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Forklift Buyer's Guide

New versus Used


When purchasing a new or used forklift truck, one of the first items to consider is how many hours per day the forklift will be used. The accepted rule in the material handling industry is that if the forklift will be used more than four hours per day and/or more than five days per week, you should purchase a new forklift. This much usage indicates that a forklift truck is a necessary item critical to the material handling logistics of the company's business.

Typically, a lift truck used this often justifies paying the considerably higher initial price of a new forklift. The rationale is that a longer manufacturer's warranty and dealer service will offset the expected higher maintenance and repair costs associated with a used or reconditioned forklift. This is a valid point to consider when either a new or used forklift will be run for this many hours per week.

However, if the forklift(s) are not utilized more than four hours per day and/or less than five days per week, a substantial savings can be realized on the initial purchase price of a used or reconditioned forklift. Less usage should equate to less wear and tear on the equipment and will result in lower expenditures for maintenance, parts and repairs. Frequent lubrication with oil and filter changes will extend the useful life of any equipment, new or used.

A new forklift can be optioned out with accessories that can increase production and provide added functionality specific to your workplace. These options may cause delay if the manufacturer needs to build to order plus tranportation time to the dealer. A used forklift in stock would have quicker availability, but may not have all the features or options you need.

Unless you are a qualified forklift mechanic or can hire a mechanic to do an inspection on a potential purchase, you should buy forklifts or industrial lift trucks from reputable material handling equipment dealers. They can provide you with a professional assessment of your material handling equipment needs. A dealer can also make recommendations regarding the purchase, lease or rental of new, used or reconditioned forklifts. A reputable dealer can provide service after the sale with preventive maintenance programs and warranty service. It is advisable to do comparative shopping with two or more dealers if possible.

Ultimately, the total cost of ownership involves significantly more than the initial purchase price of the forklift. Depreciation, maintenance and parts/repair costs plus the resale and/or trade-in value when the equipment is replaced are all factors.





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