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Want to Buy or Sell a Used Forklift? Here’s What You Need to Know

Buying a used forklift is a cost-effective option for businesses that need a lift but can’t afford a new one due to budgetary constraints. Determining a fair price to pay for a used lift, however, can be frustrating and confusing. If you’re considering selling or trading in a used lift, finding out what it’s worth can be just as difficult. 

Whether you’re planning to buy or sell a forklift, knowing about the different types of lifts and their market value is key. You don’t want to overpay when buying a used lift. And, if you’re a seller, you want to be sure you’re not undervaluing it. This article will give you the basics of setting a forklift’s price and guide you through the process.

How Much Is My Used Forklift Worth?

There is no predetermined price for every used lift. Instead, multiple factors impact a lift’s value. 

You need to conduct extensive research before you sell a used lift. Then, you can set a price that ensures you can maximize the ROI of your lift. You can also ensure your lift’s price is competitive. 

Used Forklift Value Guide: Factors That Affect a Lift’s Value

The cost of used forklifts can vary widely. Here are some of the several factors that determine price you can expect to pay: 

1. Manufacturer 

Because they’re usually built with better technology and offer superior performance, well-known brands typically cost more than their lesser-known counterparts. 

2. Load Capacity and Lift Power

How much weight a forklift can raise and carry will affect the lift’s cost. The more powerful the truck, the higher the price. 

3. Engine Type

Purchase prices for battery-powered electric forklifts and lifts powered by gasoline, diesel, or other fossil fuels tend to be about the same. Although electric forklift batteries need replacing from time to time, over the long run, they’re considerably less expensive to operate on a daily basis. 

4. Type of Tires 

Pneumatic tires cost more to replace than cushion tires, although pneumatic tires provide better traction and smoother driving. Pneumatic tires also make lifts easier to handle on rough terrain than cushion tires. 

5. Number of Hours That a Forklift Has Been Used

A forklift’s age is based on how many hours it’s been used rather than the number of miles it’s been driven. Key factors to consider when buying a used forklift are what it will be used for and how many hours per day it will be operated. If it’s to be used for lifting heavy loads on long shifts, a used truck with low hours will both last longer and perform better than older forklifts with more hours, which can also cost more in maintenance and repairs.

6. Supply and Demand

Supply and demand dictates the value of products and services in most industries. When you buy or sell a used lift, the same holds true. In a market where there is steep demand for used lifts, you may have trouble finding one at a low price. Comparatively, you should find lots of interest in any lift you sell in this market. On the other hand, if used lift supply exceeds demand, the market favors buyers over sellers. 

Pros and Cons of Buying Used Forklifts

Buying a used lift can be more cost-effective than purchasing a new one. You likely won’t have to wait long to complete your purchase, either. And, once you buy your lift, you can start using it right away. 

Conversely, a used lift may have a shorter lifespan than a new one. The lift may also have no warranty or a short warranty. You may need to replace various parts on a used lift sooner than you would if you purchase a new model. 

Prices of New and Used Forklifts

How much does a forklift cost? Forklift price can vary based on the machine’s age, use history, and power source. Here’s a general pricing guide that reflects the range of prices for both new and used equipment:

Lift Type                                                Cost Range Used                       Cost Range New         

3,000 lb. Electric Forklift                    $5,000 – $10,000                    $20,000 – $30,000

5,000 lb. Internal Combustion           $10,000 – $15,000                   $15,000 – $30,000

Based on a 250-day work year, here are the estimated annual operating costs broken down by power source type:

✓ Electric forklifts: $1,500 – $2,000

✓ Diesel forklifts: $12,00 – $15,000

✓ Gasoline forklifts: $10,000 – $12,500

How to Calculate Forklift Value

Valuing a forklift takes more than just punching a few numbers into a calculator. Here are some factors to help you determine a fair purchase or sale price:

1. AGE.

forklift used new valueJust like cars, forklifts begin to depreciate the minute they leave the dealer’s lot. To come up with a ballpark estimate, check the serial number to determine the lift’s age. Research the same model’s price when new and deduct 15% per year for depreciation. This will give you an estimated base price to use as a starting point.

2. USE HISTORY.

Regularly moving heavy loads and operating a lift in extreme weather conditions can also cause it to age faster. So, it pays to ask to see a record of all hours the forklift has been used. Forklifts that have been used for long shifts on a daily basis will cause them to age faster than those with a history of shorter and lighter workloads. Knowing the number of hours and how a forklift was used are key factors in estimating a used lift’s market value.

3. ADDITIONAL FEATURES.

Extra features on a used forklift will normally add to its value and cause the price to go up. Examples include a digital control panel, air conditioned cab, automatic load weighing scales, and similar options.

4. CURRENT CONDITION.

The market value of a used lift depends largely on how well it’s been maintained. Good paint, good tires, a damage-free mast, a clean driver’s compartment, and a well-maintained engine all add up to a higher overall. Parts that have recently been replaced or features that have been added will also increase a lift’s value.

Forklift Service and Maintenance History

Buying a used lift from a dealer will probably be more expensive initially, although presumably, it will be in very good working order, which should save on operating costs and keep your business running smoothly. When trading in a forklift, expect lifts with more than 10,000 hours to be worthless. Two more reasons older trucks are worthless are that they might not meet EPA standards and may be a safety risk

When deciding whether to purchase a used forklift from a dealer, things to look for are whether the dealer offers onsite service for breakdown repairs, their emergency response time, and if replacement parts are readily available.

SELLING A USED FORKLIFT

If you’re considering selling your used forklift, here are some tips:

✓ Be realistic.

Do some online research to find out how much dealers and private parties are asking for forklifts of the same age and model, which will help you set a competitive price.

✓ Take good photos.

After thoroughly cleaning and repairing any cosmetic blemishes, take and post a picture or pictures on your website or other sites where you can sell used heavy equipment.

Accurately describe the forklift’s condition.

This should include the model, year and overall condition. Point out any recent repairs, part replacements or upgrades. Buyers deserve to know exactly what they’re getting, so be honest when describing your forklift’s features and be up front about disclosing mechanical problems or defects

Be prepared to negotiate.

Even if you set a fair price, you may end up having to settle for less than your asking price.  For example, if there’s a part that needs replacing, you might need to deduct the cost of the repair from your asking price in order to make the sale.

The Bottom Line on How to Buy and Sell Used Forklifts

Buying and selling used lifts can be difficult. Every lift is different, but performing research can help you determine a fair value for a machine. Plus, research can help you identify a lift that suits your business now and in the future. 

Of course, no matter which lift you buy or sell, you need to ensure all of your company’s operators are properly trained. Thankfully, with an in-depth certification program, you can quickly and easily get your workers up to speed on forklift safety. 

Want to Save Money? Take Advantage of Forklift Certification Safety Training

Having trained and certified forklift operators won’t reduce the cost of buying a forklift. But, it can reduce your operational costs while improving safety and productivity and keeping your business OSHA-compliant

ForkliftCertification.com offers a Train a Trainer course, Employee Training Kit, and Bundle package for forklift certification safety training. All of our training options ensure your workers can learn about a wide range of forklift safety topics. In addition, they align with OSHA requirements. 

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