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Do You Need a Lift?

Opportunity knocks all the time … you just have to have the equipment to take advantage of it.

—Louis L’Amour

It was a moment of grave decision at the end of my bid review with Jerry last week. You remember Jerry? He’s our reclusive bean-counter who is renowned for his frequent all-nighters and for subsisting on staff lunchroom leftovers.

“What do you want to add for equipment?” he inquired, as he always does at the close of our collaborations.

I must admit I was sorely tempted to disregard the item entirely and tell him to add nothing, times being what they are. The last thing I want to do these days is torpedo a bid by tacking on any unneeded ballast.

But try as I might, I could not bring myself to disregard tools and equipment, a cost no less valid than cornerbead or fasteners. In fact, having given it some thought, I was now less inclined to dismiss the line item with the cursory formula that I habitually apply. So Jerry and I started to break apart the potential cost of equipment and tools with a more thoughtful, job-specific analysis, using some of the notions explored below.

Clearly, the question of what particular type of equipment has the most impact on your proposal depends on scope of work and the physical features of the project. Absent the exotic, the bizarre and the peculiar, most commercial drywall subs will say that manlifts figure somewhere at or near the top of every equipment-needs list. Questions and issues regarding manlifts that dominated my discussions with Jerry included the following:

Get a quote. As is true with any type of rental equipment, it is always wise to ascertain your project-specific manlift needs and get a job-specific quote for those anticipated needs, rather than rely on the not the only equipment considerations deserving of an estimator’s scrutiny. Stationary scaffold, onsite forklift, crane time for hoisting, and specialty tools for one-time installations all came up during my review with Jerry. And while we did eventually ratchet up the bottom line of our proposal, we submitted it with the confidence of knowing that we had all of our contraptions accounted for.

Vince Bailey is an estimator/operations manager for San Juan Insulation and Drywall, Durango, Colo.

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