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Why choose a new forklift over a used one?

Is your business looking to invest in a forklift truck, or expand its current fleet of vehicles? Either way, working out which type of forklift to buy, and how much money to spend, can pose quite a challenge due to the sheer number and range of trucks now available on the market.

One of the major dilemmas for most companies is whether to take the plunge and purchase a brand new forklift or to take on the risk of buying a used one. There can be benefits and drawbacks to both, and so it is important to reflect on all known factors carefully before signing off on such a substantial spend.

The three main aspects to consider when purchasing a forklift truck are your budget, the type of work to be done, and your company’s specific requirements.

New vs used – which is the best value?

For many companies, the most likely factor to be prioritised is price. This is true not just when considering the type of forklift you’re buying, or its make or model or power, but also whether or not that forklift is new or second hand.

On face value, a used forklift may seem like the better value deal, as most vehicles automatically lose resale value as soon as they’re put into operation, no matter how good condition they remain in, or how well they are maintained.

However, a closer examination of that investment is required to properly understand its value, because the true cost of a vehicle must be calculated by adding up the amount you spend over the vehicle’s lifetime.

So, while a used forklift is going to be much cheaper to buy than a new one, and in fact can cost as little as half the price of a brand new one, its actual cost can work out to be higher in the long term.

This is because forklift trucks are pieces of complex machinery, and require a substantial amount of care and maintenance over the period they are in use. If you buy a second-hand forklift which needs a lot of maintenance and repair you must factor in those bills, as well as the time it is taken out from the fleet while the vehicle is being worked on.

Even if you buy your used forklift from the most reputable supplier, its components will be worn in some way, and parts of a used forklift will likely need replacing during its lifetime. Parts for older models may be difficult to source, or expensive. Good quality ones that will last long enough to be economical in the long term can be even harder to track down. In the worst-case scenario, you could end up purchasing two used forklifts over the same time period of time that one brand new one would have covered, while also having to factor in the extra costs of sourcing that replacement used truck, plus the necessary downtime between purchasing a second vehicle, or hiring one to cover the workload while you search.

If you do choose to buy a used forklift, you must ensure you spend enough time on choosing the right model to make it cost-effective. You’ll need to take into account both the quality of the truck and the condition of any parts that have been repaired or replaced over the lifespan of that vehicle.

Therefore, while anyone can compare prices, to properly evaluate the pros and cons of your purchase you’ll need to have the expertise to be able to recognise the optimal condition of a used forklift. This knowledge could make the difference between making a great investment for your business and making what turns out to be an extremely costly mistake.

On the other hand, sourcing a good value, brand new forklift is much simpler. Ongoing maintenance requirements are generally much lower, with the most recent models employing the best new technology to ensure required servicing is kept to a minimum. The brakes, suspension, tyres and lift will all arrive in pristine condition, with no hidden surprises. If in future any parts need to be replaced, sourcing them for a newer model will be easier, and installation is usually simpler.

New models are often more efficient when it comes to fuel, as well as allowing your employees to work more efficiently, which can also help lower your business costs and increase your profits. For example, electric forklifts have already proven themselves to be more efficient when it comes to fuel costs compared with gas and diesel-powered vehicles, and now the newest technology behind high-frequency chargers makes the batteries faster to charge, more efficient in use, and less costly to install.

Lastly, one major boost to the value of a new forklift truck is that it comes with a decent warranty. It’s worth shopping around to get a longer warranty included with your new purchase, as they can vary widely from a minimum of 12 months to up to three years. A warranty covers the truck and its parts and can save you a great deal of time and money on what could end up being quite expensive repairs if something goes wrong. This peace of mind can be considered a benefit in itself, even if everything works perfectly and there are no problems with the truck in the end.

Used forklifts will generally come with some sort of short term warranty of up to 30 days, which simply allows you to try out the forklift and ensure all the parts are in working order and the forklift is functioning adequately in the condition you bought it. Therefore, after just one month this safety net is removed, and from then on the cost of any additional wear and tear which requires maintenance or repairs must be covered by money from your own pocket. The cost of these repairs can quickly mount up, and outweigh the original savings you made from investing in a second-hand machine.

Consider applications and use

When considering whether to purchase a new or used forklift, it’s vital to examine exactly what you intend to use the truck for, the length of time it will be in use during a shift, and how frequently it will need to be used.

Industry guidelines are very basic, so you’ll need to put further thought into it to tailor your purchase to your individual business needs. Experts advise that if you intend to use your forklift for less than four hours per day, or very infrequently, it makes sense to invest in a used vehicle. If you require more frequent use, for longer time periods, it is worth investing in a new one. So it’s good to consider this advice as a starting point, and then break down your specific needs from there.

There’s no getting away from the fact that in nearly every working scenario, a brand new forklift will perform better for longer than a used one. This is because they lack the wear and tear of a second-hand forklift, and incorporate the latest technology with more modern parts. However, if you plan to only use your forklift sporadically, or for very short periods during the working day, the fact that a used vehicle can cost half as much as a new truck may be enough to sway you to purchase second hand for this kind of casual use.

Meeting business requirements

If your business has specific needs from a forklift, such as an advanced forklift with the option of extended height or an extra component not found on older models, you may have no choice but to buy brand new. Newer models come with the latest technology which many modern working environments require.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a model that matches your current, older warehouse equipment, which may or may not be discontinued, a used vehicle will be older too and would be more likely to be compatible.

Generally speaking, it is going to be easier to find a forklift to meet your exact requirements when you buy new, and it’s always necessary to assess the situation on a case by case basis.

In terms of safety requirements, with a new forklift you can be sure that your truck meets the current safety standards for the working environment it will be operating in and will do so for the foreseeable future. When purchasing a used forklift there is always an inherent risk that it could become out of date according to health and safety regulations, and may even need to be replaced, either in part or full before it reaches the end of its normal lifespan.

At Solution HME you can rely on our decades of experience to help you choose the right forklift for your business. We carry a wide range of both new and used forklifts, including gas, diesel and electric-powered trucks, as well as their replacement parts, and they are available to purchase or for hire. As experts in supplying and refurbishing high-quality trucks, we ensure all our forklifts undergo rigorous testing so you can be certain they meet the highest standards.

Get in touch with our team of specialists by calling 0117 938 2012 or contact us today.

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