The Process of Buying Forklifts | Atlas Toyota Material Handling
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The Process of Buying Forklifts

Purchasing a forklift should be considered a major investment, not a minor one. There are costs beyond just the initial purchase price you need to consider when deciding what type of forklift brands and models to buy. The buying steps below are presented by us, here at Atlas Toyota Material Handling, to help you start your evaluation process and choose the best forklifts to satisfy your requirements.
forklift side view

Key Considerations: Steps to Buying a Forklift

Step 1: How will you be using the forklift?

Answering this question will help you to start to narrow down your choices and focus on those models that will meet your needs. Key questions you will want to answer include:

  • Where will you use the forklift? Forklifts have different tire configurations when they are used indoors and outdoors. If you will be using it mostly inside, then you want cushioned tires.

On the other hand, if it is used primarily outdoors, then you want pneumatic tires. Pneumatic tires are also necessary for indoor environments where the surfaces are not smooth.

  • What is the maximum weight load you will be moving with the forklift? Forklifts have maximum weight ratings and exceeding this can cause the lift to flip over. You also need to keep in mind that, with normal wear and tear, the forks will not be able to lift the maximum rated weight.

For instance, if the maximum weight you move is 4,000 pounds, you may want to look at a 5,000-pound-rated lift so you can still safely lift 4,000 pounds once the forks start to show signs of wear and tear.

  • What is the maximum lift height you need?
If you are stacking items on top of each other or on shelving, you need to make sure the forks can be raised to the desired height.
forklift rear view

Step 2: Rent the forklift before you buy it.

Renting allows you to test the forklift to verify it does everything you require. You wouldn’t buy fleet vehicles without test driving them, so you do not want to purchase a lift without being able to test it first. Some forklift distributors may also offer a free demo.

Step 3: Purchase similar forklift brands and models.

You will want to purchase the same forklift brands and models. This will make it easier for your forklift operators to move from one lift to another without having to worry about how other brands may function differently or have controls in different locations.

Furthermore, purchasing the same brands makes it easier for your maintenance technicians. Even if you have different models, maintenance procedures will be similar when you stick with the same brand manufacturer, like Toyota.

Step 4: Consider your different fuel options.

There are different types of fuel used to power forklifts, from gasoline, diesel, and liquid propane to hybrid and electric-only models. When deciding on the fuel type, the primary location where the lift will be used needs to be taken into consideration.

For example, gasoline and diesel models can require proper ventilation, so they may not be suited for indoor operations, yet they would be perfect for outdoor usage. If you want a hybrid or electric-only model, then it is worthwhile to check out the latest models from Toyota, as they were the first to develop and bring these types of lifts to market.
forklift operator

Step 5: What type of warranty is included with the forklift?

If you are buying from reputable forklift distributors, there should be some type of warranty offered on new forklifts. Some may even provide limited warranties on used models or certified pre-owned models.

Step 6: What types of accessories are available with the forklift?

You may not initially need all of the accessories offered, but knowing what your options are can be helpful as your needs may change. This way, if you need a different type of attachment down the road, you will know you can get one for your current lift and not have to buy another new forklift.

Step 7: Only buy what you need.

It can be enticing to get a forklift with all the “bells and whistles.” However, if you do not use all of the added features, options, and accessories, you are wasting money. Instead, make a list of items you must have on your forklift and another list of items you would like but which are not necessary.

Then use your list to look at those models that have everything you require. If they include some of the items you would like, but don’t need, then you get these as an added bonus.

Step 8: Decide if you want to purchase a new or used forklift.

Buying new forklifts is not your only option. In some cases, it may not be the best choice for you. Other options you might want to consider are certified pre-owned Toyota forklifts and used forklifts.
forklift top view

Key Considerations: Used Forklifts

If you are considering buying a used forklifts, there some added considerations you will want to review as part of the buying process.

    1. How frequently will the lift be used? If you will only use it for a few hours each day or less, then buying a used one could help save you money. However, if you plan on using the lift for eight hours or more each day, then buying a new one may be the better choice because you could end up spending more in maintenance costs on used lifts.
    2. Who is selling the used lift? You want to make sure you are buying from reputable forklift distributors or qualified resellers. This way, you know the distributor has already inspected the lift and may have already done some reconditioning to it. In addition, it may come with a limited warranty.
    3. How many hours has the lift already been used?This question is important because all forklifts have an anticipated lifespan before they start costing more to keep up than it would be to get a new lift. Once you know how many service hours it has been used, you can determine how many more hours of usefulness are left and whether it would be a good investment.
    4. What is the condition of the tires? If the tires are the original ones and the lift is three years old, you may have to also buy new tires if you purchase the used forklift.
    5. Where was the lift used? If the lift was used both indoors and outdoors, but has cushioned tires, it could cause other problems later on. You will want to verify the lift was used in the proper location and had the right tires.
    6. What is the condition of the safety features? You want to confirm the seatbelt, horn, and other safety features function correctly and are in proper working order.
    7. Can I test the forklift? You will want to test drive the lift and make sure it is a good fit and meets your needs.
    8. Are certified pre-owned or reconditioned models available? Some manufacturers, like Toyota, have programs where authorized Toyota forklift distributors recondition newer used models to original factory specs to resell them as certified pre-owned used models.

This means the entire forklift was given a detailed inspection and all maintenance brought current. Parts, components, and tires may have also been replaced during this process to give a “like-new” lift with minimum noticeable service hours.

operating forklift

Forklifts have set maintenance intervals based upon the number of hours they have been in operation. Part of your buying considerations should also include:

  • Learning how often maintenance needs to be performed.
  • What type needs to be done?
  • How much it costs for the required parts and components needed at each maintenance interval.

In addition, these types of costs need to be monitored and tracked to ensure you are getting the best value out of your forklifts. Once costs start to exceed a predetermined value you set, then you will want to replace the lift.
For further assistance and help selecting the right new or used forklifts for your company, including rentals and certified pre-owned forklifts, please feel free to contact Atlas Toyota Material Handling at 877-438-2719 today!