For a price tag that ranges from 30 to 50 percent less than a self-propelled boom lift, you can acquire a towable boom that rivals self-propelled models in terms of utility.
There are towable boom lifts in existence that can reach as high as 100 feet, but most available in the U.S. market range from 35 to 60 feet. They generally come in two types: articulated knuckle booms and telescopic booms. Knuckle booms are the most popular because they offer versatility in places they can reach. With a knuckle, the boom can get close to the structure and then reach over it, whereas telescopic booms are designed to simply reach up.
Towables are priced as low as $35,000, or about half the list price of an electric 40-ft. boom lift, making them an affordable option for those not prepared to make the significant investment in a self-propelled lift.
“The cost benefits don’t stop there,” says Tami Becher, director of marketing with Haulotte/BilJax. “DC power and low ground pressure to access more applications make these prime rental units, thus the return on investment will be realized sooner.”
Mike Northcott, associate product manager at Terex AWP, notes the attractive acquisition cost might not even be the best selling point. “More significantly, the rental rate on a trailer-mounted boom is about 80 percent of the rental rate of a same-height, full-sized electric boom lift,” he says. “This indicates the high ROI that is currently attainable on towable booms for rental companies.”
“[Genie booms] provide excellent versatility for a variety of tasks,” says Northcott. “With their non-marking outrigger pads and low ground pressure, they can be used on lawns, slate or gymnasium floors. Lightweight and maneuverable, they’re ideal for congested jobsites and are frequently used for painting, pressure washing, and tree work as well as general maintenance tasks. In addition to construction sites, they can be frequently found in malls and schools.”
Some towables feature the added versatility of being convertible to material handling equipment. Haulotte/BilJax, for example, features a material hook option on its machines, which include three models of articulating booms ranging from 35 to 55 feet of platform height, as well as the first machine developed in the Summit Series, a telescopic 36-ft. platform height model. “By removing the platform and installing the hook, operators can essentially change the machine into a 500-pound capacity material lift,” says Becher.
Simple to move, easy to use
Another important reason towable booms are so appealing is their ease of transport. No special carriers are required. Your customer’s vehicle outfitted with a trailer hitch with a minimum towing capacity of 3,000 pounds will get them on the road.
“When you need a boom lift but don’t have a flatbed, [towables are] ideal,” says Jeff Ford, global product director, JLG Industries Inc., which markets two models: the T350 and T500 with 35 and 50 ft. platform heights respectively, both with a 500-pound capacity. “All you need is a trailer hitch and you can take the towable boom lift where you need to work.”
Ford continues, “The ability to deliver a towable with a standard pickup truck, or have the customer pick up the machine without utilizing a trailer, makes delivery well-suited for rental.”
Becher at Haulotte/BilJax notes no CDL is required for towing, so the common rental customer can pick up and go. “The wide variety of uses and low entry cost into the aerial equipment market make these ideal for rental, and the machines are easy to use by the end user,” she says.
Another positive aspect of towable booms is the simplicity of the controls. Fewer machine functions mean faster and easier training for new operators. “All operators require proper training, as defined in the manual,” Ford says, adding, “JLG controls are designed for one-hand operation for efficient and productive operation.”