Once you know why you require a forklift, you can start the research. You can divide the research into four steps.
Step 1- Know the basics
Even before go and look out for the forklift, just get the basic knowledge on the forklift hire company. Learn how they work, what are the main parts, the different types available, and how much they cost. Try to gather as much information as possible. Read articles, Google terms and ask experts.
Step 2- Your needs
You needs are controlled by few factors budget, forklift size, and usage.
Budget– Budget is the most obvious thing. You want to be realistic of the number you can spend and stick to it. You may chance to get a better machine but if it costs you more than you can spend, you should never go for it.
Forklift Size– This is an important factor while choosing the forklift. For the size, look at the operation area of the forklift. You may need it for the inside or outside jobs. If it is for inside jobs, look at the aisle width, and height the forks would have reached. Based on this factors decide the size of the forklift.
Usage– If you plan to use a forklift for only 3-4 hours per week, then by an 11-12-year-old machine. It would be cheap, and it would last for about 6-8 years. However, you may not be able to resell it. In case you require the forklift to operate for at least 7 hours a day, probably it wouldn’t be wise to buy an old one. Though 3-6-month-old machine would work, still go for the new one.
Just look at the things that you want from a forklift and things you are ready to comprise. You will have to compromise on many features of the old forklift.
Step 3- Search
Now your real job is to find the forklift. You can look for them online, forklift contact provider or find it in classified ads. While searching, make sure you create a checklist, which includes things like pricing, capacity, size, mast type, attachments, and tyres. This list will help you compare different options. There are even specific sheets for various models. You can get them from the provider.
Step 4- Be prepared
Once get a seller who has forklift meeting to your requirements, you should call him. But make sure you have prepared the list of enquiry questions to learn as much as possible about the machine. You can ask question such as
– Year of manufacture
– Machines service history
– Accidents in the past
– Previous owners
– Previous working environments
– Working hours per day
You can include a question that helps you judge the condition of the forklift. Once you are satisfied with the answers, now it would be the time to visit your machine for inspection.
Inspecting the used forklift
Your inspection process must include a physical inspection of the forklift, past records, and documentation. Before you inspect the machine, ask for the service records in a physical form. Check them for the frequency of mechanical failures, servicing, and accidents. Also, check the documentation such as warranty. This will help learn the warranty time remaining or costs to extend it.
A physical inspection will require you check series of things in a forklift. However, if you do not know about forklift, ask a forklift specialist to accompany you for inspection. Following are the things you must look at.
Tyres are different for forklift depending on their working environment. Moreover, check for wear and tear on the tyres as it shows the misalignment in the axle.
There is nothing wrong if the mast is little dented or has cuts. All you have to check is whether it can move up and down.
Weight must be of appropriate size and weight.
– Gears or controls
Gears and controls just are smooth and responsive.
– Spec Numbers
Check the engine and chassis numbers, and it should not be scratched off.
– Hour meter
Check the hour metre for working hours. In case, the metre was broken or changed it will have little hours on it. Ask the reason for it to the owner.
Last part of the inspection would be to try the machine itself. Take it for a trial ride but make sure the driver as forklift drivers licence. Check how it turns, accelerates, reverses stops, lifts or lowers and tilts. If possible, try to lift a load by creating an artificial work environment.