Installing lights professionally can be physically difficult and potentially risky if you’re exercising all the available safety precautions. But what if you could install lights safer and faster? The tool of choice that many businesses gravitate towards within just a few short years of operating is a bucket truck. Yes, it can be a pricey addition to your company, however, you’ll know it’s time when you are consistently renting self-propelled lifts throughout the season.
Rather than pay daily rental fees plus transportation costs for self-propelled lifts, you could instead keep that in your pocket. Of course, there are maintenance costs and annual certification costs associated with bucket trucks to consider, but if you are finding that you could use a bucket truck for at least 25% of the season, it’s likely worth the investment.
We caught up with professional installer Alex Blais-Cloutier of Diamond Bright Holiday Lights who has been installing since 2018 in Kelowna, BC, Canada and services the entire Okanagan Valley. We asked him about his experience with adding a bucket truck to his business:
BSL: How long have you operated bucket trucks in your business?
Alex: I have been operating a bucket truck in our lighting business for 1 year now. Having access to boom lifts in our off-season business really showed me what an asset extra reach can be.
BSL: What’s the size of your machine?
Alex: It’s a Ford F550 with a boom that allows for working at heights up to 42 feet.
BSL: How has adding a bucket truck to your fleet positively affected your business?
Alex: Having the bucket truck has allowed us to take on last-minute jobs without worrying about lift rental availability. It has also made our removal season shorter as we can start earlier in the year and access peaks and rooflines that would be difficult to tackle with heavy snow.
BSL: What cons have you experienced running the trucks?
Alex: Absolutely none. Sure it’s an investment and you have to be able to justify the cost, but that has also pushed us to take on more work and push for more higher reach projects.
BSL: Would your next addition to your fleet be another bucket truck? If so, what size?
Alex: As we currently run a standard F-150 and the F-550 bucket truck, I would definitely see us replacing the F-150 with another bucket truck. The bucket truck can store more inventory for those last-minute add-ons and can carry just as many ladders for our ground guys. With the way homes and commercial properties are going up, I would definitely love a 60’.
BSL: Any other suggestions for anyone considering adding a bucket truck to their fleet?
Alex: If you’re willing and eager to put in the work to grow your business, take the leap and add it to your fleet. You’ll be surprised how many “other” jobs you’ll be requested for once your client knows you have that kind of equipment. Commercial properties will ask you to take care of signage and odds and ends that you can easily tackle while already onsite for their regular installs.
BSL: Last question, what got you excited about getting into the business of installing lights in the first place and what do you love about it?
Alex: It’s a business where it’s almost impossible to not walk away with EXTREMELY happy customers. You get to make everyone’s holiday that much better. Make tons of connections and expand your network for any off-season business you have. Plus, who doesn’t like to be the “Christmas Lights Guy”?!
There are many direct and indirect benefits to having a bucket truck in your service. Of course, always make sure it’s well maintained, certified, and always train and certify employees who work on it. The convenience of quickly and efficiently taking on high-reach jobs will pay dividends and increase your bottom line. Your average project size will also grow once you have the appropriate equipment, which brings a much more interesting dynamic to your business… and it’s lucrative too!