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Bucket Truck Bliss

Media 1/Wrap This purchases an Altec bucket truck.

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Well, here we are, two months after our bucket-truck debacle on I-75 in which I discussed the untimely (and costly!) breakdown of our 17-year-old truck. So what did we do?

Repair our old bucket truck? Buy a new one? Or maybe another used truck? Let me tell you; it wasn’t a decision made easily, but I am very pleased to announce that after 34 long years in business, Media 1/Wrap This has, for the first time ever, purchased a brand-new installation vehicle! 

A beautiful, chromed-out, bright white, 2019 Altec LS60 bucket truck – or “Telescopic Aerial Device,” actually… (if you read from the Altec design sheet). Sounds super fancy, right? But what can it do for us?

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

As with any major purchase, the first things we examined were the financials. How much is our old truck costing us in repairs and downtime? How much does the new truck cost? Can the purchase actually save us money? Next came production pros and cons: How much more work can we do? How much more efficient can our installers be with the latest equipment and technology? Finally, we considered the intangibles; we feel that positive company image and client perception are essential components to a healthy business. And how much more successful a company will the new truck make us appear? In other words, your client sees you pull up in a 17-year-old truck and slide cardboard under the engine to avoid oil spills on his sidewalk…or wheel up in a brand new $200,000 “Telescopic Aerial Device!”

Yep, I said $200k. Yikes! M1 partner Rick Ream said the $150k one I thought we were gonna get away with “was not the one we needed.” Enter Altec’s LS60. Fully decked out, it carries a hefty price tag (over $200k once financed!), but before I get heart palpitations (again), let’s look at how the numbers broke down.

Once again we turned to our friends at Geneva Capital. After our 7 x 12-ft. MultiCam router purchase through them last year, we knew they were our go-to people to finance this deal. With zero down, approximately $3,500 a month for 60 months, we own a new truck! Granted, that is a chunky monthly payment. But in our initial financial assessment from above, we examined our P&L’s over the last 19 months and realized that we’d spent $121,000 in lift rentals during that timeframe. Now, some of these rentals were for out-of-state projects that will remain a cost for us, but the partners agreed that $81,000 in lift-rental cost would be eliminated, as this truck would now be doing that work. 

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But wait a minute: $81,000 divided by 19 months = $4,263 per month! Yep, purchasing this truck does actually save us nearly $1,000 a month! Of course, there will be gas costs and ancillary items added, but overall, we will be well ahead financially. Add in the fact that M1 now has an asset (five-year-old Altecs still sell for over $100,000!) and we will also take advantage of the IRS Section 179 deduction, which will save us $68,000 in taxes this year. Seems like a no-brainer!

JUST OUT OF REACH

Now let’s look at the production benefits. The LS60 is a brand-new model for Altec, built specifically for the sign industry. Weighing in at only 23,000 lbs. (a full 3,000 lbs. under CDL requirements), this 60-ft. aerial lift is a perfect choice for us. It includes a number of user-friendly features such as a two-person, 180° rotating basket and a single-hand joystick controller that makes maneuverability a breeze. Add in a 5,900-lb. boom winch and “out-and-down” primary outriggers allowing a 53-ft. side reach, and it’s easy to see why we won’t need many rentals now. Inside, the crew will enjoy air conditioning, Bluetooth, power everything and an air-ride driver’s seat. 

The only problem is, with this being a brand new model, Altec builds them per spec, so ours was not going to be ready until sometime in November. We really did not want to wait that long, but in a generous offer, Altec delivered one of their demo trucks to us as a loaner – for free – until ours is built. I don’t know if that’s standard M.O. for them, but it sure felt like great customer service to us, and we cannot wait to take delivery of our new truck. Its first stop: the wrap department for a Media 1 makeover, while we bask in our bucket truck bliss.

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