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5 Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Forklift for Your Business

All forklifts are not created equal, and when you’re leasing or purchasing material handling equipment for your business, a few critical factors dictate what type of vehicle you need.¬†Failing to match your purchase to important locations, employee and business needs can create a situation where you’ve invested in expensive equipment that doesn’t provide a positive return for your company.¬†

Here are five things you should consider before you finalize any forklift purchase.


1. Where will the forklift operate?

Define not just the general location, but also the actual paths you plan for the forklift to travel. Look at site or warehouse designs, and map out common paths the truck might take. Take time to measure the width of paths and the height of doors and overhangs under which the forklift will pass, and consider the terrain and type of surface the machine will traverse. All of these things help you choose the right equipment: in a warehouse with tighter travel paths, you might need a more compact vehicle. You should also measure the highest area where the forklift will be expected to pick up or deposit goods; this tells you how high of a lift mechanism you need.

2. What types of materials and loads will be transported?

Create a list of materials the forklift is likely to carry, and find out what the average and maximum load weights are in your facility. It does no good to buy or rent a forklift that can’t handle the loads you need to transport.

3. Is there a material handling equipment fuel preference?

Material handling equipment commonly runs on LP gas, diesel or electric power. The choice between these types of vehicles depends on your needs and preferences. Electric powered vehicles are quiet and less expensive to run in the long-term, which makes them ideal for indoor use. Diesel and LP gas forklifts don’t require battery charging time and have higher fuel and maintenance costs in the long-term. Most experts recommend diesel-powered forklifts for rugged, outdoor jobs.

4. What extras are you looking for?

Some forklifts come with more bells and whistles than others. Certainly a forklift is never a luxury item. It is, after all, a tool used for work. Operators who sit regularly in material handling equipment do appreciate when employers consider operator comfort. Items such as suspension seats, cooling fans, or rain covers may let operators stay more productive and experience less soreness, stiffness, or injury after long shifts.

5. Should you buy or rent a forklift?

Once you know what type of forklift you need, determine whether you want to buy or rent it. Buying a forklift may be a good idea if you’re planning to put it to regular use over the long-term. Forklift rentals may be a better option if you only need the equipment for a temporary job or to replace a vehicle that is being repaired at the current time. In addition to reducing overhead cost and keeping you from investing in machinery you don’t need in the future, the right forklift lease can provide perks such as a maintenance or repair plan.
Before you commit to forklift rentals or purchase an expensive piece of equipment, contact us for more information about the types of products available and what might be right for you.