70 Years of Lifting & Rigging Excellence Click here to view our commemorative video!

The Complete Overhead Crane Buying Process: Part 1 – Consultation & Quotes

Purchasing an overhead crane system for your facility is a major investment. It requires careful planning and an understanding of the entire process. In this comprehensive guide, we walk you through the critical first stages – the initial consultation with crane manufacturers, the initial design, and obtaining and evaluating quotes.

From determining your application needs to analyzing quote comparisons, this video covers everything you need to know about the overhead crane buying process before signing on the dotted line. If you are a first time crane buyer, this guide will prepare you for the road ahead letting you know what is expected at every important stage of the overhead crane purchasing process. Whether you’re an Operations Manager, Maintenance Lead, Production Supervisor or EHS Professional, you’ll gain valuable insights to navigate the consultation and quoting phases with confidence.

What You’ll Learn:

  • What information to have ready for the initial crane consultation
  • Factors crane manufacturers consider in their design and quote
  • Typical timeline from consultation to receiving quotes
  • Key things to look for when comparing crane quotes
  • Negotiating pricing, payment terms, and financing options
  • Next steps after selecting your crane supplier

During the initial consultation, we explain what information crane specialists need like capacity requirements, typical lifts, footprint needs and budget estimates. You’ll learn the key factors manufacturers consider in their preliminary designs and pricing proposals.

We then dive into understanding and comparing quotes from multiple overhead crane suppliers. This is a critical step in the overhead crane buying process for which you want to prepare. We outline critical elements to assess such as matching capacities, speeds, features and finding any excluded costs. Download our free Bridge Crane Quote Comparison Tool to help compare your quotes. In this video look for tips on negotiating pricing, payment terms and financing options.

By the end, you’ll have the right knowledge to select the best overhead crane quote and supplier that meets your facility’s needs and timeline. We also discuss budgeting for this major capital expenditure and the benefits of an experienced manufacturer partner.

Don’t miss this first step in our full overhead crane buying series. Start your overhead crane buying process on the right foot by watching this video now. Check out The Complete Overhead Crane Buying Process: Part 2 to learn about the process you can expect once you have signed a contract and the engineering of your overhead crane project is ready to begin. And for even more resources, check out our Overhead Cranes Buyer’s Course, Cranes 101, and comprehensive eBook, Overhead Cranes From Top To Bottom.



– Purchasing an overhead crane is a big decision. Not only can they be a big investment, but if you have never purchased one before, the process can seem complicated, confusing, or long. We’re going to walk you through each step of the process so you know what to expect.

– Hi, I am Chris Whitney. I am a Crane Specialist with Mazzella. I have been with the company for 18 years.

What are the steps of purchasing an overhead crane?

So you need a crane system for your facility. What you’re going to do is reach out to the crane manufacturer. They’re going to send somebody out to your facility to meet with you and talk about the application, find out what your needs are, find out what’s important to you. After the visit with sales, engineering will start on the initial design work so that estimating can put together a formal proposal. Once a proposal is approved and you place an order, the final design work is prepared. Then they’ll go into production and a delivery schedule will be put together. Then the crane is installed, load tested, and started up.

Consultation Stage

What to expect from an overhead crane consultation

The consultation will take place within the first week or two after the first contact is made. So during the consultation stage of the process, the crane manufacturer is going to want to know what you’re doing with the crane, what you’re going to be lifting, how often you’re going to be lifting it. They’re also going to want to see the area that 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 a footprint of what the crane will be covering.

What do you need to prepare for an overhead crane consultation?

So for the consultation, you’ll want to have a good idea of what your application is. You’ll want to know what the capacity is, what your typical lift is, how often you’re going to be making lifts, and again, what the footprint of the crane system is going to be. In addition, you’re going to want to also know is there going to be any rigging hanging from it? Will there be any below the hook devices? All that has to be taken into account when deciding what the capacity of the crane system is going to be. The crane manufacturer should be able to work with you on some preliminary weights if you do not know what type of equipment is going to be used for doing the actual rigging of the material.

A customer should be prepared to have a preliminary design of the system. What they’re going to want to know is some of the electrical design needs, building design needs, as well as if it’s going to be a freestanding system that’s mounted on the floor, what the concrete thickness is, and what may be embedded underneath it. Something else you’ll want to have prepared is a budget. What are you planning on putting towards this CapEx project? Also, a project timeline so that you can communicate that with the crane specialist so they know what they need to look at with regards to components and delivery and the existing shop schedule.

What will happen during your overhead crane consultation?

We’ll be taking measurements out in the shop to determine what the sizing is going to be. We’ll look at all the obstructions that are in the facility, overhead heaters, overhead lights, fans, any pipes that may come down for downspouts, gas lines, water lines. We’re going to identify all of those things so that we can decide how we’re going to fit the crane system into the space. If you are looking at some budgetary pricing, the crane specialists may be able to provide that for you on the spot. Obviously, with a larger system or something that’s a little more specialized, it’ll be difficult. But if it’s a standard system, budgetary pricing may be available on the fly.

Who are your points of contact during the the consultation stage of purchasing an overhead crane?

During the consultation stage, you’ll have your local account manager and crane specialist at your disposal. So any questions, follow up questions or information that you need from them, you can reach out to either of them.

Initial Design Stage

What to know about the initial design of your overhead crane

So 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. So during the initial design stage, what the engineers are going to be doing is looking at the layout that the crane specialist has brought back to them. So they’ll be looking at the components, deciding on what steel sizes are going to be used for the system. They’ll also be providing preliminary loadings so that you can work with a professional engineer and have the existing facility looked at to make sure that the new crane system that you are installing is going to work.

It’s important to know that the initial design is just that, it’s an initial design. This will not be the first and only proposal or design on a system. Nine times out of 10, you’ll have changes made based on how your plan is laid out, capacity changes or anything else that may change throughout the project.

During the initial design stage, contact is pretty minimal. As estimating and engineering are putting together the initial design, that’s a time that the contact is not as frequent. Once a proposal is on the table, that’s when things ramp up. After 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 a design and proposal stage to take roughly two to five weeks.

Quote Stage

What should you know about getting your overhead crane quote?

So the proposal stage is a big milestone in the project. So you’ve got your first consultation done, the initial design is completed. Now it’s time to sit down and go over what you talked about on the initial consultation and talk about the price and design of the system. In addition, you’ll also be talking about anything that has changed since the initial consultation. Again, two to five weeks in between, things can change. You can change the way your system’s going to be laid out. You can change the capacities and the application. So again, that’s a good time to rehash what you talked about initially and what may have changed in that time.

How to compare overhead crane quotes

So a crane system that you’re looking to put into your facility, you can expect to get three to four proposals in order to make a conscious decision on your business. So when you’re going through your comparison process, the things you’re going to want to look at is making sure that everybody has hit the same capacities. You want to look at your speeds. You want to look at additional features that you guys have asked for, be it radio controls or lighting or alarms, that type of stuff. You want to make sure that everybody’s proposals match.

You’ll see different ways of installing. You’ll see different ways that systems are designed. You’ll also see different ways that systems are presented to you. So all of that can create a drastic difference in pricing. You’ll also want to check to make sure that startup and load testing are included in your proposal. It is required that all new systems are load tested before use. What you may find on some proposals is that may not be included because it is actually your responsibility to get the system load tested, it’s not on the crane manufacturer to have that done. You can expect them to know these codes and assist you with that portion of the project. If you don’t have a load to be lifted, certified weights can be brought in to perform that load test.

During the quoting stage, your sales contacts will be your main points of contact. You may also have a project manager get involved to elaborate a little bit on the process that they will be performing, should that company be selected as your crane supplier.

Negotiating your overhead crane contract

So prior to making a decision of which crane company you’re going to work with, there’s a negotiation stage. That’s going to be a time where you’re looking at your cost and the return on the investment that you’re making and determining whether the price that you have on your plate is where you need it to be. So payment terms are pretty standard within our industry. You’re going to be making a down payment and also subsequent payments prior to actually receiving the system on your doorstep. Those are typically negotiable, but you want to work with your crane supplier to make sure that everybody is coming out of this with a fuzzy feeling.

In order to reach that agreement, you’re going to want to try to hold on to as much of your money as possible. However, the crane supplier is going to need to stay ahead of their cost curve as well. So again, negotiating those payments is part of the process to make sure that you are also holding onto your money, but also taking care of your new partner.

Should you finance your overhead crane purchase?

So one thing you want to keep in mind while you’re going through your decision process is how you’re going to pay for a system. These are not low cost items, and again, this is a capital piece of equipment. So it’s something that’s not making you money until it’s installed. So you’re putting money out on a project before you actually have a product. So financing options are something you’re going to want to look at to make sure that you’re covered on the purchase of this equipment. Mazzella has a financing company that we’ve worked with over the years, so we can provide a reference to you for somebody that you can talk to.

What happens after you choose a crane manufacturer?

All right, so you’ve made your selection, you’ve chosen a crane supplier to supply a system for you. From there, sales is going to turn over the project to a project manager, and that project manager will become your single point of contact for the rest of the project. However, your sales contacts will still be heavily involved, just more behind the scenes. So from here, you’re going to be working directly with the project manager to get the approval drawings, any site visits with installers, the fabrication and installation schedule.

So the purchasing process of an overhead crane can be very overwhelming. You’re going to want to look to align yourself with a company that will make it easy on you. There’s negotiations, there’s financing, there’s a lot of things that can go into this process that will overwhelm you. So partnering with somebody that can walk with you through each step of the process will make this a lot easier on you. The next stage of this process is where Mazzella sets themselves apart. Project management, engineering, installation is all something that we do as a process and that we’re very passionate about. We’ll tell you all about that in the next video.

How can you learn more about purchasing an overhead crane?

– So that’s the first stage of the process. Hopefully you understand a bit more about the process of getting a quote for an overhead crane. So what happens if you decide to sign the contract? In the next video, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about purchasing an overhead crane once you sign the contract and the engineering begins.

If you are considering making that investment, we have a ton of information to help you become a more informed buyer, from our Overhead Cranes Buyers Course to our Overhead Cranes eBook, to numerous articles and videos, check out the links below to research anything you may need to know before purchasing an overhead crane. If we didn’t answer all of your questions, feel free to drop them below.

If you found this video useful, informative, entertaining, or you just feel like being friendly, then hit that like button so we can get this information out to everyone who needs it. Subscribe and hit the bell so you never miss a video. If you have a question, drop it in the comments. Remember, safe rigging is smart rigging. My name is Ben, stay safe out there.

FREE Overhead Crane Buyers Tools!

New Call-to-action

Articles, Videos, and More!

Contact Mazzella

In this video

0:00 – Intro

0:33 – What are the steps of purchasing an overhead crane?

1:09 – What to expect from an overhead crane consultation

1:36 – What do you need to prepare for an overhead crane consultation?

4:02 – What to know about the initial design of your overhead crane

5:05 – When can you expect your overhead crane proposal?

5:22 – What should you know about getting your overhead crane quote?

5:57 – How to compare overhead crane quotes

7:33 – Negotiating your overhead crane contract

8:33 – Should you finance your overhead crane purchase?

9:07 – What happens after you choose a crane manufacturer?

10:17 – How can you learn more about purchasing an overhead crane?

Subscribe to The Lifting & Rigging Channel on YouTube
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.