It can be very daunting buying a piece of equipment over the internet. Not to mention a used piece of equipment for thousands of dollars. How do you know you are buying from a credible source? Will the machine be in the condition I agreed to? How will I recoup my expenses if something goes wrong or my source was untrustworthy? These are all questions that should be addressed when considering buying a forklift online.
Who Sells Forklifts?
- Wholesale companies
- National retailers
The majority of forklift broker companies never see the forklifts they are “selling”. They are browsing online inventories and calling for prices and sometimes checking on the condition of the machine. They will then apply a mark-up of usually at least a few thousand dollars to you, the end user, and blind ship it directly to you. This is dangerous for a couple reasons. They have not seen the equipment!
They cannot take ownership of the forklift and if something goes wrong or the machine was misrepresented, there is nothing they can do to fix the situation. Their source will rarely take the machine back if there is a problem and since they oftentimes work from a small office or home, there is nothing they can do to help the end user. A “warranty” from a forklift broker is a useless gesture unless they will pay another company to do the service should an issue come up, which is a rare case.
Brokers used to be reliable to find used forklifts for customers. They usually had experience in the industry and had contacts at many dealerships, but with the internet, a simple Google search can likely save you time and money that would have been spent paying a broker to do the same thing. Brokers are rarely credible sources for used equipment for an end user because it is nearly impossible to sell a piece of equipment you have not seen.
A wholesale forklift company is oftentimes the source of the equipment brokers will quote. They can be connected to a dealership and will focus on used, “as-is” equipment to other re-sellers. Generally, they will buy packages of machines, inspect the machines, and market them to dealerships or brokers. They tend to move machines very quickly and turnover inventory. A good customer for a wholesale forklift company is someone who is planning on fixing the machine themselves for either resale or their own use. A good wholesale forklift company can provide the customer with the condition and specifications of the machine and will sell it in “as-is” condition, which means without a warranty. It is important to check on a wholesale company’s background to make sure they market the machines correctly. One misrepresentation can ruin a business.
There are several companies who will sell refurbished used forklifts to end users all across the country (and even internationally on occasion). They will have a team of mechanics who are certified to inspect and refurbish forklifts. They can do everything from a new paint job to a complete engine overhaul. These retailers should be able to provide an a la carte menu for a forklift you are interested in so that you can pick and choose which services you want done to your lift within your budget.
Tips For Buying From A Retailer Online
- Always ask for a serial number
- Always ask for service history
- BEWARE of retailers where ALL of their machines have LOW HOURS
- BEWARE of retailers where ALL of their machines are painted up and look to good to be true
***Some retailers will buy machines with VERY high hours and in bad mechanical condition in order to change the hour meters, apply paint, and make look like it is in good condition. Do your homework!!! You would not trust a used car dealership where ALL the cars have less than 15,000 miles because it is unrealistic, and most likely dishonest.
Most forklift brands rely on a network of local dealerships to sell their new equipment. Local dealerships are usually set up so that their territory is broken into segments and assigned to a salesperson or team of salespeople that will call on businesses and individuals. They can sell new forklifts with service contracts and maintenance schedules because they are within a certain distance and it is feasible to service the machines on a regular basis.
Some dealerships will sell used equipment out of their rental fleet and may have a small inventory of used equipment to quote when the need arises. Dealerships will also buy from equipment wholesale companies in order to refurbish and sell to end users within their territories.
However you decide to buy your forklift, make sure you are making the best possible decision for your business. Do your homework, ask plenty of questions, and whenever possible, go inspect the machine for yourself! A $700 plane ticket may save you THOUSANDS in the future.
Feel free to call us for questions and inquiries on any of our used equipment inventory.