The Truth Behind Light-Duty Bucket Trucks

Paul MilnerApril 9, 2018

With over 100 years of reliability and usefulness in the utility industry, is the light-duty bucket truck still on an upward swing? Utilimarc wanted to find out if the aerial lift vehicle performance was constantly improving, holding still — or worse — falling flat.

Analyzing data from 50 benchmarking clients, and over 5,200 light-duty bucket trucks under 26,000 GWVR, we were able to determine a very real, evidence-based pattern of behavior within the utility industry.

Read the trends of the light-duty bucket truck:

What went down must come up? While the light-duty bucket truck saw a dip in purchase price in 2012 and 2014, the average trend has seen prices on a steady climb.

In 2008, the average purchase price was $92,571. In 2016, it hit $148,974 — an increase of $56,403, or 61%. On average, the purchase price equaled $124,144 over the 9-year period.

Without surprise, our data showed us that as the light-duty bucket truck aged, the operating cost per mile increased. What we didn’t expect was by how much it increased over the years.

In its first year, the bucket truck operating cost was $0.31 per mile. By year 10, it was $1.19 — an increase of $0.88 per mile over the 10-year period. That made the average operating cost over a 10-year period right at $0.75 per mile. Definitely big enough to affect many bottom lines.

For the most part, the annual average miles driven between 2012 and 2016 remained on cruise control, barely fluctuating its numbers.

In 2014, it saw its lowest annual mileage at 16,858 miles per year. By 2015, that number jumped to its highest ever at 17,674 miles per year. Over a 5-year period, the light-duty bucket truck saw an annual average of 17,224 miles.

Except for a slight dip in 2014, it did a good job at steadily increasing its days out of the shop and on the road from 2012 to 2016.

In 2012, the light-duty bucket truck was in the shop every 22.9 days. By 2016, it managed to stay out and productive for 31.3 days — an increase of 8.4 days, or 36.7%. Historically, the bucket truck averages 25.7 days between an unscheduled/demand repair.

While most data show a noticeable trend, the days between preventative/schedules repairs fluctuated so much from 2012 to 2016 that there wasn’t one.

In 2012, the average number of days between a preventative/scheduled repair event was 55.4. In 2016, it hit 57.1 days. On average, the light-duty truck can expect to go 58.1 days before its next preventative/scheduled repair.

One questioned remains, however. Does the light-duty bucket truck age as well as its operator?

When it came to average age of these trucks, our data showed no significant changes over the years. In fact, they remained fairly consisted over the 5-year period, coming in at 5.42 years on average. The operator wins this age battle!

Paul Milner

Benchmarking and Professional Services Manager

Paul Milner is a Benchmarking and Professional Services Manager at Utilimarc. He studied mathematics and philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Working at Utilimarc for nearly ten years, he helps find the stories and solve problems within complex data sets. See more from Paul

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