"Renting the wrong size aerial equipment can be a costly mistake," Disser agrees. To avoid such mistakes, NES Rentals has developed the APEX Precision Height Measurement System. "The APEX system uses laser precision to determine exactly how much reach your job requires and the appropriate equipment selection to get your job done."
Of course, there may be cases where an equipment supplier doesn't have the appropriate lift for the situation. If so, don't give up too easily. "Insist upon what you want," Mohn advises. "If it's a long-term rental — three to six months — they may even consider purchasing a special machine to meet that demand."
A national rental chain can often pull machines from other locations, plus many rental companies may be willing to "re-rent" from other equipment suppliers. For example, Mohn notes there are companies specializing in renting large lifts. "If a particular market won't necessarily support a 100-ft. boom lift all the time, but the occasional job comes up, [your rental provider] can call this company and get one for that specific job," he points out. "Never give up."
A Towable Alternative
Towable boom lifts can be an economical alternative to self-propelled models in the right conditions and applications. "With working heights up to 55 ft., towable booms provide safe access to a variety of jobs," says Michael Disser, NES Rentals.
Towable lifts combine the benefits of an articulating boom with a built-in trailer. This makes them attractive to contractors who need to move quickly from job to job. "Maybe they are doing several things in a day and they don't have a truck to transport a 40- or 60-ft. boom lift," Mark Mohn, JLG Industries, comments. "They can just hook it up to the back of their pickup truck and go."
Compact size and light weight can also be advantages. "Because of the machine's lighter weight design, they are easy on sensitive surfaces due to their low ground pressure," says Phil Harvey at Genie Industries. "With their compact maneuverability, towable booms are useful machines for congested jobsites."
"Towable boom lifts are a good rental choice for work where the terrain is level and extreme height is not required," Joe Conley, United Rentals, asserts. However, he adds, "Towable booms are not as maneuverable as standard booms and are not appropriate on rough terrain."
"These lifts are equipped with outriggers, which provide a stable base, and therefore cannot be relocated during operation," Disser elaborates. In addition, their maximum lift capacity is generally limited to 500 lbs.
Towables tend to have lighter duty designs, as well. "They're not built as heavy as a self-propelled machine is going to be," says Mohn. Consequently, they aren't well suited to the more rigorous conditions and applications encountered on many large construction sites.