expect.

I hate to be negative, I love saving money by thinking outside the box, but this project comes with too many liabilities...

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