By Sarah Kezer, 123Forklift
Sarah here from 123Forklift! First of all, I want to thank Patrick for having us provide a guest post on the Coach’s Corner Blog. Forklifts are our business and therefore, forklift safety is our business as well. We’re happy to have connected with Patrick through his great work in forklift safety training and want to provide additional assistance for warehouse managers and forklift operators.
We think that Patrick would agree that replacing your forklift at the right time is important for both warehouse efficiency and most importantly, safety. But making the decision on how to buy expensive equipment, like forklifts, is often easier said than done. There’s plenty to consider when purchasing a forklift: fuel type, lifting capacity, brand name, and new or used machines. We’d like to help with this process by lending some advice for when you’ve narrowed down your machinery specifics and are considering whether to buy a new or used forklift.
It’s exciting to snag a brand-new, shiny forklift right off the manufacturing line, but the up-front costs may not be as thrilling. One of the biggest advantages of buying used is the dramatically lower price tag. Although prices range depending on the type of machine, on average, you can save upwards of $10,000 with a used version. Used isn’t suited for every situation however. Used forklifts are most appropriate for operations that will be using it fewer than five days a week and only during a single daily shift. If you’re operation is a non-stop environment, used trucks will probably require too much maintenance and cost you an arm and a leg in repairs and upkeep.
If you evaluate your workload and decide that a used forklift is a good choice, it’s important to then find a dealer. We make this easy by connecting you with trusted dealers in your area through our website, 123Forklift.com. After filling out a short form, certified dealers who can fulfill your exact equipment requests will be in touch to give you free quotes. This way, you can compare prices and features and ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible from reputable dealers. Beats flipping through listings and calling them all yourself!
When buying any used piece of equipment, be sure to ask for detailed maintenance reports and do your own inspection on site. Ritchie Bros. provides a great inspection guide (below) that’s helpful when looking at equipment. Take your most experience certified forklift operator for a second opinion. As they advise, when considering a piece of equipment, take a look at the:
- Forks and mast. Check forks for cracks, bends or other types of distortion.
- Lift chains and cylinders. Check for cracks and look for signs of excessive wear. Look over hoses and the lift chains and make sure there are no signs of leaking fluids.
- Frame and canopy. Do a good walk-around and look for any damage to the canopy. This is important for the safety of your operators. Check that the windows are intact and go ahead and give the tires a look for any missing rubber or lug nuts.
- General operation. Check out the seatbelt and make sure it’s secure. Listen to the engine, check hydraulic levers, and operate the arms to evaluate proper function. Go for a short drive to test the steering and brakes.
- Engine compartment. After going for a test drive, check the engine for leaks, dirt buildup, or cracks. Other things to check in the engine: air filter, belts, oil, and battery connections.
Keep in mind that all used forklifts will have some wear and tear that a new one will not. But if you find a dealer you trust and take careful consideration, there’s nothing wrong with opting for a used lift.
You will pay more upfront for a new forklift, but it may be the smartest way to go if you’re going to be working this machine to the max. Otherwise, you’ll be paying an arm and a leg to constantly maintain an older, used machine. A new machine will perform much better under extreme conditions and long working hours. Another advantage is the issuing of a warranty for new forklifts, typically lasting between 12 and 36 months.
New forklifts are also preferable if you’re expecting to expand your fleet anytime in the near future. It will be easier to keep your fleet uniform when you go back for another model when choosing from newer machines. You can establish a relationship with your dealer and in turn, he or she will be able to provide you with the exact, or a similar model, maybe even at a discounted price. Replacement parts and attachments may also be more easily available with a newer model.
We hope that the above guide helps in your forklift buying process. After finding your ideal dealer and forklift, be sure of course, make sure your team is up to date on their safety training and compliance by working with Patrick! You can always visit 123Forklift.com to compare forklift prices for free. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.