How to Purchase a Forklift Truck:
Finding the perfect forklift to meet your needs requires special insight if you want to make the right choice. There are always new technologies and ergonomic enhancements hitting the market, so even a minute adjustment can save time for your operators, making them more productive and your whole operation more cost-effective.
There are numerous factors that will have an impact on your long-term costs, including the machine’s power source, its load capacity, how much training your staff will need to operate it and whether you buy new or used.
You can find your perfect machine by systematically searching through the offerings available online, or you can use a reputable dealer. Professional forklift dealers are specialised in identifying the appropriate machinery for an industry’s needs. Other advantages of using a good dealer include local technical support, easy availability of branded parts, service programs for maintenance needs, warranties, customer support and even operator training.
Once you have chosen the right dealer, you need to set about working with them to find your perfect machine. Here are the main factors to consider when making a purchase:
Cost and features:
Forklifts are a sizeable investment, costing tens of thousands of pounds for a new machine. If you’re buying new, it’s vital to get one that meets all your needs and has as many of the latest technological features as possible to future-proof your purchase.
New vs used:
Some businesses will not have the necessary budget to purchase a forklift. In this case, it is still possible to find an excellent machine if you pay close attention to the following criteria:
– Age: The machine’s year of manufacture should be in the serial number, or stamped near the mast. If you want to save some money, you’ll need to search for a machine that’s 5+ years old, and pay close attention to the other considerations.
– Service hours: Focus on the dead man hours; this meter is activated when the dead man pedal is pressed, which is when the machine is truly being used. As a rough guide, a machine in which the hours represent 8 hours a day, 5 days a week has been heavily used. One with half this amount would be preferable.
– Usage history: A forklift that has been used in ‘extreme’ environments is more likely to have suffered wear and tear. Look for machines that have done simpler jobs in the past, like basic warehouse stocking.
– Condition: A professional dealer or forklift mechanic are best placed to assess a machine’s condition. Importantly, you must ensure mast operation is smooth, tires are in good condition, and the engine runs as it should.
Types of Forklift:
When you purchase a forklift the key factors to consider are order pickers, pallet jacks, reach trucks and sit-down rider trucks. All have unique properties and functions, and you should be familiar with them so as to choose which type will best meet your needs. Trusted brands are generally the safest choice; you should do some research into which brands are most reliable.