What You Need To Know About Buying a Forklift

by Tom Salata on March 1, 2018
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what you don't know about buying a forkliftRecently I found myself in the market for a new vehicle. When you sell industrial equipment for a living, buying a car is an eye-opening experience. On the car lot, there are (what I call) vultures, hovering around ready to dive in and hook the prey:

“Look how nice, smell the new car smell, take it for a ride, show me your license, complete this paperwork, sign here..." They get you so flustered you don’t know if you’re coming or going.

When buying a forklift, it’s a whole different approach. Sure, a forklift has four wheels, an engine, and transmission like a passenger vehicle.  But when you think about it, a forklift is an engineering marvel built around a considerable amount of rules and regulations to ensure it’s safe for the operator and capable of doing the job.

I see my role as an industrial equipment specialist to build a forklift around the your products and requirements. This starts by asking the right questions, things you might not have thought of...

 Key Questions to Ask Before Buying a Forklift

  • Fuel type: LPG, gas, diesel, or electric - do you need to be EPA compliant?
  • Where will it be used - are you moving product indoors, outdoors, or both?
  • How high are you lifting your pallets - the higher the mast goes, the less you can lift.
  • Attachments: side-shifters, single-doubles, clamps, push-pulls, bin dumpers - attachments give your lift truck superpowers, but they affect the forklift’s overall capacity. 
  • The overall size of the material - most forklift capacities are determined by the load center of the product.
  • Safety features: fork leveling, seat belts, speed control, lights, back up alarms - when is a clamp release interlock required?

The list goes on and on: operating sensors, ANSI B56.1 overhead guard certification, LP fueling, radiator screens, battery maintenance, etc. Did you know not all forklifts are UL approved? Look for the safety labels required on the lifts!

At TMH, it's our job to know your job so we can determine what equipment is best for your operation. We’re here to help you choose the proper equipment for the application in the safest way.

A good equipment rep stays up with the latest regulations and how they affect current accounts. We all have customers that lease equipment and want the same features as the last lifts they used. Would that make things easy for us? Yes, but with the ever-changing regulations and safety requirements, it’s always best to double check and continue to earn the customer’s business by verifying whether the loads are the same, did that previous forklift work the way you expected, etc.

Circling back to the car buying experience: it's always a buyer beware situation when it comes to pricing.  I recently worked with a customer who received three different quotes for a forklift:

Brand X forklift was $7,000 below our quote. Why the big price difference? Come to find out Brand X was providing a quote for a forklift that was a private label straight from China.  Although a $7,000 savings looked great up front, the customer realized the large discrepancies from Brand X wouldn’t fit with their demanding needs. 

Brand Y was $800 cheaper than Toyota, but the cost difference disappeared once Toyota’s standard safety features were taken into account. With Brand Y, safety features were an additional cost.  Even though Brand Y was close in price, once TMH’s aftermarket service was taken into account, the customer chose Toyota.

Questions smart buyers askWe recently created a Guide to Purchasing a New Forklift to help customers choose the right lift truck for their operation. You can download the guide for free, or just contact us online or by phone with any questions you may have.

East Bay - Livermore (510) 675-0500
Fresno (559) 834-9500
Sacramento (916) 376-0500
Salinas (831) 757-1091

TMH is a family-owned company that believes our customers are the key to our success. We’d like the opportunity to earn your business.

 

Forklift Buyer's Guide

Topics: New Equipment

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