Tips for the Forklift Sales Process

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If you have trained and certified operators, as well inventory to be moved, it is time to buy a loading truck or forklift. Whether you are making your first purchase or replacing a worn-out vehicle, carefully consider the forklift sales process. Your most important choices will occur before you even buy your new equipment. Plenty of online and payment-plan billing options exist for all types of businesses today. Follow these steps to get the best forklift:

  1. Find the Truck You Need: Identify exactly what kind of vehicle you need. Find the precise weight range of the loads you will be moving. Know how many hours per day you will need forklift operation, and what access to fuel or electricity you have. Will you need a picker, a rider, a truck, or a tractor? Will your vehicle manage low-level, mid-level, or high-level weights? Will it be a walker or a rider? You should also prepare to choose between fuel types or battery options. Online tools exist to help you make your choice, but plenty of research is necessary at this stage.
  2. Choose a Brand: Once you know your needs, it is time to choose a brand and dealer. Instead of focusing just on the price, keep in mind the total picture. You will want to pick a brand that has local dealer support for repairs and maintenance. You should search for a recent model that has plenty of current parts available on the market. An obscure brand may cost less, but you will struggle to find replacement parts.
  3. Analyze Costs: With a brand and perhaps even a model option chosen, it's time to examine your costs in-depth. The upfront costs are key, but remember to calculate the fuel costs, expected service costs, and the costs of items that will need eventual replacement, such as tires. Remember that some forklifts, such as battery-powered versions, are very expensive up-front but save money through long-term use. Other forklifts, for example used options, are cheapest upfront but may have high fuel and service costs in the future.
  4. Rent or Test the Vehicle: With a specific model chosen and a good idea of your target price, it's time to test out the vehicle. Have your certified operator use the model to ensure it performs as expected. Try to rent, lease, or at least test your chosen forklift before making a final purchase. It is better to rent for a few months than to purchase immediately and regret your decision because you skipped the field test.
  5. Complete the Buying Process: Dealers offer a variety of payment options for the forklift sales process. Down payments may or may not be required based on current deals, but you can expect some type of financing option if you do not have enough cash to purchase upfront. Again, it's better to find a local dealer and sign in person, but a number of Internet sites let you pay online, which can expand your vehicle options significantly.
Forklift Sales Process

Evaluating forklifts for sale

When considering a forklift for sale outside of a dealership, here are some additional factors to consider:

Negotiating points for leasing or buying

Research resale values when considering fair market leases. A fair market value lease gives you the option to purchase a lift at the end of the term. The "fair market value" is the set price, determined by a lift's condition, age, and local supply & demand. If you are thinking long-term for a lift, these leases are viable when lengths are short and the lift is relatively new. A long-term lease (five years or more) on a five-year-old truck will render the machine nearly worthless by the end of the rental.

A full payout lease may provide flexibility, depending on the interest rates. Full payout leases resemble loans in the sense that you take on interest payments as well as the cost of renting a lift. You have benefits with this system because you are putting equity into a truck. However, you have to factor interest rates into the equation for it to make sense financially.

Full service leases absolve you of obligation but don't include equity. Another option from forklift leasing companies are full service agreements. Instead of building equity and caring for a lift as if it were your own, the leasing company is responsible for servicing and maintenance. You use the machine as if it were a straight rental. The downside is you have no equity in the machine at lease's end. This situation is best for temporary solutions.

Renting to own makes sense when you see your business blossoming. This is another type of lease, in which you maintain a rental contract while adding equity into a separate account. Businesses without capital in hand that need equipment fast can benefit from this type of lease. Your obligations are minimal while you get the product on site for your business immediately. When steady work arrives, you can use the equity already paid to make the purchase lighter on company finances.

Your final decision should include advice from a CPA. Analyzing company liability is crucial when leasing or buying equipment. Whichever angle you choose to pursue, talk over the tax ramifications with a certified accountant. Full service and full payout leases may offer you leeway in the tax department, but the limitations of these leases remain intact.

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