If time is money, than a reliable forklift is practically priceless. If your business has gotten to the point where it needs to move larger and heavier products, and manual labor can’t physically cut it anymore, it may be time to consider a forklift purchase. Buying a powered industrial truck, as it’s also called, is no small investment. It’s a powerful and technical machine that can have a major effect on your operation’s efficiency and output – so don’t be offput by the sticker price. Just like a buying a car, there are plenty of priorities to consider when you’re browsing the market, one of the largest choices being whether to buy a used or new forklift. There are obvious advantages and disadvantages to each, and choosing the proper machine can have a significant effect on your bottom line in the long-run.
Why consider buying used/refurbished machines? If you have a budget to adhere to, which is likely, than a used piece of equipment can save you thousands of dollars up front. A brand new electric forklift can cost up to $25,000, not including the additional purchase of a battery and charger. Compare this to a properly refurbished machine of similar functionalities, which can cost between $5,000 and $10,000. That being said, used forklifts aren’t for everyone. It really comes down to how you need it to perform and how your operation runs.
How Will A Forklift Be Used In Your Business?
Whether this will be your first or 15th forklift addition, it’s important to think about the conditions the truck will operate within when you’re in the beginning stages of the buying process. What kind of jobs do you need it to perform and how much are you willing to put aside for maintenance? Think big picture here, as well as the future needs this piece of equipment will need to fulfill. After determining these criteria, you should be able to narrow down the type of forklift machine you need. The four primary type are order pickers, pallet jacks, reach trucks, and sit-down riders.
Order pickers enable workers to reach stocked items between 8 and 11 feet high. They’re typically only used indoors and on smooth surfaces.
Pallet jacks, as the name suggests, help to lift and move pallets around your warehouse.They are a cheaper alternative to a sit-down forklift, and make sense for jobs that only need to raise loads around 7 inches off the ground.
Reach trucks have much higher weight and lift capacities than pallet jacks, lifting loads more than 30 feet, but less weight than a sit-down forklift.
Finally, the sit-down counterbalance forklift may be what you’re most familiar with, as it provides the highest capacity of height and weight. There are many different specifications of sit-down riders including 3 or 4-wheeled and a variety of fuel options like gas, diesel fuel, propane, or natural gas.
Now that you know what you’re looking for, you can begin comparing prices on new versus used forklifts. The obvious advantage of new being that it will come nice and shiney out of the dealership, with all the newest bells and whistles, and perform tasks with the least amount of downtime possible. New forklifts will also include a warranty to protect you from unexpected breakdowns but it all comes with a cost. But could you get the same functionality out of used machine for nearly half the cost?
Again, taking into consideration how you need this machine to perform, buying the right used forklift can save you big bucks. The first and most important step is to find a trusted used forklift dealer. You can let providers compete for your business by used a reputable forklift network. This way, you no longer have to waste time calling numerous businesses, seeking the type of equipment you want. Instead, dealers will contact you with competitive deals on the exact type of truck you requested.
Once you do find a dealer, it’s important to do an inspection of your own. There are several red flags to look for including:
- Cracks or bends on the forks and mast.
- Damage to the mast rails that could affect structural integrity.
- Excessive wear on mast rollers.
- Any leaking hydraulic fluids from the hoses that run parallel to the chains.
- Bends or damage to the canopy main supports.
- Listen for any odd sounds coming from the engine compartment.
- Check for smooth loader arms operation.
- Leaks or cracks in the engine compartment.
- Loose counterweight bolts.
Don’t be afraid to literally and figuratively kick the tires. You need to know exactly what you’re getting into.