forklift dealers
By James Brooks - Alaska Brewing warehouse, CC BY 2.0,

In the market to purchase a forklift? If this is your first forklift shopping experience, or if you want to look outside your previous supplier, it’s important to ask the right questions of a forklift dealer before signing on the dotted line.The quickest way to find trusted dealers in your area is to use an online forklift marketplace. This kind of resource helps you narrow down your selection of providers easily and efficiently. Once you have a list of reputable companies in your area, you can choose the best option based on the type of questions below.

Equipment Specifics
The most helpful questions you can ask will have to do with the type of equipment the company carries. This means that you will need to know exactly what type of machine you are looking for as well. If you’re replacing an existing forklift that has reached the end of its productive life, evaluate how that machine performed for you overtime and if there is anything you want different. Was that machine meeting all performance needs? Was the lift capacity appropriate for all the jobs it’s needed? Is there a comparable model you’d like to explore? Do you carry new and used forklifts? If this will be the first forklift for your warehouse, there is plenty of research to conduct on brands and models. But the most important qualities you need to consider are the load capacity, lift height, and type of power. As yourself or your staff:

  • How heavy is the typical product load?
  • How high do they need to be lifted?
  • How wide is the most common aisle space?
  • How many hours will it be needed to be used per day and week?
  • Will it be used primarily indoors or outdoors?

Once you know all the answers to these questions, you can communicate your needs to the dealer and they’ll be able to give you an accurate information on whether they have the type of models you need.

Maintenance and Service
Aside from the actual machine, one of the most important things to factor in when choosing a dealer is the type of maintenance and repair services they provide. The dealer you choose can greatly impact your ability to keep your fleet running smoothly and at the lowest operating costs. The following questions will help you narrow down to dealers who are able to meet your needs.

    • How many certified forklift mechanics do you employ?
    • Do you offer on-site service and what are the hours?
    • What is the approximate response time?
    • What is your average response time if my forklift breaks down?
    • What quantity of parts inventory is kept on site?

 Manual Stackers

Make sure parts are readily available for maintenance and repair. If you have to wait weeks for parts, that’s a huge amount of time wasted. Support is crucial when it comes to selecting a forklift dealer. You’re going to want to make sure they have enough technicians, inventory, and knowledge to keep your fleet running in top shape. This will effect your total ownership cost year over year.
Reputation and Safety
Working with a forklift marketplace will help to ensure that you’re only dealing with reputable dealers. But you still want to be thorough in your vetting process and inquire about the company’s reputation and safety protocols. Don’t be afraid to ask to speak with a customer reference. Past or current customer may be able to give you additional, helpful perspective on their experience with the company. Other questions to ask include:

  • What type of insurance do you carry? This is important in the case that one of their workers get injured while servicing a machine at your facility.
  • How long have you been in business?
  • What exactly is included in quotes provided?

Even if have been using a certain supplier for years, you could be missing out by not obtaining competitive quotes from other dealers. There are many options to consider when purchasing a forklift truck and you may never know what better deals are out there unless you look!

(Operations Manager)

Chris Charles is a 27 year veteran of operations and logistics. Experience included commercial property management and project management for an international shipping company in Maryland.

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