Forklift Sales 101
1: How heavy and what size are your typical loads?
It’s important to consider all loads which will need to be transported and carried now and in the not to distant future. Although generally you don’t want to purchase a forklift with more capacity then you need (as higher capacity equals a higher purchase price), you need to allow for a lift capacity that will safely carry all loads on your site.
Also to be considered is how high loads need to be lifted as forklift capacity reduces the higher we lift. As most standard forklifts are designed for carrying Australian sized 1200mm x 1200mm pallets, will the width of your loads require a special type of machine or attachment to be used? The load capacity will also affect the type and fuel type of forklift needed.
ie: Loads of up to or greater than 2000kgs will usually rule out the use of electric forklifts.
2: How high do you need to lift the load?
Do you foresee storage space becoming a problem in the future and need to be able to store goods at high levels? Is there a mezzanine or high level area you need to stack onto? On the flip side, what is the lowest doorway or beam you will need the forklift to fit under and do you need forklift with a small enough mast to fit into shipping containers?
3: Will you be using it indoors, outdoors, or both?
The surface areas of your worksite, will determine what types of forklift and configuration you need. For example, high reach or reach forklifts will usually only be suitable for perfectly flat dry surfaces and indoor use.
Most standard, sit down (counter balance) forklifts are more flexible and can be used on flat to not so flat surfaces both indoors and outdoors. If your worksite has rough and unstable surfaces that need to be driven over, you may require 4×4 (all terrain type) forklift.
The surface will also determine the type of tyres which are needed.
Forklifts which are used outdoors will need tyres with some sort of tread pattern to ensure they maintain grip in wet weather. Forklifts which are mostly used inside are commonly fitted with non marking type tyres as the standard tyres leave black marks and rubber on the surface.
Another factor which needs to be considered with indoor use is harmful exhaust fumes.
Of the four basic fuel types available in forklifts: Petrol, Diesel, Battery Electric & LPG, only the last two are suitable for indoor use. Petrol and Diesel engines produce poisonous exhaust fumes and aren’t suitable for use in confined spaces.
4: How much room do you have to manoeuvre? How wide are your narrowest aisles?
If the forklift is mainly going to be used indoors, then manoeuvrability is a major consideration. (So are exhaust emissions!) How tightly does it turn? How much physical space does it occupy? Does your worksite require forklifts to be operated in confined areas where space for manoeuvring is limited?
Where pallet racking is used, do you require narrow aisles so that more racking bays and stock can be stored? Are there certain areas where a loaded forklift may struggle to drive through?
5: How many hours per day will it be used?
How much usage your forklift will get, greatly affects the age and fuel type of machine that’s recommended. If you will use a forklift less than 4 hours a day, we recommend considering a second hand reconditioned forklift. Here you can save 50% or more on the initial outlay.
For more than 4 hours a day new or leased forklifts can work out cheaper once maintenance and repairs are factored in. If you require a forklift to run all day, everyday then LPG is usually the best option as empty bottles can quickly be changed.
6: Lease/rent or buy, New or Used?
Here the type of machine needed, the amount of use and your budget are the main deciding factors. Some forklifts require large initial outlays to purchase new yet can be rented for a fraction of the price. Business’s that require their forklifts to be used 24/7 usually find renting a much better option as servicing and maintenance costs are covered by the owner under most rent/lease agreements.
Other business’s where the forklifts get little use find it cheaper to buy a second hand forklift outright instead of paying rent each week or month. Obviously new forklifts require less maintenance and are usually more reliable than older ones. They also have the advantage of dealership warrantee which is attractive to some buyers.