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Forklift Buying Guide: How to Buy the Right Forklift

It’s no secret that buying a forklift is an important investment for any business. Here at Sunbelt Industrial Trucks, we like to educate our customers as much as possible prior to their purchase. Here are some of the most common questions we’ve been asked, along with their answers!

Should I buy a used forklift or a new forklift?

This is probably the most frequent question we get asked. In short, it depends on your usage rates. If you plan on using the forklift all day, every day, it’s best to go with a brand new forklift. If your lifting needs only call for an hour or two a day, choosing a quality used forklift is your best option.

Your budget also comes into play. While purchasing a new forklift presents a larger upfront cost, it actually can save you money long-term with proper maintenance. On the other hand, if you only plan on needing a forklift for a year or two, a used lift truck will do just fine.

Here is an entire blog post on things to keep in mind when choosing a used forklift.

Should I rent a forklift or buy a forklift?

Ah, the second-most asked question we get. This, like the answer above, depends on usage rate. Will you use it enough to get your money’s worth?

Like any product rental or purchase decision, you have to seriously plan for the future. Don’t tell yourself “Well, if we buy it, we’ll definitely use it.” And then it sits in the corner collecting dust for the next year…

Instead, figure out how often you will need to use the forklift. Do you plan on expanding your inventory or adding new products to your warehouse? If so, purchasing the forklift is definitely a viable option.

If you only need a forklift for a limited time – let’s say a few weeks, renting is your best bet. Just be careful – renting a forklift for a week 10 times during a year (less than once a month) could be more expensive than buying the equipment!

How much does it cost to maintain a forklift?

Like any other piece of heavy equipment, you can expect to spend money on forklift maintenance. Like cars, forklift tires, batteries and more don’t last forever!

Depending on the forklift dealer, you may have a few options when it comes to maintenance. Some dealers offer included maintenance, which is either figured into the sale cost or billed monthly. Another option could be scheduled maintenance appointments, which is like the sticker you get after an oil change with your car. These are suggestions, not commitments, on when to get your forklift serviced.

Other expenses could be lights, fuel, battery charger, tools for simple DIY fixes, oil changes, and more.

The main thing to keep in mind when it comes to forklift maintenance? Regular service will keep your machine running longer and more efficiently. Neglecting maintenance can lead to buying a new forklift, inventory damage, and employee injury.

What forklift attachments do I need?

Forklift forks, buckets, lifting beams, hooks, booms, buckets, clamps, rotators… Don’t feel embarrassed if you’re overwhelmed by the amount of forklift attachment options.

Choosing a forklift extension or attachment depends on what you need to move, and where you need to move it. There are different attachments made specifically to achieve each task.

Whether you need to move 500 pounds across your warehouse or lift 200 pounds 30 feet in the air, our experts can help. Contact us and we’ll help you decide which forklift attachment is perfect for you.

How do I choose which type of forklift tires I need?

The two most basic types of forklift tires are pneumatic tires and cushion tires. Think of these in terms of car tires: cushion tires are like basic tires while pneumatic tires are like all-season or winter tires.

Cushion tires are actually solid rubber, meaning they are not air-filled. These are best for indoor use, especially indoor facilities with smooth, even flooring. Forklift operators enjoy increased maneuverability and find it easier to navigate tight spaces with cushion tires.

Pneumatic tires are air-filled tires, designed to perform on nearly any terrain. Forklifts with pneumatic tires are suitable for outdoor use. They are able to navigate across gravel, cement, grass and more. There are even solid pneumatic tires for environments that could lead to wheel punctures.

Should I buy a gas or electric forklift?

There are advantages and disadvantages for each of these options.

Gas Forklift Advantages: Platinum II UniCarriers Forklift

  • Cheaper upfront cost
  • Ability to use almost non-stop
  • Lift efficiency is greater

Gas Forklift Disadvantages:

  • Gas isn’t cheap!
  • High maintenance costs
  • Emissions can be harmful in tight spaces

Electric Forklift Advantages: UniCarriers TX 3-Wheel Forklift

  • Charging costs less than fuel
  • Eco-friendly with little to no emissions
  • Quiet and efficient in the warehouse

Electric Forklift Disadvantages:

  • Larger upfront cost
  • Forklifts must be charged and cannot be used during charging
  • Not ideal for extreme outdoor use

Does it matter where I buy my forklift from?

Would you trust Joey Bag Of Donuts to sell you a car? Then why would you trust him to sell you a forklift?!

First off, find a forklift dealer who can answer the questions in this article. Did they talk about their general maintenance schedule and help you choose the right attachments? Or did they simply try to sell you the newest forklift on the lot for the most money?

There are many certifications and training classes forklift dealers can undergo to prove their value to customers. They can even become a certified dealer for a specific brand or brands, meaning their team has great experience working with that specific manufacturer.

Be sure to ask about their customer support and service levels. Will they be available 24/7? Forklift issues can occur at any time and you need a dealer who will be there to support you.

Some forklift dealers offer financing options to help customers afford the equipment they need. An extra step like this can go a long way when a customer is making a buying decision.

When Do You Need Forklift Service? 5 Tips!

Forklifts and industrial lift trucks are powerful machines that bring productivity and efficiency to any warehouse or facility. They simply achieve tasks that humans alone cannot perform. As a result, warehouse managers and facility owners must take great care of their forklifts. Forklifts should be treated as any other investment – you don’t waste money on anything else; why forklifts?!

Forklift service and repair can keep your machines running smoothly. This will save you money by not having to purchase either replacement parts, or in some cases, new forklifts altogether! Don’t let your forklifts go to waste and schedule an industrial truck service appointment when you notice these five signs:

Safety Issues

ANY time a forklift either creates or is involved with a safety issue in your warehouse, it is time to schedule forklift service. Your company is a greater risk of losing an extreme amount of money if your forklift malfunctions again. How?

OSHA – OSHA will implement severe fines if no action is taken following an equipment safety issue. The fine amount depends on your previous interactions with OSHA.

Employee Safety – If OSHA or the employee can prove negligence on your part (not properly caring for your forklift for example), you’re on the hook for any employee disability and lost wages.

Inventory Loss – Accidents are likely to injure more than employees. Think about all the inventory you have in the warehouse. Now think about how much money you’ll lose if even a small percentage of it is damaged!

There’s a reason we listed safety as the number one reason. As always, safety comes first. Don’t put your employees and inventory at risk and schedule a forklift service appointment today!

Poor Performance

There are a few tell-tale signs that your forklift is underperforming. Rather than simply blame the equipment for being old, a simple industrial truck service repair could whip your forklift into shape. Again, would you rather spend a small sum of money on a quick forklift repair, or keep waiting until it’s time for a new forklift?

Maneuverability – It’s quite obvious that the handling of a forklift is one of the top concerns in a warehouse, especially in crowded, small spaces. Can your employees properly maneuver the forklift where it needs to go? Be sure to check the steering and be on the lookout for unnecessary skidding.

Power – Can your forklift lift as much as it used to? Are you taking more trips to carry material throughout the warehouse? A forklift service repair can identify power issues and a quick fix can bring those former levels of productivity back to you – saving time and money!

Speed – Efficiency can also save you time and money. While all safety precautions should ALWAYS be followed, forklifts are machines that are meant to, well, go! Resulting tuneups from an industrial truck service appointment can bring increased speed to your machine that allows you to get jobs done quicker.

Odd Sounds & Smells

What is that smell? Odds are, it’s not something you can just ignore. Certified technicians have years of experience with forklifts. They’ve seen it all and smelled it all. A quick forklift service can identify what’s causing those smells and ensure your warehouse is safe.

Interesting sounds coming from your forklift should be treated the same way. Grinding, cracking, screeching noises are not normal and should be checked as soon as possible.

Leaks or Cracks

Think about your car. If something was leaking for your car, would you completely ignore it? Would you let your spouse, children, or pets anywhere near that spillage?

Then why do you let your employees work in a warehouse while your forklift is leaking? Why do you let your employees operate machinery that is cracked?

Even electric forklifts, which don’t consume gas, have fluids inside for high performance. Lubricants, hydraulic fluids and more all have the possibility of exiting the forklift. Many times, these liquids are unsafe to inhale or consume. Not to mention the fact that liquids make the floor slippery, increasing the chance of an accident.

It’s Time!

Hopefully, you are saying to yourself right now: “I haven’t seen any of those issues.” That’s great and probably a result of well-maintained equipment.

But you’re not done!

Like your car or any other industrial equipment, forklifts should be regularly maintained. OSHA requires industrial lift trucks to be inspected and tested every so often. Be sure to check your equipment and find the regulations.

These scheduled maintenance appointments may seem like a waste of time, but in the long run are anything but a waste.

Heavy Equipment & Forklift Rentals from Sunbelt Industrial Trucks

Renting a forklift is a huge decision. These are heavy pieces of machinery that can accomplish the tasks of dozens of workers in just seconds. Forklift rentals must be treated appropriately as they are costly heavy equipment. See if renting a forklift is right for you!

Forklift Rental Process at Sunbelt

We understand that certain projects and certain budgets require your company to rent a forklift rather than purchase one. And that’s completely fine! That’s why we try to make it as easy as possible to explore heavy equipment and forklift rentals with Sunbelt Industrial. UniCarriers QX 4-Wheel Forklift for Sale or Rent

First off, we stand behind a guarantee that all of our forklift rentals meet all safety and OSHA standards. Whether you’re renting for a few hours or an entire month, any equipment rental from Sunbelt will be fully functional and extremely safe to use. Forklift safety is our top priority and we will never compromise your employees or inventory.

Our team will help you decide which forklift rental is perfect for your job. They are industry experts – being forklift certified – who have experience with every piece of heavy equipment we own. Whether you need a forklift indoors or out, to carry 200 pounds or 2,000 pounds, Sunbelt is sure to give you the best possible forklift rental.

Sunbelt also will deliver your rental directly to your facility. We guarantee an on-time delivery because we know you’re renting to get a job done quickly. Depending on the length of time you need a forklift, Sunbelt also provides regular maintenance to our equipment. This ensures the safety and productivity of any equipment rental.

Forklift Rentals in Texas

There’s a reason Sunbelt has become the industry leader when it comes to forklift rentals in Texas, specifically the northeast region. Our centralized Dallas location gives us perfect access to the Fort Worth area. This allows us to provide equipment rentals from Sherman to Arlington, Belton to Irving, and beyond.

Benefits of Renting a Forklift

There are many benefits of renting a forklift from Sunbelt. The most obvious is cost. If your company only needs a forklift once a year or so, it makes financial sense to rent rather than purchase a new forklift. Plus, forklift rentals require little to no maintenance fees while owning a forklift can lead to costly repairs. With no requirements on rental time, you only pay for the equipment rental for the time you need it!

Another great benefit of renting a forklift is the ability to test out the equipment before buying. If your forklift operators are satisfied with the equipment (think handling, comfort, productivity, etc…) then you can make an easier decision to purchase or not.

Forklift rentals also don’t use up valuable warehouse and storage space when they’re not in use. No matter your facility, who can really afford to waste space on something they rarely use? Plus, you can choose different models of forklifts for different jobs. The flexibility that renting presents, at an affordable price, is sometimes a better option than purchasing.

If you have any questions about forklift rentals in Texas or would like more information, please contact Sunbelt today! You (and your budget) will be happy you did!