A Message From The Yard Ramp Guy

March 16, 2020

In this time of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, as we all discover how and whether to do things, I want first and foremost to wish good health to you and yours⏤your family, your company, your peace of mind.

The CDC's recommendations cannot be emphasized and repeated enough:

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people.

The coronavirus situation will get worse before it gets better. Simple math and delays in testing show that not all who need to be tested have been tested yet. And so, those numbers will rise. The good news is that recent reports suggest some 80 percent of those who contract the virus have experienced mild illness. One major goal, then, is to minimize the spread to everyone, especially those 20 percent whose reactions to the virus have been and will be more severe.

How all of this affects our businesses in the long-term, nobody knows. In the short-term, we know that some companies already are strongly affected. Social distancing affects the workplace, too.

(There are bright spots here. The vital food industry⏤processing, distribution, consumer purchasing⏤remains strong, especially with nonperishable foods. And package delivery⏤USPS, FedEx, Amazon, UPS, etc.⏤continues.)

The Yard Ramp Guy, then, shares two important pieces of information that might cushion the economic impact of the situation for your business:

1. In addition to a relief package being prepared by Congress, the U.S. Small Business Administration is working directly with state governors to provide targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans to small businesses that have been severely impacted by the situation. These loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. For inquiries about disaster loans, call 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. You can also use a text telephone (TTY) by calling 1-800-877-8339.

2. The Section 179 Deduction for 2020 is $1,040,000. This means U.S. companies can deduct the full price of qualified equipment purchases up to that amount. In addition, business can take advantage of 100% bonus depreciation on both new and used equipment for the entirety of 2020. Click HERE for more information.

An effective vaccine for the coronavirus is months away from development and deployment. That said, this pandemic one day will reduce and, eventually, end. If history is our guide, the world has survived pandemics before. We will do the same with this one.

Please: stay safe. If you go and wash your hands after reading this, I'll consider it a great honor.

 

 

Jeff Mann
Founder and President

The Power of Powder

Believe it or Not: Steel from Powder

Titanium parts printed from powder and a laser provide researchers with high-strength, heat-resistant examples of the future of additive manufacturing. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

As we've highlighted before, a number of our quality yard ramps⏤with common variations⏤have industry-standard specs: 20,000-pound capacity, 84-inch width, and 36-foot length, with a weight of some 6,000 pounds.

(While we're at it, special orders don't upset us. We're always happy to discuss your requirements for a Custom Solution.)

Six thousand pounds. When someone tells you our inventory weighs a ton, well, just triple that.

Along comes technology to provide industry disruption. This is from the U.S. Army Research Laboratory Public Affairs office:

"Army researchers are looking at new technologies to create steel alloy parts from powder using a laser...The researchers are using an alloy originally developed by the U.S. Air Force. The Army adapted the metal, called AF96, to powder form. Using a method called Powder Bed Fusion, the 3-D printer's laser selectively melts the powder in a pattern. The printer then coats the build plate with another layer of powder and the process is repeated until the part is complete."

First applications appeared designed to repair or replace, say, a tank part. No waiting for inventory to arrive from some distant distribution center. Here we can picture a section of the base set aside for a 3-D printing of the required replacement part, which is the swapped into the tank.

3D Insider tells us that, in 2014, a quality 3D printer cost more than $2,000. Today, that price is under $1,000. The average cost: $700. The cheapest: about $200. We mention this to show that, as consumers take to a product, the price often tends to drop. (Seen the prices of flatscreen televisions recently? They've dropped dramatically in recent years.)

At the same time, the technology improves. The machines grow more streamlined, easier to operate, and faster in completing production of the item.

Dr. Brandon McWilliams, in the Army's manufacturing science and technology lab, said, "Additive manufacturing is going to have a huge impact on sustainment...You can really reduce your logistics footprint. Instead of worrying about carrying a whole truckload...of spares, as long as you have raw materials and a printer, you can potentially make anything you need."

No doubt there are companies in the civilian sector looking for ways to take advantage of this new technology. And with that comes its possible effect on our industry and a multitude of others.

If a company were able to in-house manufacture a large piece of machinery, then the steel industry, the broker industry, the transportation industry, and the wholesale industry would all be negatively impacted. We know the possibilities and the eventual realities by looking at other business sectors. For example, 2017 saw more people take rides in an Uber than in yellow cabs in New York City.

All of which is to say that if a company can "print" its own yard ramp some day...well, we can't predict the future.

Though we're certainly prepared to adapt to it. Sort of.

This week, our man McCoy Fields shares his stepped appreciate for the Incan terraces: Not just architecture, he says. A way of life.

Click HERE to live part of McCoy's life.

Yard Ramps for Sale on Craigslist

Few yard ramp postings relegate it to secondary resource for buying and selling used yard ramps

Finding Peace in Heavy Equipment

Craigslist’s wide popularity makes it an efficient channel for buying and selling items locally. Certainly, over the past 20 years, it has largely replaced newspaper classified ads as the go-to place for sellers of all types of items and buyers looking for inexpensive used items. What can be better? You post an item, free of charge, and wait for email responses from interested buyers who come to pick it up from you with cash in hand!

When it comes to Craigslist, one usually thinks of an online marketplace for old toys, bicycles, and cheap second-hand furniture. That said, the site’s “Heavy Equipment” category does accommodate forklift ramp sellers.

Selling anything on Craigslist is quick and easy. After setting up an account, you create your listing, providing a description, price, and uploaded photos. Craigslist’s focus is local, so your listing will only appear to users in your defined location. After all, being able to transact purchases in person is a big part of Craigslist’s appeal, while not having to worry about shipping and getting paid. Each listing that you post can appear from 7 to 45 days, depending on the city and category. Resellers, on the other hand, can post ads and pay $5 per listing to appear in non-local results for 30 days.

How effective is Craigslist for buying and selling portable loading dock ramps? We think it’s a mixed bag. Why? The lion’s share of searches made by shoppers of used yard ramps are made on Google. That’s where buyers find the most results of resellers (like The Yard Ramp Guy) and manufacturers with used yard ramp listings. In addition, that’s where most sellers put their ad dollars to work, so search engines are where you see the highest concentration of listings.

Know that Craigslist’s Heavy Equipment category has sparse postings for yard ramps, which might be your greatest opportunity: Say a buyer wants to find and inspect a ramp locally. The minimal effort involved in using Google for a search like “craigslist used yard ramps in Miami” makes it very worthwhile to give it a try. (Local searches are extremely popular.)

The same goes for sellers. It’s cheap (remember, free if not a reseller) and postings can be created in a matter of minutes. The ease of posting makes this entirely worth trying.

Buyer & Seller Tips:

  • Craigslist is rife with scams. Use common sense when examining replies. Ignore, for example, replies written in broken English wanting to buy without ever looking at it and asking questions about how to pay you (their goal is to hack into your back account!). Click HERE for more information on spotting Craigslist scams.
  • Include detailed information about what you’re selling in your posting. High quality photos are essential.
  • Your posting is limited to your city and state. If you want to expand to surrounding states and cities, you’ll need to create separate posts for each city/state region.

Of course, we believe that The Yard Ramp Guy’s brokerage service is the right choice for selling your ramp quickly and efficiently. Over the past 10 years, we’ve become the go-to place for buyers and sellers interested in one thing: yard ramps.

Moving Your Yard Ramp

It's All in the Wheels

stylized photo of a yard ramp's wheel
The YRG Wheel Keeps Turning

Our current inventory shows portable yard ramps ⏤ for sale and for rent ⏤ that weigh anywhere from 3,700 to 6,235 pounds.

A majority of these reflect the industry's popular specifications: 20,000-pound capacity, 84-inch width, and 36-foot length, with a weight of some 6,000 pounds.

Six thousand pounds. That's three tons. It's also (since you asked) the approximate weight of the tongue of a blue whale, half the weight of an African bush elephant, and two-fifths the weight of a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

So, our industrial equipment is heavy. About 2,500 pounds heavier than a Ford Taurus. If you have a stationary dock ramp, it's likely bolted to your loading bay.

(If you require assistance with that upon purchase or rental, and many of our customers do, our turnkey services provide an excellent way to keep you focused without worry on what you do; we'll take care of the heavy lifting.)

We want to reassure you on the ease with which our customers are able to move their portable yard ramps. You'll see the process in the accompanying video.

  • The forklift approaches.
  • The fork slides into the ramp clamp opening.
  • Forklift raises the fork.
  • The bottom of the yard ramp lifts off the ground.
  • Forklift moves to the needed repositioning.
  • The wheels on the other end of the yard ramp assure stable, balanced movement.

Yes, there are always variables. For example, your warehouse grounds might have some tighter turns, requiring a few more pivots of the yard ramp.

Yet, a qualified forklift operator will easily and safely reposition a yard ramp. Time after time.

Have a look:

This week, our man McCoy Fields switches back to the Stelvio Pass switchback in Italy. To our delight, he's a bit grumpy about the whole experience.

Click HERE to get transported to Italy.

Ramps Rusting Gracefully

COR-TEN in Context

cor-ten steel
Rust as Function and Style

We follow steel ⏤ its applications, strength, and advancements. Steel is, literally, the foundation of our business.

Naturally, we take pause whenever a new technology arrives, promising stronger and longer lasting formulas.

COR-TEN is one such innovation. U.S. Steel holds the trademark on the name, a combination of corrosion resistance and tensile strength. (Tensile strength is the point at which steel begins to warp.) The innovation here is in weathering, the chemical component that lets the steel retain its integrity while exhibiting the (natural) oxidation that we know as rust.

The difference is that COR-TEN steel's rust is a layer designed as a kind of protective coating, leaving the underlying sections to retain strength. This is partly a cosmetic feature.

A number of architectural projects have folded COR-TEN into their designs. The Chicago Picasso sculpture, in the Chicago Loop's Daley Plaza, uses it, as does Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

It's rust as style. Not everyone's taste, yet quite popular in some circles.

And yet (well, you knew that was coming), COR-TEN has some problems. Barclays Center, for example: by design the oxidation process is accelerated. And what people experienced with that rusting, among other elements, was discoloration of the sidewalks (called "bleeding" or "runoff") around Barclays Center, the result of condensation from the steel dripping onto the concrete. This can also cause environmental problems, with metal runoff seeping into and affecting local waters.

Structurally, the situation also can be dire. Engineers employed COR-TEN in construction of The Omni Coliseum in Atlanta in 1972. The steel wouldn't stop rusting, and that resulted in large holes. Structurally, it was compromised to the point of being a potential danger and disaster. Twenty-five years after its construction, they demolished the building.

Our focus is on structural integrity. No COR-TEN on our inventory. We evaluate and categorize each rental and used yard ramp you'll find on our listing pages ⏤ from "New" through "Good" ⏤ and all pass the test of that structural integrity. Which is the only way we allow them to post on our site.

barclays center
Barclays Center Roofing

This week, our man McCoy Fields discovers a half-ramp, half-causeway. Something to do with pulling ships over mountains. And it's all fascinating.

Click HERE to read all about it.