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Monday, June 3rd, 2019

CanLift Equipment Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

Staff photo from CanLift's 10 Year Anniversary

CanLift, one of Canada’s largest privately-owned aerial lift equipment sales and rental companies recently celebrated 10-years in business. Read on to learn about where this 100% Canadian owned and operated business started and where they’re headed.

Where CanLift Came From

This successful lift company was actually built by four longtime high school friends from Oakville (Jacob Fuller, Johnny Dragicevic, Marko Dragicevic and Ryan Fitzgibbon). And, even though they went to school together, they had diverse skills that blended together well to create a strong and growing business.

Marko and Johnny Dragicevic

The Talented Management Team

Each one brought something different to the business.

  1. Johnny’s background was in real estate sales.
  2. Marko was an aerial lift mechanic.
  3. Ryan came from online sales and marketing.
  4. Jacob was the visionary and adept in business development.

Brothers Johnny and Marko grew up in the business and worked in their uncle’s aerial work platform rental shop. When the market crashed in 2008, and other companies were closing down, this group of young entrepreneurs saw a huge opportunity. They realized there was a lot of equipment available at a discount, and they started acquiring as much as they could. Plus, they knew how to market online, use technology, and apply new approaches to make a splash in a traditionally run business.

CanLift Equipment Ltd. Begins

2007: 1st location – 1015 Industry Road in Oakville

We started with just 3,500 sf of space in a shared facility with only 10-15 parking spots for equipment. Our fleet was tiny – 12 scissor lifts, 2 boom lifts and 0 telehandlers. The staff was lean as well; both Marko and Johnny were running all aspects of the business. Marko did major equipment repairs, and Johnny did minor maintenance in between deliveries and sales. Shawn Wilson, a serial entrepreneur and good friend of Johnny’s, helped consult on the financial side when called upon. Shawn later joined CanLift as a partner and a key leader in his full time role as CFO.

2010: Relocated to 565 Speers Road in Oakville

They soon grew out of their first location, moved, and instantly tripled in size! The new facility was 10,000 sf with a one acre yard. Plenty of room for the fleet of 85 scissor lifts, 15 boom lifts and four telehandlers. From there, the fleet grew to over 350 pieces.

From starting with the initial two founders, they grew to 20 employees after hiring long time rental industry sales professional, Terry Mostaard. Terry’s vast experience and huge network of customers help accelerate CanLift’s growth.

How they expanded: Since Marko came from a service background, he saw a void in outside service work. A lot of the larger competitors were focused on rental only and were passing up on customer machine repair. In a smart move, he concentrated on growing that end of the business and hired several experienced technicians to handle larger and/or more complicated work for both in house and outside work.

Johnny was responsible for growing rental sales, and Patsy helped QB from the rental desk. Behind the scenes, Ryan and Jacob helped with CanLift’s online presence when not busy working on their other projects.

2013: Added Another Location – London, ON

Hired longtime industry veteran Daryl Cortese to run the London operation.

The London boys: Duke Cummings and Daryl Cortese.

Where is CanLift Now?

2014: Current Locations – 5419 Harvester Road in Burlington & 1875 Wharncliffe Rd. S in London (Ontario)

Our current head office is 22,000 sf of warehouse space that includes a paint booth and sandblast booth and 2.2-acre yard in Burlington. Our London branch is 4,500 sf with a 3/4 acre yard and 10-15 parking spots for equipment.

Our rental fleet has grown to over 600 pieces with a supporting staff of 35 amazing people which includes six mobile techs, five inside mechanics and seven drivers.

We’ve also added four new 2019 Volvo tractors and three new roll-offs to keep our logistics team working efficiently.

How they expanded: With a growing sales staff and a front office, Shawn Wilson, came on board as a co-owner in 2015. He took over finances and put together a great team so Marko and Johnny could focus on operations, and Ryan could continue building the online lead generation for a newly formed new and used equipment sales group.

2019 – Expansion Continues

CanLift expanded to offer a turnkey full-service solution including repair, maintenance, inspections along with reconditioning with sandblasting, painting, and parts.

Since CanLift is a family run business (they consider staff their family too) they avoid a lot of the corporate red tape and politics that most of their competitors have to deal with.

The owners and management team are young compared to many companies in the industry which means they’re very focused on technology and innovation to help grow the business and ensure that it’s a great place to work. In addition, they’re concentrated on the service side of the market with a stellar team of mechanics which allows them to repair and maintain equipment better than any of their competitors.

CanLift’s 10th anniversary

On Friday, May 17, 2019, CanLift management and staff had a fun BBQ to celebrate where they’ve come from and their bright future. Check out the pictures of them enjoying good food and friends.

Here celebrating our 10 year anniversary is Vicki Burgess (Rental Coordinator), Johnny Dragicevic (Managing Partner), Jen Kucan (Parts Service Manager), Shawn Wilson (CFO) and Geoff Grant (VP of Sales)
Corey Colarossi from CanLift’s sales team mans the grill at our 10 year staff BBQ

Where is CanLift Going?

Of course, the answer is: ONLY UP!

End of 2019: New Location – 4440 South Service Rd; Burlington, ON

The management and staff are very excited about their brand new location and can’t wait to move towards the end of 2019, when the state of the art facility will be ready. Here are the highlights:

  • 19,000 sf building, 3.6-acre equipment yard, nine huge service bays
    Equipment
  • Plans to grow the rental fleet to at least 1,000 units
  • Expanding sales into the US through a strategic partnership with Allied Equipment near Tampa, Florida.
  • Green initiatives are in the future including, electric delivery trucks and solar power.The management and staff are looking forward to moving into their new facility to better serve their customers along with expanding into other markets and applying their same family values.

From a small 2000 sf shop with 8 machines and no employees to a successful and growing business with a fantastic team of 35 staff, expect to see big things from CanLift in the future.

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about where CanLift came from and where this vibrant and successful team is going. In the meantime, call them at 877-338-5438 or come visit their current location at 5419 Harvester Road, in Burlington for all of your equipment needs.