The Right Tools for the Job Part 1: Equipment Lifts

Choosing the right lift for your service needs will keep technicians comfortable while increasing efficiency and profitability in the shop.

Equipment lifts help technicians to work quickly and independently.
Equipment lifts help technicians to work quickly and independently.

Many agree that the most important tool in the shop is the technician himself. However, what keeps a well-trained technician performing their best and providing high output are the tools at their disposal.

"The most important thing in the shop is the service technician," says Scott Fore, president at Heftee Industries. "It's critical to the operation and profitability of the service department that you have the very best technicians you can get and equip them with the tools they need to make money for you."

The tools you need for the job vary depending on what pieces of equipment you specialize in. Learning how to correctly choose what lift is right for your service needs will better increase efficiency and profitability in the shop.

Happy and efficient technicians

Equipment lifts help technicians to work quickly and independently. Having equipment up off the floor allows them to reach more, see more, and do more with better leverage. Technicians are less likely to need an assist from another tech when the underside of equipment is exposed and within their reach.

"We design and build our lifts to make them as efficient as possible so one technician can do as much as possible on a repair job without having to get help on anything," explains Fore. "The minute he has to turn to someone else for help the efficiency of the whole place goes down."

When paying technicians $25-30 an hour, you are going to want to keep them comfortable and off the concrete floor. Keeping techs happy and healthy is especially a concern with the aging technician field that is leading to a shortage of qualified workers.

Fore suggests every technician have their own lift that complements the size of equipment they are working on. The weight capacity of the lift should match the weight of the equipment.

"We certainly have customers that have three or four technicians all working with one lift, and we always hear that their guys are fighting over use of it," warns Fore.

Recovering investment price

The time saved and money earned with the use of a lift helps dealers to easily recover the cost of the investment. Investing in the technicians and their tools helps your bottom line in the end.

Fore says that in a typical shop, equipment is going to be up on a lift about 1,000 hours a year. They have surveyed their customers to learn how the shop's productivity improves.

"We get answers from 10-50% improvement," says Fore. "On the low end of 20% that’s only 12 minutes an hour, but over the course of a year is a lot of additional time a technician has to work. Depending on the shop rate, they can gain as much as $12,000 a year. The lift should pay for itself in the first year and the second year the whole $12,000 goes toward the shop."