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The Process for Ordering an Overhead Crane: Quoting and Consultation

In the first of our two-part series, we'll be going over the initial steps of purchasing an overhead crane.

Sam Myers

So, you need an overhead crane system… 

Whether you’re moving into a new facility or replacing old equipment, purchasing an overhead crane is a big decision.  

Not only are they a big investment, but we understand that if you have never purchased one before, the process can seem complicated, confusing, and long.  

This is why staying informed on the ordering process and partnering with the right crane manufacturer is critical for making the right decision.  

With over 70 years in the lifting and rigging industry, Mazzella has been manufacturing, designing, and distributing overhead cranes to various industries nationwide. And while this process is second nature to us, we understand it can seem convoluted and overwhelming. 

To help you stay informed about the process of ordering a crane, this article will cover those crucial first steps, including:  

Who Do I Contact to Order a Crane? 

You’ve made the decision to purchase an overhead crane. Now, who do you contact? 

After your initial research, you will want to reach out to a crane manufacturer you feel aligns best with your organization. Following initial contact, the manufacturer will send someone out to your facility to take the dimensions of the space that the crane will be used in.

After the visit, sales will work on the initial proposal, and the engineering team will do initial designing.  

What Happens During an Overhead Crane Consultation?    

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The consultation will take place within the first week or two after first contact is made. During the consultation stage, the crane manufacturer will want to know what environment the crane will be in, what you’re lifting, and how often you’re going to be lifting it.  

They will also want to see the area the crane is being installed in. If it’s a new building, drawings would be great to have on hand so that the crane manufacturer has an idea of where the crane will be and how it will be supported in the space. An experienced manufacturer can help you design and install an overhead crane in an existing facility, too.

The Crane Specialist will also need access to the space your crane will be used in to take measurements and dimensions. 

For the consultation, you’ll want to have a good idea of what your application is. Know what the capacity is, what your typical lift is, how often you’re going to be making lifts, and what the footprint of the crane system is going to be.  

In addition, you’ll want to know: is there going to be any rigging hanging from it? Will there be any below-the-hook devices? These must be considered when deciding the crane system’s capacity. 

The Preliminary Design Process 

You should have a preliminary system design ready to show the manufacturer. The crane manufacturer will want to know:  

  • Electrical design needs  
  • Building design needs  
  • If it’s going to be a freestanding or floor-mounted system 
  • The thickness of the concrete 
  • What may be embedded underneath the crane  

To decide if the crane system will fit, they will also look for possible obstructions in your facility, like overhead heaters, overhead lights, fans, pipes, downspouts, gas lines, and water lines. 

During this stage, raise any questions or concerns to your Account Manager and Crane Specialist. They are going to be your greatest resource during this process. Take advantage of their expertise!  

After the initial consultation, the Crane Specialists will submit all the information to estimating and engineering so that the initial design and costing can begin. 

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What Happens During the Initial Design Stage of Ordering a Crane?    

During the initial design stage, the engineers will review the layout the Crane Specialist brings them. 

It’s important to know that the initial design is just that, an initial design. This will not be the first and only design of a system. Nine times out of ten, you’ll have changes made based on how your plan is laid out.  

Contact is minimal during the initial design phase. But once a proposal is on the table, that’s when things ramp up. After the initial design is completed and an estimate is put together, the Crane Specialist and Account Manager will reach back out to set up a time to present the proposal.

Depending on the size and specialization of the system, you can expect the design and proposal stage to take roughly 2 to 5 weeks

Once you’re given the initial designs, you can take them to both a civil and structural engineer to ensure the overhead crane system will work within your building structure. 

If the system is supported by your building, the engineer will need to confirm the building can handle the additional load. If the system is mounted to your floor, they will need to confirm the concrete can withstand the load the system will put on it.

What Should You Expect During the Proposal Stage?  

The proposal stage is a big milestone in the project.  

You’ve got your first consultation done, and the design is completed. Now it’s time to sit down and go over pricing and designing. Again, the initial design isn’t set in stone, so this is a good time to rehash early conversations and what may have changed since.  

Comparison Process 

We recommend that you get three to four quotes for an overhead crane installation.  

When you’re comparing manufacturers, make sure that everybody has the same capacities you need. You’ll also want to look at additional features you may want, like radio controls, lighting, or alarms.  

When you’re comparing different manufacturers, you’ll see different ways that systems are designed and how they’re presented to you. This can create a drastic difference in pricing. You’ll also want to check to see if startup and load testing are included in your proposal. 

Also, if you plan on financing your overhead crane, some banks require you to have at least three overhead crane manufacturer bids on a project.

Are You Responsible for Load Testing Your Crane?  

It is required that all new overhead crane systems are load tested before use.  

What you may find in some proposals is that load testing isn’t included. That’s because it is your responsibility to get the system load tested, not the crane manufacturer. 

As a crane manufacturer, you can expect them to know relevant codes and assist you with this portion of the project. 

According to ASME B30.2: “If a load test is conducted, the load shall be not less than 100% of the rated load of the crane or hoist(s), whichevr governs, or more than 125% of the rated load of the crane or hoist…”

If you don’t have a load to be lifted, certified weights can be brought in to perform that load test. Mazzella includes load-testing within our quote unless instructed otherwise.

What is the Payment and Negotiation Process for Ordering a Crane?

Prior to deciding which crane company you’re going to work with, there’s a negotiation stage. This is going to be a time to look at your costs and the potential return on your investment.  

This is one of the more stressful parts of the process. For good reason: while you may be fighting to stay under budget, your crane supplier is also trying to stay ahead of their cost curve.   

You will want to work with your crane supplier to make sure everybody is on the same page. As mentioned earlier, being transparent with your budget will remove potential conflicts.   

Your sales reps will be your main points of contact at this stage. Should that company be selected as your crane supplier, you may also want to have their project manager involved to explain their role. 

Is Budgetary Pricing Available When Ordering a Crane?

Depending on the size and scope of your project, budgetary pricing could be an option for your organization. However, budgetary pricing will likely be difficult for larger and more specialized systems. 

To help set realistic expectations, have a prepared budget in mind and share that with your Crane Specialist. Having a timeline in mind would also help your Crane Specialist plan out delivery and shop schedules. 

Should You Finance Your Overhead Crane?  

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Overhead cranes are capital pieces of equipment that range from several thousand to several hundred thousand dollars. If you are a small or mid-sized operation, financing is the best and most realistic way for you to purchase a crane. 

You’re going to make a down payment and subsequent payments prior to receiving the system at your site. The down payment and subsequent payments are typically negotiable. Make sure you discuss this with your manufacturer.  

Payment terms and processes for ordering a crane are—for the most part—standardized across the industry. At Mazzella, we’ve worked with a single financing company over the years, and we’d be happy to provide a reference for you if you want to talk with someone. 


There are plenty of benefits to financing your overhead crane, including: 

  • Preserving other lines of credit 
  • Improving cash flow 
  • Paying off your crane equipment yearly without penalties 

Additionally, many lenders will let you finance other “soft costs” associated with purchasing an overhead crane, like installation and delivery.  

What Happens After You Purchase an Overhead Crane?  

The journey to purchasing an overhead crane is no straight path. There are negotiations. There’s financing. There are a lot of moving parts and discussions that go into this process. It will feel overwhelming at times. That’s why partnering with somebody that can walk with you through each step of the process will make this a lot easier on you. 

The next part of the process—which covers project management and engineered installation—is something we’re passionate about and sets us apart from other industry leaders. Want to talk to an expert? Contact one of our Crane Specialist to learn more about Mazzella’s process and offerings.

So, what happens if you decide to sign the contract? In the next article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about after signing the contract and how the engineering process works. 

Contact a Mazzella specialist today to learn more, order products, or schedule services.

Copyright 2024. Mazzella Companies.

Disclaimer: Any advice, graphics, images, and/or information contained herein are presented for general educational and information purposes and to increase overall safety awareness. It is not intended to be legal, medical, or other expert advice or services, and should not be used in place of consultation with appropriate industry professionals. The information herein should not be considered exhaustive and the user should seek the advice of appropriate professionals.