Author Archives: Custom Truck One Source

hot steel on conveyor in steel mill
How Increased Steel Prices Affect Prices Across Industries

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the steel index, you know steel prices have been increasing. Prices in November of 2020 were 168% higher than in August of that same year. As prices have increased, the demand for steel remains high.

While we’ve finally reached a point in time where it looks like steel price increases might finally be slowing down, the recent rise in steel costs is still reflected across a number of different industries. Consider the number of industries that need steel to function – auto, construction, landscaping, energy, packaging, appliances – the list goes on. As steel prices have increased, so too have costs for companies across the world.

Until COVID-19 restrictions are no longer limiting manufacturing. it’s likely that steel prices will stay relatively high.

Why Are Steel Prices Increasing?

The reason for the increase in steel’s price is the same reason why prices for almost all metals have been rising for the past year: the supply isn’t meeting the demand. With businesses cutting their production down due to the pandemic, steel mills haven’t been producing enough material to match the needs of industries around the world. A limited supply pushes prices up, as businesses requiring steel to match their own production needs are willing to pay higher and higher prices. With supply meeting an all-time low recently, it’s no surprise that steel costs had an equal but opposite surge.

Steel prices will go one of two ways depending on how things play out. If production resumes pre-COVID levels, then it’s safe to assume that prices will drop accordingly as businesses are able to purchase from a number of different suppliers again. However, there is a chance that prices won’t drop to the point where they stood previously. There’s no telling precisely what the market will dictate.

What Industries Are Affected?

Many different industries need steel to function – we named a few of them earlier. However, let’s look at how limited access to steel can impact various industries in tangible ways.

Construction

Just like a carpenter needs wood, construction workers need steel to lay foundations and build girders and bridges. Steel also comprises the nails and screws necessary to keep walls and ceilings over our heads. While some construction sites have paused their work, there are many necessary jobs underway that require steel. As access to steel remains costly and limited, the construction industry can expect longer job times and more waiting on shipments. Obviously, the higher costs will make construction projects consider equipment and material costs with more scrutiny in order to balance out budget sheets.

Shipping & Packaging

Shipping industries are being affected by the steel price increases of the past few months. Producing shipping trucks and planes requires steel. It is also used in their replacement parts and the tools needed to perform repair jobs. Less access to steel is likely a reason why shipping costs are increasing around the world. The time needed to complete shipping jobs is seeing a parallel increase as well. The packaging industry also incorporates the use of steel in many different areas, including warehouse management and the equipment used in storage units and shipping vehicles. Transportation can be difficult when the vehicles used are made with materials experiencing a global shortage.

Medicine

The medical industry is a sprawling one that includes not only hospitals and emergency rooms, but dentist offices, healthcare clinics, first aid stations, veterinary institutions, and anywhere you might expect to find medical gear and medical professionals. Medical professionals need access to clean, precisely-made equipment that must be reliable. A number of medical instruments require steel, including scalpels, syringes, stethoscopes, and a myriad of other items. With a low supply of steel and  other manufactured goods, we’ve seen hospitals experience a shortage of medical equipment.

Hidden Impacts

Steel prices impact many industries that you might not consider directly steel-related. This is because of the role steel plays at less obvious points in the supply chain, like equipment. Not only do we use steel for raw materials, but it’s necessary for many additional parts and services. For example, many industries use vocational trucks, heavy equipment, or industrial machinery in their operations. Steel is a component in all of this more ancillary equipment.

Avoiding Price Increases

One great way to get good deals on steel equipment, while the market is still priced high, is to find products produced before the rise in pricing. Don’t miss out on the limited inventory of new Load King trailers built just prior to increasing industry steel prices, exclusively available at Custom Truck One Source. Recognized for 2 consecutive years by Construction Equipment Magazine’s Top 100 list, Load King’s portfolio of lowboy designs leads the industry in payload capacities & deck height clearances. Contact us today to get the equipment that’s right for you!

 

Fred Ross Custom Truck One Source
Custom Truck One Source featured in Kansas City Business Journal

Custom Truck One Source CEO on selling and going public: ‘It’s a surreal thing’

Fred Ross and five other siblings started Custom Truck One Source on Good Friday in 1996. This year, they checked off a different milestone on Good Friday — becoming a publicly-traded company.

“It’s a surreal thing. I never thought anything like this would happen,” Ross told the Kansas City Business Journal. “Excitement is probably the key word.”

The Kansas City-based builder and supplier of custom specialty work trucks started with 15 employees. It now employs 1,800, including about 650 in Kansas City. Roughly 20 members of the Ross family work at the company.

To see the original article, which includes a slideshow, click here.

CTOS+Nesco Better Together
Nesco Holdings Completes Acquisition of Custom Truck One Source in Partnership with Platinum Equity and Changes Its Name to Custom Truck One Source, Inc.

Kansas City, MO., April 1, 2021 /PRNewsire/ Nesco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: NSCO) (“Nesco”), which has been
renamed as Custom Truck One Source, Inc. (the “Company”) effective today, in partnership with an affiliate of
Platinum Equity, LLC (“Platinum”), today announced the closing of the previously announced transaction to
acquire Custom Truck One Source, L.P. (“CTOS”) for a purchase price of $1.475 billion. Nesco and CTOS are
leading providers of specialized truck and heavy equipment solutions, including rental, sales and aftermarket
parts and service.

The Company is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri and led by CTOS co-founder and CEO Fred Ross. The
combination creates a leading, one-stop-shop provider of specialty rental equipment, serving highly attractive
and growing infrastructure end markets, including the transmission and distribution energy grid, the 5G
revolution build-out and critical rail and other national infrastructure initiatives.

In connection with the Acquisition, the Company has changed its name to Custom Truck One Source, Inc. Its
shares of common stock will trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “CTOS” beginning on April 5, 2021, and
its existing warrants will trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “CTOS.WS”. The Company’s leadership team
also includes Ryan McMonagle as President and Chief Operating Officer and Brad Meader as Chief Financial
Officer, both of whom previously held those positions at CTOS.

“We are truly excited about bringing these two great companies together,” said Mr. Ross. “We believe that
our stockholders will realize the benefits of the combination as we create one of the largest specialty rental
fleets in the country. Moreover, we are excited to bring a larger platform to our customers and to continue to
provide them with the outstanding customer service they have come to expect from both of us.”

In connection with the Acquisition, Platinum has made an investment and became the majority stockholder
of the Company while existing CTOS equity holders, including certain funds managed by the Blackstone Group
(“Blackstone”), the majority owner of CTOS prior to the Acquisition, and certain members of the CTOS
management team, became minority stockholders of the Company. Energy Capital Partners (“ECP”) and Capitol
Investment (“Capitol”), who together owned approximately 70% of Nesco’s outstanding common stock prior to
the Acquisition, retained their entire ownership positions in the Company.

“We look forward to working with the management team to bring these companies together and to putting
our playbook in action to create significant shareholder value for many years to come,” said Platinum Equity
Partner Louis Samson. “We have a lot of experience in this industry and are excited about the opportunities
ahead.”

“We are thrilled to consummate this merger which creates a very unique, valuable, well-capitalized company
that is a terrific business and now also will benefit from, and play an important role in, the likely large investment
about to be made in our nation’s electrical, telecom and rail infrastructure,” said Mark Ein, Capitol’s CEO and
Nesco’s Vice-Chairman who will join the CTOS board.

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the “safe harbor”
provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and within the meaning of
Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 27A of the Securities Act of
1933, as amended. When used in press release, the words “anticipates,” “believes,” “will,” “expects,”
“look forward” and variations of these words or similar expressions (or the negative versions of such
words or expressions) are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking
statements are not guarantees of future performance, conditions or results, and involve a number of
known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other important factors, many of which are
outside the Company’s management’s control, that could cause actual results or outcomes to differ
materially from those discussed in this press release. Important factors, among others, that may affect
actual results or outcomes include: the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s business and
operations as well as the overall economy; the Company’s ability to integrate the Nesco and CTOS
businesses and achieve the expected benefits of the Acquisition in a timely manner; unanticipated costs
related to the integration; and general economic and market conditions impacting demand for the
Company’s services. For a more complete description of these and other possible risks and uncertainties,
please refer to the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, filed
with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 9, 2021, as updated by the Company’s subsequent
quarterly reports on Form 10-Q.

 

ABOUT THE COMPANY

The Company is a leading provider of specialized truck and heavy equipment solutions to the utility,
telecommunications, rail and infrastructure markets in North America. The Company’s solutions include
rentals, sales, aftermarket parts, tools, accessories and service, equipment production, manufacturing,
financing solutions, and asset disposal. With vast equipment breadth, the Company’s team of experts
service its customers across an integrated network of locations across North America. For more
information, please visit customtruck.com.

 

INVESTOR CONTACT

Brad Meader, Chief Financial Officer
800.252.0043
investors@customtruck.com

 

 

2021 Tradeshow Schedule
Tradeshow Schedule for 2021

There’s been a lot of shuffling of dates, changes from in-person to virtual, and outright cancellations to the typical tradeshow season this past year. If you’re like us, you’re itching to get back out there and shake the (sanitized) hands of your industry colleagues. We’ve got you covered for an up-to-date schedule of where you can find us this year. We hope to see you soon!

two railroad paths merging into one
Canadian Pacific & Kansas City Southern Merger

Exciting changes are underway this year in the railroad industry. Canadian Pacific, also known as CP Rail, entered a merger agreement with Kansas City Southern. Following final approvals, this will combine the  railroads to create the first rail network connecting the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Here’s more on the breaking news via Railway Age:

“Early on March 21, the big announcement came: Canadian Pacific Railway will acquire Kansas City Southern in a cash and stock transaction worth $29 billion in U.S. dollars. The combined Class I will be named Canadian Pacific Kansas City, CPKC.  If approved by the United States Surface Transportation Board, the merger will be the first Class I transaction of its type since the late 1990s. The result will be a single, integrated rail system connecting ports on the U.S. Gulf, Atlantic and Pacific coasts with key overseas markets, with reach via new single-line hauls across the combined company’s continent-wide network.

Importantly, CP and KCS say, “no customer will experience a reduction in independent railroad choices as a result of the transaction, and customers will benefit from a seamless integration of the two systems without service disruption.” Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono speaks with Canadian Pacific President and CEO Keith Creel, 2021 Railroader of the Year, and Kansas City Southern President and CEO Pat Ottensmeyer, 2020 Railroader of the Year.”

Click here for an even more detailed breakdown from Railway Age.

 

large propane tank in a rural field
Planning Propane Tank Refills

With more than 50 million American homes using propane, there are a lot of propane tanks out there that need to be filled and ready for use.

Predicting when those tanks will need more gas comes down to some simple math related to how much propane a specific customer uses. The more information you have about your customers’ historical propane use, the easier it will be to develop a reliable formula for deliveries.

Once you have the formula in place, scheduling your drivers for delivery becomes more efficient. Let’s take a look at two numbers to help forecast when propane tank service is needed.

Heating Degree Days

The first number you need to figure out is the heating degree days in your area. A degree day is a way of measuring how cold or warm a location is, and the more extreme the weather, the higher the number of degree days.

Knowing the range of outdoor temperatures is a reasonable measure for calculating heating energy demand. More energy tends to be used the lower the temperature drops.

The standard temperature for measuring a degree day is 65 degrees Fahrenheit, chosen because it tends to be the point at which people begin considering turning their heaters on.

To calculate the degree day, you first get the average of the day’s high and low temperatures. That number is then subtracted from 65 to give you the heating degree days.

For example, if the day’s average temperature is 40 degrees, it has 25 heating degree days. This can be used as a backward measure to figure how many heating degree days the past month had or as a predictive measure using historical highs and lows.

Understanding K-Factor

At its core, k-factor is a number that lets you know how fast a customer uses propane. The lower the number, the more fuel burned each day. The higher the number, the less fuel burned each day.

You can think of it as similar to miles per gallon for a car. You are calculating the number of degree days per gallon of propane or how many degree days one gallon of propane will last.

If a customer’s k-factor is five, that house will get five degree days per gallon. You can then divide that number into degree days to calculate usage for a specific date. If we go back to our example day with an average temp of 40 degrees, the house will burn five gallons of fuel that day.

K-factor is different for every home. It depends on insulation levels, energy efficiency, house size, propane tank maintenance, and even how many people are showering and for how long. As long as none of those things change, k-factor is a reliable number to use for forecasting.

You calculate k-factor the same way you figure mpg for your vehicle. If the car goes 300 miles between fill-ups and you need 15 gallons to fill up, you got 20 mpg since the last tank. For a propane tank, the formula is degree days since the last delivery divided by the number of gallons delivered.

The more accurate the number, the easier it will be for you to figure out a proper delivery schedule for each customer. K-factor is a useful baseline for calculating, but it does require historical data to get it accurate. This means longer-term records of fuel use and degree days between deliveries.

Scheduling Formula

Now that you know how to figure degree days and k-factor, you have most of what you need to determine when you next need to visit a customer to refill the propane tank.

The last piece is how much fuel you want to deliver to the customer each time. It’s typical to try to keep customers from going below 10 percent or some specific gallon reserve amount.

Hitting that delivery goal allows you to make the most efficient use of your drivers and their time. You can make fewer deliveries by delivering that maximum amount each time.

Now it’s time to use all those numbers to schedule your next delivery. You calculate this by multiplying the amount you want to deliver by that customer’s k-factor. That gives you the time span between deliveries in degree days.

Let’s look back at our example with a k-factor of 5. If you plan to deliver around 100 gallons each time, that gives you around 500 degree days between deliveries. Use the actual degree days since the last delivery and the predicted degree days until the next to target a delivery date.

Because degree days correlate with outdoor temperatures, lower temps mean more degree days, and fuel delivery will have to happen sooner. Higher temps mean fewer degree days, so you can wait longer before the next delivery.

Get Propane Refills on a Schedule

When you can get your customers on a schedule for propane refills, it not only improves customer service. It also improves your bottom line by only sending trucks out when a propane tank refill is needed. Use what you’ve learned about heated degree days and K-factor here to get your schedule laid out.

If you need to expand your propane truck fleet, contact us for pricing on renting or purchasing from our inventory of equipment.

 

hands holding gears up as a teamwork and innovation concept
The Innovation Equation

Every company wants innovation in order to create a competitive edge in the market. When polled, 70% of executive leaders think innovation is the most important thing for a business to develop. In the same study, 65% of those leaders had very little confidence that the decisions being made were leading to innovation. Most of the strategic planning a company does focuses on forecasting sales and budgeting. So, if we’re not planning for innovation or creating a culture that generates it, then what are we supposed to do?

Get ready for a crazy idea.

We, as leaders, do not need to be “doing” anything. Leaders get into a mindset that all answers must come directly from their brains or the whole organization will fall apart. While leaders are 100% necessary in a successful business, innovation actually comes from the collective minds in the organization. When hiring, you’re looking for the “best fit,” right? So, why are you hiring the “best fits” and not tapping into the power and expertise each brings to the team?

As leaders, you want to be the communication hub that your team works around and through. You want to remove roadblocks, encourage performance, and guide the team into high, autonomous performance. High performing teams do not just sprout out of nowhere. The key job a leader does is ensure their team can not only do their jobs and meet goals, but to create a culture where ideas keep flowing that creates efficiencies, better products, or services, and allow their teams to be innovative.

Sounds scary, doesn’t it? Letting the team you hired take the lead on innovation? It’s certainly not a common idea or the most comfortable idea for managers. While every team has people that have performance issues, the leader’s job is to find ways to ensure the whole team is working toward success, including those that may need a little extra help. This performance relationship really is grounded in something that we, as people, do not always intuitively understand: trust.

Building Trust

Trust is never given to the leader with a job promotion. A title and authority may be provided, but the trust you have with each person on that team is earned. Leaders should switch focus from controlling an outcome or goal to building mutual trust instead. People want to do their jobs. People want what they do 40 hours (or more) a week to matter. If a leader truly works on gaining trust, then loyalty, high performance, and innovation will be able to grow in an environment more favorable to those ideals.

Trust is easy to build.

“Say what you mean and mean what you say.”

As a leader, communication and transparent intentions will take you a long way with your team. Speaking to your team about performance, goals, and innovative ideas should not feel like a pop quiz to your team. They should not feel like you’re about to give them a F because they didn’t have time to prepare. While a lot of the responsibility for doing a job is on the individual, a leader should always provide clear communication and expectations. If the goals for the team shift, tell them.

But, most importantly if something isn’t working smoothly, listen to their concerns or ideas. Keep an open-door policy. You will be surprised what has been kept in people’s head because there wasn’t an opportunity to express it. While there should always be work boundaries, innovation will come naturally if provided enough space to be said. Clear communication and sticking to your promises as a leader are both key in earning trust with your teams.

Motivation

So. You’ve communicated, lived up to your commitments and promises, and kept your team together. That means you’re well on the way to having a team with an innovative mindset. But there is a third ingredient when cooking up innovation: motivation. Motivation is the third ingredient because you can’t motivate people that don’t trust you. And you can’t earn trust without communication and building strong relationships. Once you have built a foundation of trust, you can keep building on that good work by thinking, “What motivates my team?” Believe it or not, some things can motivate one person, but is a discouragement to another. Sounds nuts, but it’s true. Let’s break down motivation a bit further.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation means the person is motivated by something inside themselves. Typical stereotype for this is the “self-starter.” But even self-starters need motivation and recognition from their leaders. Those intrinsically motivated are running off something.

Below are some of the reasons a self-starter may be using to fuel their work:

  • Achievement-based motivation
  • Competence-based motivation
  • Attitude-based motivation
  • Power-based motivation

Having open conversations will allow you to uncover a person’s basis for motivation. By supporting these motivations and rewarding based on what drives them, then you can continue to build performance and open the floor for innovation that will give your company or department a competitive edge.

Ideas to reward those intrinsically motivated:

  • Title or seniority change
  • Merit recognitions
  • Fair pay in coordination with additional responsibilities
  • Inclusion in change initiatives
  • Training others in skills
  • Manager conversations revolving around goals

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation means the person is motivated by something outside of themselves. You find a lot of this in sales-based roles that are performance driven and rewarded by commissions. Although this is a different kind of motivation, it will still need to be supported to open the door for innovation.

Below are the types of extrinsic motivation that may be fueling the person:

  • Reward-based motivation
  • Affiliation-based motivation
  • “Fear”-based motivation
  • Power-based motivation

While the extrinsically motivated individuals may need an outside push, providing the right goals, support, and incentives will allow high team performance. By matching the reward to the motivation, you will be able to unlock performance and innovation that may have been stuck inside a team member’s brain.

Ideas to reward those extrinsically motivated:

  • Bonuses and raises.
  • Merit recognitions
  • Working with people in the company that are influential
  • Clear expectations and actions if expectations are met or not met
  • New titles or more senior position
  • Manager conversations revolving around goals

Sparking Innovation

You’re probably thinking, “I just wanted to learn about innovation. What does any of this have to do with innovation?” Let’s connect the dots.

You cannot earn trust with your team unless you have open, clear communication and transparent expectations for performance. You also need to ensure you live up to whatever commitments made to the team. Business changes, so importance of goals may shift, but being open and transparent will go a long way to helping the team feel included and a part of any goal.

You cannot motivate your team unless you have trust. You can try, but your attempts will likely be met with disinterest or outright lack of engagement. Could you really blame them? By building trust through clear communication and transparency, you’ll be able to motivate your team with either intrinsic or extrinsic reward.

You cannot create innovation unless you are able to fuel your team members through motivation. Motivation and a system of meaningful rewards will unlock innovation. People will want to share inefficiencies and possible solutions, to inform you of roadblocks and maybe even a way to remove the issue. They will want to do more and be more successful. People will freely give loyalty. Your team will want to have synergy and high performance. Of course, as a leader, you will need to steer the ship and keep business goals top of mind, but your focus should be creating a team and a work culture that not only allows an opportunity for innovation but encourages shared responsibility in accomplishing business goals that align with the company’s major initiatives.

The leader does not make innovations. The leader does not have to “do” anything, except foster an open, inclusive work culture and motivate their team to not only meet goals, but exceed expectations with innovation regarding improved processes, products, services, and eliminate inefficiencies. Sounds like a wonderful world, right? It’s completely attainable. This is within the grasp of all leaders and businesses.

The Innovation Equation

Clear communication + transparent expectations/goals = Trust

Trust + Appropriate Rewards = Motivation

Trust + Motivation = Innovation

 

trees covered in snow for the winter
7 Landscaping Tasks for Winter

Winter isn’t just about letting snow and ice build up while major outdoor projects go dormant. In fact, the exact opposite is the case for a number of crucial landscaping projects. Certain major tree renovation, land fertilization, and material clearing projects can all be done best during or right at the start or finish of the winter season.

These are ideal winters tasks. This is due partly to the ways in which trees change their metabolic rhythms during cold weather.  It’s also partly because of how winter foliage conditions make certain outdoor projects easier to plan and tackle. Tree-related pruning, cutting, and clearing work in particular is ideal for winter. It can be performed at its best using forestry equipment that’s ideal for exactly these kinds of landscaping tasks.

The following guide covers several of these crucial projects and why each is worth doing during winter months.

1. Tree Pruning

Trees often go dormant during the winter months. This makes it an ideal time for pruning work to minimize any harm done to their health. The lack of vital spring, summer, or fall fruit, seed, or leaf production and their corresponding sap flow mean much lower levels of trauma when branches are removed. In other words, winter is a great time for this kind of vital landscape and forest management work.

An added benefit of winter pruning for tree health is that the cold conditions offer extra protection to wood against certain diseases. These diseases could otherwise more easily enter through newly cut branches. Finally, there is the obvious winter pruning benefit of reduced leaf cover in most deciduous trees and forests. This makes selecting dead or dangerous branches for pruning logistically easier. Bucket trucks and even service trucks are ideal equipment for doing this task in particular during the year’s cold months.

2. Brush, Branch, and Trunk Clearing

For the same reasons mentioned above about foliage reduction, clearing dead branches, brush, and fallen trees is a task well-suited to winter conditions. All of these major sources of landscape clutter are easier to see and properly cut up for removal. Even in forests of evergreen trees, the reduction in ground-based greenery and leaves around deciduous trees makes for easier access for forestry workers trying to get at branches or deadfalls that need to go. Brush and branches pulled from thickly landscaped garden areas will also cause less harm to surrounding plant foliage during the winter season.

3. Weather Prepping Trees

Placing plastic or metal mesh guards around trees for protection against invading pests and propping up branches and trunks against heavy winter snowfall or storms are all landscaping tasks that should be done during the early days of winter. These jobs are vital to the health of these plants. They will also help conserve their aesthetic appeal for spring and summer growth. Weather prepping of taller trees is often done with the help of equipment, lifting arborists or forestry workers into spaces around the higher branches.

4. Removing Dangerous or Dead Trees

Dead trees are a danger to power lines, windows, roofs, and passing pedestrians. This applies especially when heavy snow or strong winds further weigh down and weaken them. This is why early winter is an excellent time to cut them down. Accessing dead or dangerously weak trees will also be easier when surrounding foliage is minimal. Also, landscapers doing this work in the winter be able to finish it without disturbing as many bird nests, pollinating insects, seed spreading small animals, or other creatures who swarm forests during warmer seasons.

5. Refreshing and Replenishing Mulch

The cutting, pruning, and wholesale removal of trees, branches, brush, and old leaves during the winter is an excellent opportunity for creating new nutrient-rich organic material that can be used for refreshing and replenishing mulch beds around gardens and planting spaces. Mulch trucks can turn all of the wood, rotting lumber, and leaves into an ideal substrate for healthy spring growth of living garden spaces. Winter is the best time of the year for creating and sung these materials from waste.

6. Leaf Composting

Leaves that have fallen to the ground during the fall months are extremely rich in fertilizing nutrients for garden plantings. They are at their best for removal and composting during the winter. They can also be mixed in with the material from mulched tree branches and trunks collected from the tasks above.

7. Fertilizing Gardens and Tree Plantings

The combination of mulched tree branches, dead fall wood, and dead leaves will make an ideal natural fertilizer for spring and summer growth. All of this dead plant material, once mixed together and pulverized by a mulch truck, works as an excellent natural fertilizer. It is also a protective layer against deep cold for small, delicate plantings.

Using the Right Equipment

All of the crucial winter tree and garden management projects above will be much easier with the right equipment. The dump trucks, chip trucks and bucket trucks of Custom Truck One Source are professionally built for rugged, reliable forest and landscape work in any weather conditions.

 

icy and snowy winter road
5 Tips for Using Bucket Trucks and Aerials in Icy Conditions

When the weather starts to turn cold and icy, practicing safety trips with a bucket truck is essential. Not only will you have to deal with hazardous conditions on the road, but thick ice can form in your bucket or the truck itself can slide while you’re up in the bucket.

Every year, 24% of weather-related car accidents happen on icy or snowy pavement and 15% occur while it’s snowing. Practicing caution is essential to keeping yourself and those around you safe. Snowy and icy conditions will also result in you being on the road and in your bucket more often due to power lines being down and other weather-related issues. It’s important to learn ways to practice bucket truck safety.

Here are our top five tips to staying safe during the winter while using aerial devices:

1. Drive Slowly

If the road you’re driving on is covered in snow or ice, you will need to slow down. You will have less traction due to the snow. Going slower in your vehicle will also give you additional time to react if something goes wrong on the road.

While having the heavy bucket on top of your truck weighs you down and gives you an extra advantage when there’s snow on the road, there might be ice underneath. Since your truck is a lot heavier than the average car, you will slide further.

Keep an eye out for black ice if you’re in your vehicle during a storm or when the temperature is below freezing. Black ice can be difficult to see, so pay attention to how cold it is outside. If you know the temperature is below freezing and there’s usually water in the area you’re working in, assume that there’ll be ice.

2. Pay Attention to Your Vehicle

Make sure your truck is ready for winter to avoid any major problems when you’re out on the road. Winterization of your vehicle is vital for your truck to run properly throughout the winter.

Inspect your tires for any signs of wear. You don’t want your traction to be reduced on icy roads due to tires that need replacing. Look into a set of chains or studded tires if it snows heavily in your area. Check your brakes, battery, coolants, and engine. Your antifreeze needs to be filled and the proper color of yellow, blue, green, or red. If it looks cloudy, flush it out and add in new coolant.

For every 3,000 to 5,000 miles you drive, get an oil change for your truck. Since oil acts differently in freezing temperatures, ensure you’re getting the proper oil for cold temperatures. Test the headlights and brake lights on your truck to make sure they’re all working. Dust off any snow and remove ice if necessary since LED lights can accumulate a lot of debris.

3. Work in a Stable Place

Get rid of any snow or ice that is in your work area so your bucket truck’s tires are touching the bare ground. You can also use gravel, sand, or mats under your tires and outriggers to add additional traction.

You will want to put your truck as far into the road or street as you can. If your truck starts to slide, it won’t slide down a hill or into a ditch. Working on ground as level as possible is ideal, but sometimes conditions don’t allow for that.

It is important for the tires and outriggers to be on level surfaces even if the truck is on a slope. To level your aerial device, look into cribbing blocks. They will interlock to create a stable foundation for your boom truck.

4. Be Prepared in the Bucket

Safety in the bucket is important no matter the time of year. When winter comes, it throws many more hazards your way. If there is ice in the bottom of your bucket, try to remove as much of it as you can.

You can also put down a rubber mat to provide more traction and help you from slipping. Practice caution when getting in and out. Inspect all parts of your bucket before you go up to make sure everything is working properly.

Pack an emergency kit that you keep in your truck. It should include:

  • Blanket
  • First-aid kit
  • Extra clothing
  • Food
  • Water
  • Flashlight

When you go up in the bucket, dress extra warmly. Have a thermos of a warm beverage in your truck to help bring up your body temperature once you’re done.

5. Be Slow and Steady

Once you’re good to go, it’s important to not have any quick boom movements. Use a gentle touch on the controls and use the lowest speed possible when you can.

All the preparations you’ve done to make sure your truck is on a stable surface, the snow and ice are removed, and moving slowly will all work together to help your truck not slide in winter weather. If the truck starts to slide, stop all boom movements.

If your bucket truck starts to slide, it can be difficult to stop it. Avoiding the issue before it happens is the best course of action.

However, if the roads are too snowy to ensure your safety, postpone any work that needs to be done.

Select Your Bucket Truck Today

If you’re looking for aerial equipment, Custom Truck carries tracked bucket trucks, boom trucks, backyard diggers, and a variety of other options that will fit your needs. For more information, find a location near you today.

 

Texas ranch frozen over from winter storms
How This Week’s Winter Storms Caused Widespread Power Outages

If you’ve turned on the news this week, you know about the winter storms in the southern United States. Texas was hit especially hard by unprecedented snow, sleet, and ice. Blackouts started Monday morning and continued for as long as 2 days for some residents, according to poweroutage.us. This left millions of homes without power in freezing cold temperatures. We all heavily rely on the stability of the power grid. So we’re left wondering, how did this happen, and could it happen to us? 

How Did it Happen? 

Experts still don’t have 100% of the information, but there is a lot they do know. 

The Scale of the Storm 

The winter storm that hit Texas was greater in size and severity than any seen in recent history. Every county in the state was under a winter storm warning at the same time. 10.1 inches of snow fell on San Angelo, Texas. The previous record there was 2.5 inches in 1951. Dallas and Houston both experienced temperatures well below freezing. Austin also saw extremely unusual weather, with 6.4 inches of snowfall (the most they’d seen in 55 years). Essentially, Texas hasn’t experienced such cold temperatures in over a century. 

A Lack of Winterization 

Because this weather is so uncommon for Texas, they didn’t take the precautions and preparations that colder states typically take to protect their energy sources. For example, in northern states, power generators are usually located inside of buildings. This helps protect them during the freezing winter months. However, Texas stores their generators outside. Keeping them inside would prevent them from being used to their full capacity during the summer months, when the demand for energy in Texas is often much higher than in the winter. 

Texas primarily use uses natural gas, wind, coal, and nuclear power for energy. As temperatures began to dip into the teens, power plant generators across the state started to freeze and go offline. Natural gas pipelines also started freezing. Even some wind turbines froze because they weren’t equipped with the cold weather packages they have in northern climates. All of this led to a significant reduction in energy production. 

The Amount of Power Required 

It takes more energy to heat homes than to cool them. This isn’t what the energy system in Texas is built for.  Almost 50% of power generated by Texas comes from natural gas. Because of the cold, gas couldn’t even make its way from the ground through the pipes in some cases. Additionally, as energy sources stopped working, the demand for power across the state increased. As temperatures got colder, people turned up their thermostats at the same time that power plant generators were freezing. There simply wasn’t enough supply to the meet the demand. 

What is ERCOT and Why Does it Matter? 

The U.S. is divided into three electrical grids: one covers the eastern states, another the western states, and then there is the Texas grid. The Texas power grid covers nearly the entire state, comprised of almost 47,000 miles of transmission lines and substations carrying electricity to utility companies for distribution. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, is a nonprofit that manages about 90% of the state’s power. This group is controlled by the state, rather than being managed at a federal level. This allows them to remain independent from many federal regulations. 

However, we now see that this independence is a trade-off. The energy grid throughout Texas lacks extensive integration with the grids powering the surrounding states. This disconnect prevented the ability to get help from other states when their grid fell short. 

Texas also made a decision not to require equipment upgrades to better withstand extreme winter temperatures, leaving their system unprepared for this crisis. ERCOT officials said that some generators implemented new winter practices that were recommended following a storm in 2011. Unfortunately, the changes made were not sufficient to keep generators online during such an extreme winter event. 

What’s Next? 

Stay tuned for more updates about how workers are bringing power back to the people of Texas, and how Texas plans to prevent this from happening again in the future.