Tradeoffs Made To Buy Used Forklifts

When it comes time to flip your forklift fleet for newer models, then the question arises, “Should I buy used or new?”

Of course, the benefit of buying used lifts is the savings. A new standard capacity forklift will cost you between $15,000 and $30,000. If you take the lift’s capacity into account, it may cost more. For example, a 10,000-pound capacity lift will cost between $30,000 and $45,000. A 35,000-pound capacity lift could cost as much as $100,000. If you decide to go with an electric forklift, then add another $2,500 to $5,000 for the purchase of a battery and charger.

So your old faithful has done its last job and it’s time to move on to a new or used forklift.

On the other hand, a used, re-conditioned 3,000-pound capacity electric forklift might cost between $5,000 and $10,000. A used internal combustion lift with a capacity of 5,000-pounds may be had for $10,000 to $15,000.

Cost considerations don’t end there. There are also operating costs and maintenance costs per year. Operating costs for one year based on a 250 day work week and two shifts per day is abo

ut $1,500 to $2,000 for an electric forklift; $12,000 to $15,000 for a diesel forklift, and $10,000 to $12,500 per year for a propane-powered lift.

Maintenance costs based on about 2,500 hours of operation a year might cost you around $500 for an electric lift and $1,500 for an internal combustion lift.

As you can see, buying a fleet of new lifts regardless of whether it is electric or internal combustion can cost a king’s ransom. Of course, you don’t have to buy your fleet all at one time. You can buy one or two at a time and retire one or two lifts from your fleet until you finally have an entirely new fleet. Still, you can see that there is a savings advantage for used models.

It is not uncommon to opt for used forklifts if the workload looks something like this.

• The forklift is used on a single daily shift.
• The lift is used no more than five days a week.
• The lift is used no more than five hours a day.
• The lift is not used in a heavy, non-stop environment.

Where To Buy Used Forklifts

You can buy used forklifts from an individual, a forklift fleet owner, used forklift dealer, or a certified used forklift dealer.

Finding the right forklift for your growing business is never easy. Investments are not snap decisions

Buying used forklifts from an individual can be a risky endeavor. First, the person has no accountability. He doesn’t have to worry about a negative mark on the reputation of a business. Moreover, if the individual has not built up a reputation of selling forklifts, then if something goes terribly wrong, then achieving a fair settlement from the court system may be impossible.

Forklift fleet owners are a great source for buying used lifts. The owner is aware of the value of the lift so he has taken time and care to maintain it properly. Moreover, you can get a good idea of what the lift has been through when you observe and ask questions about their business.

Used forklift dealers are another great alternative. These dealers are not associated to any particular brand and have built up its reputation by selling repos, used and off-lease forklifts. Many of these dealers can be found online and have national coverage. In addition, these dealers offer nearly the same advantages as a manufacturer’s dealer while not limiting you to just one brand.

Certified used forklift dealers represent one brand and sells used forklifts built by that brand that have been refurbished. In many cases, these dealers will offer some type of warranty. In addition, a dealer who offers certified used lifts from one brand has access to the parts you need when repairs become necessary. They also are experienced in maintaining the lifts.

How To Inspect Lifts Before Buying

When you are ready and actually go out to buy a used forklift, it may be a good idea to bring a forklift operator from your business with you. The operator knows how a forklift is supposed to ride and he is well aware of what can go wrong with a lift and can spot the things that can cause problems.

You and the forklift operator should carefully inspect the unit including:

• Mast operation including with and without a load.
• Ensure that the lift operates smoothly.
• Check for leaks.
• Check the tires.
• Have a certified mechanic inspect the lift.


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