Car Storage & Lifts
Viewing What to look for when buying a lift
The Lift Buyer’s Guide
A GUIDE FOR SERVICE PROFESSIONALS AND HOME HOBBYISTS
The cost of buying a lift – versus the cost of owning a lift
A lower price doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting a lift for less. Too often it means you’re getting less lift. You want a lift that delivers the lowest total cost of ownership. That means a lift that costs less to operate. One that has a proven track record for consistent up-time with lower lifetime repair costs. One manufactured by a company with a record of consistent, dependable support.
Of all the tools in your shop, a vehicle lift offers the greatest opportunity for improving service bay productivity and profits. It can also open your business up to severe liability for injury and property loss if the lift does not meet structural and performance standards, or if the manufacturer lacks the commitment and service network to fully support it. That’s why it’s important to know what it can really cost to buy any lift that compromises on design, construction or lifetime service support.
Lift your productivity – Raise your bottom line
Price is just the tip of the iceberg when evaluating a lift purchase. Beware of hidden future problems. The most expensive lift you can buy is one that isn’t lifting. In general, service bay productivity is cut by 50% any time a lift is out of commission.
With $800 as the national average for daily service bay revenue (according to the NADA), it means you’re losing about $400 per day while you’re waiting for a lift to be repaired.
Product Considerations – Quality and Warranty
- The manufacturer’s facilities should conform to ISO9001, the highest international benchmark of quality. Research shows firms that make the commitment to meet this quality certification standard significantly outperform other manufacturers. Lift quality should be backed by a strong warranty that clearly states what components are covered and under what conditions, as well as how it is administered, whether labor is covered for work done under warranty, and whether there is someone in your area who is authorized to do warranty work.
- In addition, the manufacturer should offer the opportunity to purchase an extended warranty. U.S. Engineering and Testing Is the lift engineered and tested in North America to meet North American manufacturing and safety standards, even if certain components are manufactured overseas.
- If components are manufactured globally, does the manufacturer have quality control personnel physically located at each production site to ensure rigorous quality and testing standards?
- What is the manufacturer’s experience and track record for meeting customer needs?
- How long has the manufacturer been in business?
- Is the company known for innovation or simply “knock-offs” of others’ ideas?
- Does the manufacturer own the design, or is it simply purchasing “off the shelf” product without an intimate knowledge of their integrity?
- Does the manufacturer offer arm, adaptor and capacity options to accommodate the full breadth of North American vehicle solutions?
- Certification and Safety Is the manufacturer a member of the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI), and if not, why not?
- Does the lift you are considering carry the gold ALI/ETL certification label, the only industry-recognized documentation that the lift has been third-party tested and has met performance and safety standards?
- 47 states plus Washington D.C. have adopted the International Building Code which requires all vehicle lifts be certified to this standard. Does the manufacturer life-cycle test products for durability and robustness? (More than passing a one-time test, how long will the lift last?)
- What kinds of quality processes does the manufacturer have in place to ensure that every lift it produces meets the necessary performance requirements?
- In addition, what safety features are designed into a particular model?
Lift Truth or Consequences
If you buy a vehicle lift that … This could happen …
Q: What you should do to avoid that liability that comes from a manufacturer that does not have a proven track record for producing quality lifts backed by a strong warranty policy?
A: You could lose revenue for every day the lift is not operating (national average for revenue lost = about $400/day)!!!
Insist on a lift designed and built by a manufacturer with a long-established record of providing quality lifts for the automotive market. Is only featured on a Web site. No service and parts availability, and limited factory support. Ask about the installed base. A Web site may be good for information, but be sure you’re buying from someone you trust. Is not supported by a factory team of experienced engineers and trained specialists. You could experience prolonged downtime for a problem or situation that could be solved quickly and efficiently. Be sure the lift you purchase is fully supported by a team of readily accessible factory professionals.
Is not designed, engineered or manufactured to meet the stringent needs of the North American automotive market. Caveat emptor. You could be buying problems with little or no support from the seller, should they occur. No matter where the lift is manufactured, make sure it is engineered and designed to do the job you specifically need it to do. Does not carry the gold “ALI Certified/ETL Listed” mark. No guarantee that the lift meets the performance/safety standards of the Automotive Lift Institute. Insist on a lift that has earned the gold certification sticker.
Can it be serviced by a local, factory-trained service provider. You could lose revenue for every day the lift is not operating (national average for revenue lost = about $400/day). Be sure that the lift you purchase has local service support (trained and backed by the manufacturer). Exclusive Local Sales and Service Does the manufacturer maintain a network of factory-trained and certified service providers who are fully equipped and skilled to provide installation, maintenance and repair?
Is there a qualified support team that is located nearby and can respond within 24 hours? Does the manufacturer have a formal and extensive training program for their installers and distributors? The best manufacturers attract the best distributors and installers.
What are the capabilities of the professionals who will support your lift purchase at the local level? Factory Support Team What is the manufacturer’s commitment to standing behind its product? Is there a factory behind the lift, or is it just a Web site/warehouse?
Have they made an investment in building a large team of engineers and trained specialists? Is this team easily and promptly accessible when answers are needed for specific questions or problems? Does the manufacturer offer free facility planning services to help you build or renovate for optimum productivity?
In other words, is the manufacturer simply looking to sell you a lift, or are they committed to helping you improve your productivity, even years after you buy their lift? What about certification? Many of the lifts sold in the U.S. and Canada are certified by the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) and are tested by an independent third-party laboratory called ETL. Certification also requires a periodic inspection of the manufacturing plants. If the lift and the factory meet the ANSI/ALI ALCTV-2011 safety standards, then the lift may carry the gold “ALI Certified/ETL Listed” mark. An ALI certification also requires that complete instructions, manuals and safety documents be included with the lift. Just because a lift manufacturer states that one of their lifts is ALI certified, it is no guarantee that all of their lifts are certified. Each individual lift model must earn its own ALI certification.
For more information on the ALI, visit www.autolift.org. NOTE: 47 states and some provinces require all lifts to be third-party tested. Genuine Parts Availability Does the manufacturer have a computerized parts system to constantly maintain an appropriate inventory of parts? Do they set high standards, like shipping parts within 24 hours? Do they have an engineering staff dedicated to improving the quality and durability of their parts? Is the manufacturer concerned about the proliferation of counterfeit parts that can alter your lift’s productivity and safety, as well as risking its ALI certification? Support Considerations There’s one thing that comes with every Rotary lift. Peace of mind. Why does Rotary Lift sell more professional lifts than anyone else in the world?
The answer can be summed up in one word. Trust. You can trust the fact that no brand of lift performs better or more reliably than Rotary Lift, helping to ensure the lowest total cost of ownership while protecting your profit stream. You can trust that every Rotary lift reflects the commitment to innovation that has made Rotary the lift leader. You can trust that Rotary Lift will continue to lead the industry in the manufacturing of lifts in an ISO9001-certified facility, with each lift designed to meet applicable ANSI standards. That they’re fully supported by the industry’s most extensive network of factory-trained professionals for specification, installation, parts and service. And that Rotary lifts are engineered, designed, tested and certified for years of dependable income production.
When buying your next automotive lift, go beyond anyone’s promises. Consider the answers to all of the questions outlined here before you decide. By thoroughly exploring your purchase, you’re making a decision based on a lift’s total cost of ownership. It’s the kind of investment that pays for itself quickly, and then gives a lift to your bottom line – every day you do business.