Forklift Buyers Guide | Lift Truck Buyers Guide

by Scott McLeod

A list of the Top 10 forklift buying tips for anyone wanting to purchase a forklift / lift truck.

  1. Never assume that you know the weights or measurements that relate to your products or facility without verifying that they are accurate.
  2. Never ask the dealer to quote on a particular product or service without first asking the dealer for their recommendations after they have had a chance to survey your facility. Various forklift options that are available from the manufacturer or dealer can make the world of difference to the operator and to the total cost of ownership over the truck’s life. Only an experienced forklift professional can properly evaluate and recommend these options.
  3. Never assume that an older forklift with a particular capacity can be replaced with a newer forklift of the same capacity. The gross chassis capacity is seldom the actual net lifting capacity of the forklift at full lifting height, particularly if there is an attachment installed. So, when you ask the dealer to bid on a 5,000 lb capacity forklift, for example, the actual lifting capacity will usually be something less than 5,000 lbs at full lifting height. In some cases this drop in capacity at full lifting height can be significant. Adding attachments to a forklift can also affect a truck’s rated capacity. There are other factors that affect capacity and only an experienced forklift professional can watch out for these small but critical details.
  4. Always evaluate new technology and ideas before replacing current equipment with the same type of product, ie consider electric forklift technology as an example.
  5. Always evaluate whether it is less expensive to rent forklifts long term ( ie 12 months or longer ), lease forklifts or buy forklifts on every new or used lift truck acquisition.
  6. Never assume that you need to acquire another forklift when your staff is telling you they can’t keep up using the forklifts they have. Find an experienced and professional forklift fleet management consultant that understands the specifications of the forklift truck and your application. They can help you analyse your forklift fleet to determine the right quantity and mix of lift trucks that will give you the best possible return on your investment without adversely affecting productivity.
  7. Never acquire forklifts on a repeat basis from your existing supplier without first obtaining competitive bids. There are many options to consider in this regard.
  8. Never acquire a forklift without first understanding your after-the-sale costs for items such as labour rates, travel time, shop supplies, fuel surcharges, environmental waste oil and filter disposal charges, parts pricing, planned maintenance program details, operator and / or instructor training costs and short term rental costs. You will also want to consider various other items such as technician proximity to your location, technician response time, policies on after hours service and the possible overtime charges that may apply, technician training and tools on board their van, dealership reputation and financial strength, the dealer’s service invoicing system etc. The list can be long but it is better to ask the hard questions and obtain the dealers commitment on those issues that are important to you before you sign on the dotted line.
  9. Know how you will track and control all forklift maintenance costs after the purchase. Ignoring this aspect of cost control will cost your company thousands of unnecessary profit dollars.
  10. Keep in mind that a forklift is only a glorified fulcrum or teeter totter when broken down into it’s basic components. However, choosing the wrong forklift driven by an untrained operator handling loads that are not within the rated capacity of the forklift can be a recipe for disaster and the source of significant company liability, not to mention how an accident resulting in injury would weigh on a person’s conscience. Take the time to choose the right forklift that will be safe for all involved.

Posted in: New Forklifts, Used Forklifts