Finding the right forklift for your business requires specialized insight if you hope to find the most productive, cost-effective machine. There is so much to consider when buying a forklift. Choosing the right machine can have a great impact on everything from operating costs and productivity to employee morale and downtime.
- New vs. used
Another major consideration many buyers face when comparing forklifts is whether to buy a forklift which has been used or a new one. In fact, for some business owners, it isn’t a decision at all but rather the only option available. Regardless of the situation, you can find an excellently used forklift by paying close attention to the following criteria:
Age: Though far from the most critical consideration, the age of the machine is one of the first things to consider. Usually imprinted within the serial number or stamped on or near the mast, the year the machine was manufactured will tell you the age of the forklift.
- Service hours
This is actually a compilation of two different types of uses: key hours and dead man-hours, both of which are metered on electric lift trucks. Key hours is the time during which the key was turned on. Representing the motor’s running time, key hours may not be an accurate portrait of the machine’s use as many of the components are not in use when the machine is idle.
Instead, look at the dead man hours. This meter is activated when the operator is standing on the dead man pedal, indicating that the machine is actually being used. When purchasing a used machine, those with part-time use (or less) are best.
- Consider additional options
There are other things that you may want to take into account when reviewing your forklift options. These include truck ergonomics, the various attachments that are available to further customize your forklift, and safety features of the truck.
- Choose a dealer
Make sure you choose your forklift dealer carefully. You will want to find a dealer that has a thorough knowledge of all forklift options and can properly assess your requirements and make appropriate recommendations. Dealers that offer multiple brands are in a better position to recommend the most suitable option.
You will also want to work with a dealer that provides excellent after-sales services and can adapt to continuously changing short-term and long-term needs. Choose a dealer that has been in business for a long time. Find out about their parts inventory policy and their service call response time. Learn about the skill level and the number of technicians. Visit the dealer’s facility and check references. Remember, service after the sale is what will maximize your uptime and your productivity.
- Evaluate your options
If you are not completely sure of which option is right for you, consult with your dealer and consider renting different brands and models to see what actually works best. A good dealer will be able to facilitate this process for you.
I hope the steps above help you to get the perfect forklift for your business.
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