USED FORKLIFTS: ECONOMICS, OPTIONS, SOURCES AND CAUTIONS
More than for any other piece of machinery used in modern business, decisions about forklift acquisitions demand careful analysis by the company management team. In the process of production planning and financial projections, the questions that should be asked about forklift acquisitions are: what kind, how many, life span, rotation, new, used, etc? The right decision up front can save a company a great deal of money, efficiency and productivity. Involvement of all levels of management and operations is essential, right down to the operators and mechanics. Strong arguments can be made in favor of new forklifts as well as for used forklifts. In many cases, good arguments can be made for having a combination of both new and used forklifts. Good management will include decisions about short and long-range equipment rotation that involves both new and used forklifts. Often, in companies that have seasonal bumps in productivity, a decision about leasing equipment enters the mix. However, for purposes of this discussion, let’s assume that a part of the overall equipment planning includes the purchase of used equipment. What are some of the factors to consider?
Obviously, the decision to exercise the option of purchasing a used forklift is an economic decision that assumes that the used forklift is in proper working condition. Your initial consideration, then, should be to determine how much usage the forklift has gone through. No forklift will last forever, but the secret is not to just look at the age of the vehicle. Age is certainly an important factor, but the amount of usage on the forklift is more important because use equates with wear and tear. Ascertaining how much work – and what type of work – the forklift has performed in the past plays an important part in its overall operational capabilities and life expectancy. This means that it is important to purchase your used forklift from a company that has maintained some kind of use and maintenance log of its operational life. Was it used solely indoors in a warehouse? How heavy were its normal loads during its previous work life? How was it maintained? Ascertaining how much work – and what type of work – the forklift has performed will certainly give you a clue to its operational capabilities and life expectancy.
In order to be sure of the used forklift’s past history, it is best to buy your used product from a company that stands by its reputation. The quality of a used forklift, if bought from a reputed company will be as good as a new one. Reputable companies employ repair and maintenance experts. These professionals repair and service the machinery so that it reaches you in good condition. They will ensure that the used forklifts are properly functional and work perfectly. Thus, you will get a properly functioning forklift at almost half the price of a new one. So another caveat when purchasing used machinery is to get one with a guarantee from a company that also offers emergency and fast service.
Your next question is, how do I find a reputable company that is selling equipment that is not outdated, nor forklifts that have been abused or neglected in their previous work life? It is generally recommended that the safer decision is to buy locally, but after first doing your homework by conducting an internet search for typical used machines on the market. Once you know what is selling and at what cost, you can start with local dealerships that are known for the quality of their products. Be careful of buying from companies that are liquidating because you could be inheriting someone else’s problems and end up purchasing a forklift that is outdated or that breaks down on you every time you try and use it.
If you are augmenting your fleet of new machines with used forklifts, it is recommended to buy the same brand of used forklift as your new machines. That way, you can deal with the same maintenance and parts crew for both the new and used machinery.
Be sure to check out the required safety equipment when examining your prospective used machine. Sometimes attention is only placed on the operational, performance and productivity aspects of the vehicle while overlooking the effectiveness of the safety features. Bringing along a company operator to perform a test drive which includes a few basic high and low tasks is recommended.
Reputable local used forklift establishments or dealers, when they acquire used equipment in a trade-in or purchase, make sure that what you are buying is a quality used machine. To achieve that end, their expert technicians refurbish each piece of used equipment that comes onto their lot. They don’t want you buying someone else’s junk and they don’t want to sell junk forklifts either. Good companies, if the type of forklift you need isn’t available on their lot, will source it from the connections they have throughout the region. When they find it, the used forklift will be overhauled before it is sold to you so you can depend on it to do the job you are buying it for.
Remember also that transporting a forklift to your warehouse or other location can prove costly. Buying from or through a company that includes or arranges delivery can help to keep these costs down significantly. If they offer free delivery then that’s even better and is a consideration that is well worth taking into account when calculating and comparing prices. Buying used forklifts means that you can get more for your money in terms of features than you would if you spent the same amount buying a new forklift. By purchasing through the right company you can enjoy peace of mind that you are buying a top quality piece of machinery that will not break down as soon as you take delivery.