Should I Buy A New or Used Forklift?

by David Mills on January 26, 2017
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Should I buy a new or used forklift?

Given an unlimited budget, who wouldn’t choose a shiny new forklift with the newest technology and all the accessories? But as Mick Jagger famously sang, “you can’t always get what you want…but you might find you get what you need.”

Ah, but therein lies the question. Does your business need a brand-new forklift? Or would a used one work just as well?

When to Buy a Used Forklift

As a general rule, it makes economic sense to buy a used forklift if it will be used less than four hours a day in a single-shift operation. That said: this rule only applies when the used forklift is in good shape.

Choose your used forklift carefully from a trustworthy seller. Buying used equipment from an individual is risky. He or she may have little interest in your business long-term, whereas a dealer has a reputation to maintain. Partner with a certified dealer, and you can expect the vehicle has gone through a thorough inspection and comes with some sort of warranty.

Read more about the advantages of buying a used forklift and Toyota’s 103 point inspection.

When to Buy a New VS. Used Forklift

New forklifts are designed to handle heavy use and come with 12-36 month warranties. If your operation runs multiple shifts, choosing a new machine is a no-brainer.  A new lift truck offers relability, higher-productivity and less down-time.

Other reasons to choose a new forklift include:
  • Needing specialized accessories
  • Unusual mast height requirements
  • Matching others in your fleet
  • A higher tax write-off / accelerated depreciation
Waiting for a used lift truck that matches the exact specifications of your operation can take awhile. While you wait, productivity decreases along with employee morale.

What About Renting or Leasing? If you’re considering a lease, be aware that lease rates are typically higher for used lift trucks than new.  Here are some additional insights on when to rent versus buy a forklift.

One Last Thing…
Many buyers only look at the purchase price when making their decision to buy a forklift, but amount on the invoice isn’t the total cost of ownership.  Consider the availability of parts, maintenance support and turnaround time.

TMH provides 24-hour service, emergency repairs and planned maintenance on all types and brands of forklifts and material handling equipment. You choose your service location - at your facility, or at one of the five TMH branches.

Forklifts For Sale


Topics: New Equipment, Forklift FAQs

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