Hydraulic Machinery Rises to Top of Crane Sales, Repair

Tue March 16, 2004 - Southeast Edition
Jennifer L. Conway

Hydraulic Machinery Inc. prides itself on not being the typical rental equipment dealership.

“Where most dealers sell cranes, we have the ability to custom build cranes,” said Carlton Calfee, vice president and sales manager. “We can pretty much make a crane to suit anybody’s needs.”

Hydraulic Machinery, based in Tampa, FL, didn’t start out customizing truck-mounted hydraulic cranes. In 1961, Calfee’s father, Crawford, founded the dealership, which carried the first Grove hydraulic crane available in the United States.

Over time, the company began picking up more lines, including RO and Terex Stinger cranes. Evolving into an aerial platform rental company, Hydraulic Machinery began to carry lines such as JCB and Pettibone forklifts.

That all changed in 1997, when the company dropped its aerial platform lines and began to place its primary focus on the crane and forklift business.

“That has been the most significant change for us in the last six years,” said Calfee. “That is, other than increasing our crane business.”

Crane Specialists

Hydraulic Machinery carries Terex Stinger cranes, USTC block unloaders, Broderson and Prentice industrial cranes, UNIC cranes, Prentice trash and drywall cranes, and Robotec trash cranes. The telescopic handler lines it offers include JCB Loadalls, RTFL forklifts, and Pettibone and Terex handlers.

“We also carry most crane accessories,” said Calfee, noting that truck-mounted cranes sold are often built to different specifications.

“Some customers like 16-foot beds, some like 18- or 20-foot beds,” said Steve Rimes, product support manager. “We can provide any piece of equipment: pallet forks, block forks, roofing equipment, tool boxes, tie-down equipment. Anything that you can think of to go on a truck-mounted crane, we provide it.”

Hydraulic Machinery does all the installation at its Tampa facility. “Cranes are installed, checked and tested prior to being shipped from here,” said Calfee.

He noted that the company’s customer base spans “just about every industry” and includes utility contractors, general masonry, steel erectors and building supply companies.

“We sell to nearly every market,” he said. “We sell all over the Southeast and rent just about anywhere.”

Hydraulic Machinery rents both forklifts and truck-mounted cranes.

“We don’t have an old rental fleet,” said Calfee. “We don’t keep a machine in rental very long; the sales staff turns it around very quickly. Our oldest machine is 16 months old.”

Tailored Service

Hydraulic Machinery has six service bays and a separate paint facility for repairing or rebuilding construction forklifts and truck-mounted cranes.

With 13 technicians, the company has the ability to do boom repair, rebuilding, refurbishing and repainting, among a number of other services. On average, a service technician has 15 years of service experience, said Rimes. They also are factory trained by manufacturer service technicians, and, he noted, hands-on training is on-going.

Hydraulic Machinery performs periodic maintenance, where a technician comes out to a customer site and handles basic maintenance such as oil and filter changes and lubrication, allowing the company to catch problems before they occur.

“We monitor any problems and keep a log. We also let the customer know when it’s time for another inspection,” said Calfee.

With an active inventory worth nearly $200,000, the company carries parts for all the lines of equipment it carries. If a part is not available, Hydraulic Machinery is usually able to receive it from the manufacturer within 24 hours.

“We also do drop ships or overnight shipments,” noted Calfee, “and we offer a driveway service to deliver or pickup a customer’s crane.”

High Expectations

Calfee anticipates that the company will continue growing, adding more branch locations.

“We will continue to improve the service on the equipment we are selling as well as improving our sales and rentals,” he said. “We are different than ’Joe Blow’ rental. We finance rentals; we offer insurance. We handle every service that is out there for a truck-mounted crane.”

Hydraulic Machinery is located at 5024 North 56 St. in Tampa. The company also has a sales facility in Marietta, GA, and is planning to move service there in the near future.

“If a customer’s in Georgia, we have a network of repair facilities he can go to,” said Calfee. “We have 24 different companies as service partners throughout the Southeast, including one in Roanoke, Virginia.”

For more information, call 800/683-5483 or visit www.craneworx.com.