How to Know a Used Forklift is Worth the Money

How can you tell if a used forklift price is fair? It's an important question to ask; forklifts are useful tools, but nobody can deny they're often the pricier pieces of machinery a business might need.

When weighing your options between used vs new forklifts, it is easy to get pulled in by the lowest price you see. However, with this article we'll discuss why that isn't all you need to be considering.

What's a Good Used Forklift Price?

As should be obvious, there is no single "good" used forklift price. There are dozens and dozens of models out there that are built for a variety of user needs.

That said, there are some general rules that can help you determine what sort of pricing makes sense for the model you're looking at:

  • For the models most businesses need a forklift with the capacity of 3000 to 5000 lbs.
  • Electric forklifts are generally cheaper than internal combustion models that are otherwise similar
  • Pneumatic models will be the priciest of all but also tend to have the highest lift capabilities of similarly sized models

Decide How Much Power You Need

If your business involves unpacking pallets of products that weigh a few hundred to, at most, a few thousand pounds, you probably want to focus on electric models. They will be the most affordable option for you and should still be more than enough to suit your needs.

Meanwhile, if your business needs some serious lifting power, you will want to do a deeper dive into your exact needs. Figure out at least roughly how much weight your machines will be lifting. Then you need to determine the maximum weight you expect the machine will need to handle.

These two numbers will guide what a good price is for you. It doesn't matter how cheap a model is if it can't handle the weights you've determined you'll be dealing with.

If you cheap out and push your forklift, it not only can break the machine, but it could be dangerous and even illegal. Forklift use is regulated and for good reason; these are powerful machines that deal with loads that could be big trouble if they tip or fall.

Watch Out for Tricks

There is plenty of general advice one should keep in mind to avoid being scammed. As a general set of rules, you should be able to meet someone in person and test the lift before you purchase it.

Places like Craigslist and other traditional used sites may sell forklifts, but you should go with a professional used lift seller like CITrucks. We fell that we sell the best used forklifts, but this isn't just some advertisement; professional sellers are invested in actually getting repeat business while amateur sellers just want to get rid of their lift and get the best price they can.

Once you actually make a purchase, it is hard to get your money back from an amateur seller even if they ripped you off. It's unlikely you'll want to go to court over the purchase (and may have a hard time even if you do) and sellers know that. This doesn't make every smaller sale a ripoff but it is something to always keep in mind.

As for common seller scamming tactics specific to forklifts (or at least industrial machinery), watch out for any changes to plating or inaccuracies in the listing. If you notice what seems like a willful inaccuracy in the way a lift is presented, walk away. The used market is fraught with cheats and it could be downright deadly to buy a forklift that isn't what the seller claims.

Should You Buy Used or New?

When deciding whether to buy a used or new forklift, there is plenty to consider. Used lifts can be cheaper, serve the function you need, and save you in the long run even if they won't last your company as long.

To put things into perspective, the average forklift engine is going to last about 10,000 to 20,000 hours. This assumes the conditions are normal and the machines aren't pushed to their absolute limits.

A new forklift represents a fresh start. Unless you literally get into an accident with the machine, it is going to last you quite a long time. It's also going to be a newer model, with all the modern features and benefits that brings.

Buying used takes more time and care if you want a good deal. Whether the time investment is worth it to you depends on your company and where its priorities are at.

However, remember the trap many people trying to save money fall into. Buying used is not always cheaper if you have to replace it too early and too often. Two or three cheap used forklifts might last total the same length of time as one quality model.

Find a Model That Fits Your Needs

Whether you've decided used or new is right for you (or maybe you just want to rent), we at Carolina Industrial Trucks would love to fill your forklift need! Our used forklift price model is top-notch, and our new ones are just as competitive. We also offer forklift training courses to make sure your employees can safely and legally use these powerful machines.

Whatever your forklift budget, we've got a model that should suit you. Get in contact with us today to get some of our powerful, affordable, and safe machines into your warehouse!