It’s never easy making big purchasing decisions, especially when deciding between equipment which will be used for years, and is a critical part of an operation. A company must weigh their options and plan carefully. For equipment like forklifts, there’s a variety of criteria to consider. For example, what models to consider, renting or buying, and which company to contact and work with.
If purchasing equipment is decided upon as the best course of action, the next big decision is whether to invest into new or used forklifts. While there are pros and cons to both, the refurbished, reconditioned, or used forklifts sold by authorized companies are great options for a companies with smaller budgets, but they won’t suit all types of businesses, and some people may feel uneasy about the reliability of used equipment.
To help shed light on the myriad amount of choices available, we spoke with two experts in the field; Mr. Albert Lim, Head of Rental, Used Equipment and Workshops for Jungheinrich Lift Truck; and Mr. Suchart Chaipimai, Sales Manager of Hyster Products at Dilok and Sons. Their insight should help those in the market on a variety of deciding factors, and provide a clearer picture on which forklifts best fits the buyer’s business.
As Good as New?
When a prospective buyer is in the market for a forklift, typically the first decision to make is whether to consider looking at new or used equipment. Some people have an affinity for new equipment, but the savings on used equipment can sometimes be substantial, and is usually worth investigating further.
Mr. Lim said that, “After the contract for renting or leasing expires, customers will return the equipment back to us, and then we send the pieces in for refurbishment. There are varying levels of refurbishment that can be done based on customer needs and how much they are willing to spend. Partial refurbishment can be done domestically and entails basic maintenance and tune ups, but for full refurbishment, we send the equipment to our main German factory. This factory is specialized in the full refurbishment of forklifts, or what we call ‘JUNGSTARS,’ where equipment is completely disassembled, refurbished, and reassembled and complete quality check before it is sent back to Jungheinrich sales company the dealer, ready to sell. Once the process is finished, if you were to look at the refurbished truck and compare it to a new one, I guarantee you could barely see any differences.”
Similar to Jungheinrich, Hyster also repairs and refurbishes their rental forklifts after customers trade them back. Mr. Chaipimai explained that, “At Hyster, we have the ‘Hyster Reconditioned Program’ which is a program created specifically to repair and overhaul Hyster used forklifts. The equipment is examined, passes through quality check processes, and is repaired. Technicians then look over every inch of the forklift before sending it back to us to guarantee a high-quality end product.”
Different Business Needs
Ultimately, a key decision factor for a business is looking within and determining just what its needs are. Mr. Chaipimai said that, “Each business has unique needs. I’ve found that often small and medium sized businesses benefit most from utilizing used forklifts. For some companies every minute counts, and having downtime can mean big losses. In these situations, if a machine or piece of equipment breaks down, work grinds to a halt. It’s often more cost effective then to spend extra on new equipment to absolutely ensure that no downtime is experienced.”
This isn’t to say that used equipment isn’t needed at all in these environments, but they are more often used as backup in case a piece of equipment fails. There is often no need to have a brand-new piece of equipment sitting idlily by, and having used but ready to operate equipment ready is ideal.
Mr. Lim explained that, “Used forklifts are a great choice for companies who have short-term needs as well. They can often purchase a used piece of equipment, use it for about three to five years, and then sell it off. Compared to renting, I believe it’s still better to buy used. Purchasing used can be cheaper than renting even in the short term. In contrast, if customers know that they will have long-term needs for the equipment buying new forklifts will often work out being cheaper as they are kept for longer. Forklifts are like cars. If you take good care of it, clean and maintain it by with a qualified technician frequently; the forklift can last to ten or more years.”
Purchasing with Confidence
The advantages of renting or buying forklifts from authorized dealers are numerous. “Purchasing from an authorized dealer allows you to track the records of a forklift,” said Mr. Chaipimai. “We have records in our database which show which spare parts of the forklifts have been changed or repaired. Customers can rest assured that the forklifts have been maintained properly. Unauthorized dealers can sometimes offer lower prices, but it’s risky. Reliable background information about the forklift in question is hard to come by and often impossible to verify. Also, unauthorized dealers often do not provide a warranty on used forklifts.”
Mr. Chaipimai continued, “For Hyster, both used and new equipment have warranties but can be varied according to different models. For used equipment, we offer a six-month warranty so that customers can feel at ease with their purchasing decision. On the other hand, new forklifts have at least a one year warranty and can be as long as three years. But no matter new or used, if the piece of equipment needs maintenance, Hyster will send out a technician team to inspect and maintain forklifts on customers’ sites. Also, customers can feel at ease about the availability of the spare parts that no matter the model of the forklift, Hyster will still have the spare parts available.”
Mr. Lim said that “we offer a one year warranty on our fully refurbished forklifts, the same duration as our new forklifts. Also, we provide maintenance support for all our forklifts. In the case of a break down, we will even deliver a temporary replacement forklift, so their workflow doesn’t get stuck on a downed piece of equipment. We have also launched a website for customers to browse and purchase our new and refurbished forklifts as well, offering more convenience than ever before.”
Mr. Lim also stressed when a customer is purchasing equipment to keep in mind the importance of after-sales support. Forklifts are normally used for many years, so building a partnership with the company which it was purchased from is important, and guarantees support throughout the life of the piece of equipment.
Ultimately the decision between buying versus renting, and new versus used, is up to the discretion of each individual company. Each decision has its own benefits and limitations, but the first thing you need to consider is your type of business, the application, and the budget you have. However, no matter the decision, finding a reputable and trustworthy dealer to work with is paramount. As long as you work with professionals, there is no need to fear used equipment, as customers can rest assured that the equipment has been, and will continue to be taken care of by good hands.