Is a new or used forklift in the cards for your business in 2020? Your material handling equipment will be an integral part of your operation for many years to come, so plan carefully. Here’s what to consider when buying a forklift in 2020 — to ensure it fits your needs now and in the future.
1. Figure Out Your Usage
The features of forklifts vary by model and manufacturer. In order to determine what kind of forklift is right for your needs, you need to first identify how you will use it.
Think about your current usage requirements:
- How many hours will it be used each day? How often will it be used?
- Will the terrain be rough or smooth?
- What will the forklift be doing? Will it be picking heavy items off high shelving or moving loads outside?
- Will extreme heat or cold be part of the forklift’s environment?
- Are there any size restrictions like narrow aisles or low doorways you need to consider?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you — and your forklift dealer — find the model that’s right for your business.
Don’t forget to consider your future requirements as your business changes and grows. Will the forklift be handling the same kinds of tasks in three to five years?
2. Decide Whether New or Used is For You
Choosing a new or used forklift is a big decision to make. The answer will depend on a number of factors unique to your business.
New forklifts require a large upfront investment; however, they come with warranties covering a range of problems that can save on maintenance and repair costs. Plus, new forklifts — especially those from reliable manufacturers like Hyundai — are of the highest quality.
Used forklifts, on the other hand, have a considerably lower upfront cost. However, they may require additional repairs and maintenance depending on the quality you get. If you decide to purchase a used forklift, be sure to go with a reputable forklift dealer that is familiar with the history of the vehicle they are selling you — like PMHSI.
3. Consider Load Capacity and Height
The load capacity is how much weight the vehicle can lift. If you’re doing outdoor construction, you will need a higher load capacity than if you’re moving boxes in a warehouse, for example. When reviewing the load capacity, choose one that is higher than the maximum you anticipate needing — both now and in the future.
The height the forklift can reach is also a critical factor in deciding which kind of forklift to purchase. This will also depend on the way you use your forklift. Make sure the height capacity is greater than the maximum you will need for your business.
4. Look at Your Total Cost of Ownership
The upfront price you pay for your forklift is not all that you have to plan for. Like most business expenses, there will be additional costs of ownership.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind when purchasing a forklift in 2020:
- Regular maintenance costs
- Repairs for any issues you may come across
- Fuel costs
- Battery purchases and charging stations
- Operator training costs
These expenses and more can add up quickly. Before you make your forklift purchase, be sure to allocate your additional expenses to maintaining and repairing your material handling equipment.
Keep in mind that not all maintenance and repair vendors are the same. Be sure to work with one that reduces your downtime and increases your efficiency so you can meet your targets.
5. Don’t Forget Employee Training
When you’ve invested in a high-quality forklift, you don’t want just anyone to drive it. Operator errors can lead to additional repairs your company may have to deal with. Forklifts can be dangerous if operated incorrectly, causing serious injuries, OSHA violations and employee litigation.
It’s best to ensure all your forklift operators have the proper training they need to handle the equipment. This way, your business can ensure your shipping and delivery teams meet targets and generate greater profits for the company.
Consider working with a forklift dealer that can offer your employees the training they need to properly drive your material handling equipment. At PMHSI, our forklift operator training includes:
- Instruction from a certified professional
- Forklift safety videos
- Operator training ID cards
- Coverage of all forklift classes, I - V
- Hands-on operator evaluations
6. Always Work with a Reliable Forklift Dealer
The most important decision you can make when purchasing a forklift is choosing the right dealer. It’s critical to work with a reputable, experienced and reliable forklift dealer who can help find the best equipment for your business — not sell something you don’t need.
When choosing your forklift dealer, consider these questions:
- Do they have a strong track record of helping businesses like yours?
- Do they offer maintenance and repair services?
- Are they familiar with the history of all their vehicles, new and used?
- Do they have parts available when you need them so you don’t increase downtime?
- Do they keep you up to date on matters related to your vehicle with detailed records?
- Do they track metrics about your forklifts and provide you with recommendations to increase your overall productivity?
A reputable dealer can help make sure you’re buying the right forklift.
On the other hand, an unreliable and inexperienced dealer can sell you something that is of poor quality and not help you maintain it.
At PMHSI, we know forklifts inside and out. That’s why we’re one of the leading forklift dealers in the industry, having helped many businesses find the right material handling equipment. We only carry manufacturers we trust, like Hyundai, Yale, Nissan, Caterpillar, Toyota, Raymond, Crown and Hyster.