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Car tips & advice | 01.10.2013 - 03:36

Used Forklifts: 3 Things To Consider

If you are looking to hire or perhaps even buy a forklift, then make sure you consider the benefits and pitfalls of each.
Buying A Used Forklift

When a business needs a forklift for the first time, or when one of its existing forklifts needs to be replaced, buying a used forklift rather than a new one can make sense. The decision whether to buy a used forklift—and whether to buy one at all—should be considered carefully, as it represents a capital investment in a depreciable and ammortizing piece of equipment and carries other costs, such as maintenance, repairs and potentially insurance. The following is a list of 3 things a business should consider when the prospect of buying a used forklift arises.

Is Purchasing a Forklift Necessary?

The business should carefully evaluate how much use it expects to get out of a forklift. If the expected use is fewer than five hours per week, or less than one day per week, it can be more economical to hire a forklift. This is also true if the forklift is needed on only one occasion and not foreseen to be needed again. Hired forklifts are frequently in close to new condition and are professionally maintained by the hire agency, as well as guaranteed to perform their tasks effectively under the hire agreement. A hired forklift can significantly save on costs associated with maintenance, storage and insurance. It is also far more conveniently replaced should replacement be needed, and the hire shop should make forklifts available in a variety of sizes and capacities suitable to a variety of business needs.

What Are the Non-Obvious Costs Associated With a Used Forklift?

Used forklifts are, on the surface, less expensive than new ones, but can come with hidden costs that may not be obvious, especially if you don’t buy from a specialist. Depending on the brand and condition, a used forklift can last for a shorter period of time than a new one and require replacing sooner; also, maintenance and service are likely to be more frequent and requiring greater effort if the forklift hasn’t had a good life. 

The manufacturer warranty on used forklifts is generally expired, so do your research and look to buy from a dealer that includes a dealers warranty if the manufacturer’s warranty has expired. Parts for used forklifts, especially discontinued models, can be more difficult to obtain and cost more than parts for recent-model ones. Finally, used forklifts are usually not in as good a condition as new or nearly-new ones, suffering from wear in areas ranging from the gear to the seat to the tyres to the paint. Most genuine brand dealers who specialise in used equipment will make sure that the reconditioned forklift is in almost perfect condition for resale, and any and all wear areas have been replaced or repaired. Keep in mind that many ongoing costs associated with buying a used forklift can be prevented by buying from a reputable dealer.

How to Go About Purchasing a Used Forklift

Before seeking out a forklift, the business should conduct a needs assessment to establish how frequently and for how long a forklift will be needed, whether it will be used indoors or outdoors or both, what doorways it must fit through (in terms of both height and width), what sorts of goods it will be used to move, what weight it must be able to bear, how high it must be able to lift what it is carrying, and how narrow the spaces are in which it must be able to turn and manoeuvre. This all goes into the various qualities of the forklift needed, as there is a wide variety of types and sizes. It is also important to note motor type, as electric motors are preferred for indoor use (and required in the food industry). 

Once need has been assessed and a budget established, the business should inquire about used forklifts from a specialised vendor or through classified advertising. It is essential to inspect the forklift prior to purchase, which requires having a trustworthy mechanic present during the inspection, as well as someone who is trained and licensed to test-drive the forklift. Finally, it is highly important to understand all aspects of the purchase agreement, including, if necessary, having the agreement reviewed by a legal professional.

Prior to accepting delivery of the forklift, the business should secure storage space for it and arrange for maintenance, servicing and a licensed operator.

The decision on whether or not to make a capital purchase in business is a big one!

Erin Warbrook is well versed in what to do when faced with the decision to look for forklifts for sale or hire, she has used United Forklift and Access Solutions for their expertise.

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