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New heights for CanLift Equipment

Ontario company has grown into one of the province’s largest lift-equipment providers.

April 8, 2024  By Mike Lacey

Brothers Marko and Johnny Dragicevic began their company 15 years ago when they purchased a discounted fleet of equipment. (Photo: CanLift Equipment Ltd.)

A Canadian lift-equipment company’s success continues to rise as it celebrates 15 years in business.

CanLift Equipment rents, sells and services aerial lift equipment, earthmoving machinery and material handling equipment from manufacturers such as Skyjack, Genie, JLG and XCMG. They also have a partnership with XCMG, the world’s third-ranked original equipment manufacturer, which provides CanLift with exclusive rights to sell its earthmoving equipment in Ontario.

On May 14, the Burlington, Ontario business will celebrate its 15-year anniversary. It is a far different business from the one two brothers founded back in 2009.

“We used to work for a small, independent company. Then, in 2009, when things took a turn, we lost our jobs,” recalls Marko Dragicevic.


Marko and his brother Johnny were among millions suddenly in search of new work following the near collapse of the world’s financial system in the fall of 2008 and resulting recession the following year.

The two brothers purchased a discounted fleet of material handling equipment and launched CanLift Equipment Ltd.

Success soon followed. Today, with a workforce of more than 45 employees and a fleet of 1,100 pieces of equipment, CanLift is one of the province’s largest independently-owned lift equipment providers.

In 2012 they opened up a second location in London and in 2014 relocated their headquarters from Oakville to Burlington. Their 10 delivery trucks are busy hauling rental equipment to all corners of the Ontario — from Windsor to Sudbury to Kingston.

Recently, the company invested in more than 100 large boom lifts ranging in size from 80 feet to 185 feet.

New beginnings

2020 marked a new path for the company. First, CanLift’s new Burlington home opened. The 20,000-square-foot facility contains office space, a large garage with multiple bays for servicing and repairing equipment, and a massive yard that is home to its fleet.

Marko explains planning for the building began in 2017 when the brothers decided they needed a new location for the business. Instead of buying or leasing an existing facility, they opted to build their own. They purchased a plot of land on South Service Road in Burlington and, in 2019, construction began. The facility opened in 2020, right when COVID hit.

The pandemic brought with it the obvious challenges all businesses experienced, but also opportunity. Marko admits it was tough, but it allowed them to pause, take stock and move forward as a leaner, more focused company.

“It gave us time to deep-dive,” adds Geoff Grant, vice president of sales, who joined CanLift in 2014. “In hindsight, it was a blessing.”

Reaching new heights

CanLift is now experiencing a rapid rise in business. While during most of its 15-year history there was steady, consistent growth, the last two years has seen an explosion.

“The growth is like a hockey stick curve,” Grant says.

Joe Gould, director of business development, explains in the past two years, the company has experienced a 100 per cent growth rate and has also doubled its fleet complement.

“We’ve invested over $40 million in new fleet equipment,” Gould adds.

That is expected to continue next year as they look to further add to their fleet and expand into eastern Ontario with a possible third location.

“We’re still on a growth path,” Marko says.

Part of that involves adapting to an evolving market. While residential construction has experienced a slowdown, that has been taken over by an increase in commercial construction. As well, previously, their customer base was evenly split between direct sales and rentals. However, they are finding that rentals are making up a greater per centage of their business.

“We’ve seen the trend from people buying their own equipment to renting,” Grant says.

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