Forklift Buying Tips
There is much to consider when buying a forklift. Choosing the right machine can have a tremendous impact on everything from operating costs and productivity to employee morale and downtime.
The following is a brief listing of things to consider when seaarching for a new or used forklift. Your Williams Machinery sales consultant can help you find the option that is best suited for your organization.
Step 1: Identify your requirements
- How heavy and what size are your typical loads (3,000 to 35,000 lbs. or more)?
- How high do you need to lift the load?
- Will you be using it indoors, outdoors or both?
- How much room do you have to maneuver? How wide are your narrowest aisles?
- How many hours per day will it be used?
Step2: New vs used
If you think the forklift will be used more than four hours per day, you probably want to buy new.
Step 3: Fuel options
Electric forklfits are powered by large batteries that typically last for an eight-hour shift. These models are best for indoor applications because they produce no emissions. Though their acquisition costs are typically higher, they have lower operating costs. They are quieter, there are no requirements for fuel storage and they have fewer moving parts so tend to have a longer life span. On the downside, they must be recharged, which may require battery recharging stations and can take about eight hours, with another eight hours required for cooling. Recent innovations include fast-charge technologies which can significantly reduce charging time. Operations with two or three shifts will need to stock extra batteries. Electric forklifts are not suited for outdoor use and cannot be used in the rain.
Internal combustion engine forklifts may run on gasoline, diesel, liquid propane (LPG) or liquid natural gas (LNG). They are less expensive to purchase, but their operations costs are higher due to fuel costs and the installation of refueling stations if required. However, they can be refueled easily at on-site fueling stations or with on-hand LPG or LNG canisters. An inernal combustion forklift will be required for loads over 15,000 lbs and generally has better acceleration and speed.
Step 4: Tire choice
Forklifts come with cushion tires, which are made of solid rubber, pneumatic tires, which are inflated, or solid pneumatic tires, which are combination of the two. Cushion tires are best used for interior usage while pneumatic tires work better outside. Solid pneumatic tires are best for hazardous conditions where there is a high risk or regular tires being popped by sharp objects or rough terrain.
Step 5: Consider additional options
There are other things that you may want to take into account when reviewing your forklift options. These include truck ergonomics, the various attachments that are available to further customize your forklift, and safety features of the truck.
Step 6: Choose a dealer
Make sure you choose your forklift dealer carefully. You will want to find a dealer than can offer thorough knowledge of all forklfit options and can properly assess your requirements and make appriopriate recommendations. Dealers that offer multiple brands are in a better position to recommend the most suitable option.
You will also want to work with a dealer that provides excellent after sales service and can adapt to continously changing short and long term needs. Choose a dealer that has been in business for a long time. Fint out about their parts inventory policy and their service call response time. Learn about the skill level and number of their technicians. Visit the dealer's facility and check references. Remember, service after the sale is what will maximize your uptime and your productivity.
Step 7: Evaluate your options
If you are not completely sure of which option is right for you, consult with your dealer and consider renting different brands and models to see what actually works best. A good dealer will be able to facilitate this process for you.
Whether you are an experienced or novice forklift buyer, contact a Williams Machinery sales consultant. We can help you every step of the way.