Forklifts can be very useful for lifting and transporting heavy loads over short distances. But they can cost a lot of money and require trained individuals to operate them. This post weighs up some of the things you may want to consider before getting a forklift for your business.
The benefits over hand trucks
The manual alternative to a forklift is a hand truck (also known as a hand trolley or sack truck). Hand trucks are favoured for their cost, their compact size, their low maintenance and their ease of use. They also reduce manual labor by making it easier to carry heavy loads.
However, they have their limits – most hand trucks cannot lift weights over a few tons with 5 tons being the maximum. Some forklifts are able to carry much heavier loads than this. They can also travel over longer distances faster, and can more easily grab and lift items in the hands of someone skilled.
The cost of a forklift
Many warehouse and storage yard owners are put off buying a forklift because of the cost. Forklifts typically cost upwards of $15,000 to buy, and there are other costs to consider such as a battery and charger.
Forklifts can of course be bought on finance to spread out this cost, although this does mean paying extra in the long run in interest fees. Used forklifts are likely to be cheaper than new forklifts, but they may cost more in maintenance and energy bills. Renting and hiring a forklift is also an option to save costs upfront, although it may not be an economical long-term solution.
In all cases, it’s important to acquire a forklift from a trusted supplier. Look for forklift suppliers that have a good reputation and use trusted companies like powRparts when buying batteries and chargers. A low quality forklift is not worth the unreliability that may come with it.
The legal requirements
When buying a forklift, it’s important that you have someone in your team who is certified to operate it. There is no official forklift ‘license’ and you do not need a driver’s license to operate a forklift. That said, anyone who operates a forklift must first complete official training to receive some form of certification. This is a legal requirement across the states.
You can either pay for employees to go through training and get certification, or you can hire employees who are already certified. Weigh up the cost of this before you acquire a forklift.
Choosing the right type of forkliftIt’s worth noting that forklifts come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are designed to carry small boxes, while others are designed to carry very heavy and bulky weights like shipping containers. Some are meanwhile designed for indoor use, while others are designed for outdoor use. There are also differences between models such as the turning circle (something to consider in narrow warehouse aisles) and the energy-efficiency (something you may want to consider if you pride yourself as a green business). Take your time to explore all the different types of models so that you choose the right forklift.
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