Choosing a Forklift Dealer
Choosing the right forklift involves doing your research, digesting information and narrowing down your choice to the perfect forklift for your needs. The forklift selection process takes time, but, if it’s done thoroughly, you’ll come up with the best option that suits your business model and your workers’ ability to get their job done efficiently and safely. Your process should always start with selecting the right forklift dealer.
Not all forklift dealers are equal. Like picking the best forklift for your company, you need to consider many of the same important factors in choosing your forklift dealer. An experienced lift truck dealer or forklift rental dealer will have a sales team dedicated to customer service, and they will have an excellent line of brands, parts and maintenance options. They’ll also have technicians and trainers to provide long-term support and safety certification. Here are some of the top things to look for when choosing a forklift dealer.
1. Do They Have a Good Reputation?
They say reputations aren’t granted — they’re earned. Good reputations take a long time to build, yet they can be destroyed in an instant. There’s probably no asset more valuable to a business than an excellent reputation, and that certainly applies to your forklift dealer.
A company’s reputation, good or bad, can spread quickly by word-of-mouth. Excellent companies win awards and recognition, which you’ll be able to see displayed or mentioned on their business website. Make sure to check out online reviews from Google, Facebook and Yelp, too. Past customers won’t hesitate to report on their experience.
Leading forklift dealers will have an excellent reputation in their local area. Not only will they come highly recommended as a reputable rental outlet, but they’ll also be well-recognized for their additional support services like equipment operator training and customer financing. Good reputations are hard-earned, so if you find a forklift dealer that really stands out, be sure to put them at the top of your list.
2. Does the Dealer Offer Repairs and Maintenance?
Forklifts are complicated machinery pieces. There’s a tremendous amount of design and engineering going into modern forklift manufacturing, but they’re still not infallible. No matter what brand or forklift model you select, it’s still going to need routine maintenance and the occasional repair. For that, you’re going to need service help, including long-term service plans and schedules.
Your forklift dealer must have the in-house capability to service, maintain and repair your machinery. That includes routine work like oil changes and chassis lubrication. It also includes more sophisticated tasks like systems monitoring and preventative work that only a trained eye can pick out before bad things happen.
A reputable forklift dealer doesn’t just sell or rent you a forklift and then leave you alone. Your best dealer partners with you to become a long-term team member. You should expect to have a preventive service plan as well as access to 24-hour emergency and complete rebuilds for aging equipment.
An excellent forklift dealer will also have highly skilled and knowledgeable technicians on staff to perform repairs and maintenance when you need them. Reputable dealers will have full-scale facilities across multiple locations to perform immediate fixes and book your regular maintenance well in advance.
3. Does the Dealer Sell Parts?
Inevitably, your forklift will require replacement parts. Some parts and replacement pieces might be covered by your dealer’s warranty program. Other parts might fall under fair wear-and-tear progression that comes with all forklifts as they age.
Regardless of why and when you need repair or replacement parts, you want to be sure your forklift dealer has them in stock or can quickly source them. You can’t afford unnecessary downtime while a dealer searches their network for something they should have in inventory. A main part of your forklift support system is a well-stocked dealer that keeps your machinery mobile or gets it back in service as quickly as possible.
Many forklift dealers will carry parts for an array of brands. By keeping these parts in stock, you’ll rest assured knowing you’ll never have to wait for a parts order if a maintenance issue arises with your lift truck. Great forklift dealers will always have the exact parts you need when you need them so you can keep your operation running smoothly.
4. Are Their Technicians Knowledgeable?
Forklifts are complex machines. Their complexity only increases as time progresses and new forklift technologies emerge. That means forklift technicians have to move with the times and keep up with technological advancements. Additionally, a dealer with only a few technicians on staff won’t be able to service your machine as quickly as a large, full-time staff would.
Your best choice in a forklift dealer will have plenty of top-trained technicians on staff. This is a vital service you must have as part of your support team. Top forklift technicians will have an intricate knowledge of their machines. That includes the multiple brands, designs and applications you’ll find in your forklift options.
When choosing the right forklift dealer, it’s critical to ask questions about the experience and skill levels of their technicians and service staff. The right forklift dealer for you will demonstrate exemplary customer service, professional expertise and an overall commitment to delivering well-serviced, high-quality machines.
5. Does the Dealer Offer Rentals?
Your best choice in a forklift dealer is one that does more than sell and maintain their equipment. A top dealer will also rent forklifts as part of their value-added service and customer support program. Reputable dealers realize that forklift rentals are a popular option, and they expand their business to make sure they meet all customer needs.
Your forklift equipment needs might be temporary rather than long-term. For short durations, it makes sound financial sense to rent your forklift rather than buy it outright. There are many times that renting’s advantages far outweigh the benefits you’ll get by purchasing your machine — especially when you have unexpected downtime and need a reliable forklift in a pinch.
Renting a forklift also gives you the excellent opportunity to operate a new forklift model without making the ownership commitment. The try-before-you-buy option is a great way to know if a particular machine suits your facility. Renting gives you the flexibility to operate certain models and find your comfort zone before investing hard-earned working capital.
Many dealers will keep material handling machines in-stock and ready to go. They’ll offer both rental and purchase options and will even encourage you to test out the machinery before committing to making your next equipment investment.
6. Does the Dealer Offer More Than Just Forklifts?
Your forklift choice and options might seem overwhelming. This is where a reputable dealer that’s well-stocked can be an invaluable help. Besides assisting in your forklift selection, you want assurance that your dealer offers more than just forklifts.
Certainly, supplying parts and performing maintenance or repairs is part of a dealer’s capability. Outstanding dealers, however, offer you far more. Full-support dealers will be able to offer you the following new and used equipment to streamline your needs:
- Aerial work platforms
- Scissor lifts
- Reach Trucks
- Commercial pressure washers
- Tow tractors
- Pallet stackers
- Pallet trucks
While material handling equipment dealers are experts in machinery and technical services, they may also offer value-added products and services derived from decades of experience in meeting customer needs. Today, many forklift dealers also offer warehouse solutions, including racking systems, overhead doors, dock levelers, vehicle restraints and more.
7. Can They Train Your Employees to Use the Equipment?
Forklifts are dangerous machines if they’re not properly operated. There is a lot of moving weight and parts happening with a mobile forklift. It’s easy for a mistake to cause personal injury or product damage. You can significantly reduce your risk and liability by having your forklift operators professionally trained.
Forklift operator certification isn’t optional, so it’s important to find a dealer that can train your employees. Certification is a legal requirement, and the regulations are clearly laid out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as state and local authorities. But besides being legally compliant, professionally trained forklift operators benefit you in these ways:
- Reducing downtime
- Improving driver efficiency
- Mitigating liability
- Improving bottom line
Partnering with the right forklift dealer will make the training process simple. The best dealers offer convenient and local forklift certification classes. They’ll ensure your operators are low-risk professionals who can safely move material in your workplace.
8. Where Are They Located?
Your forklift dealer must be conveniently located. Ideally, that’s within a two-hour drive. Having a forklift dealer located remotely — three or more hours away — does you no good in routine circumstances, let alone in emergencies.
When you’re searching for the dealer best suited to your business, you need to know their location is somewhere within a reasonable range. You can’t put an exact mileage or time frame on this. It just has to be somewhere you can quickly contact and expect an immediate response.
When choosing a forklift dealer, it’s important to look at their service locations. Many reputable dealers will have expanded across their region and offer full-scale services at multiple outlets. With many locations to choose from, you’ll be sure that your forklift dealer will always be close by no matter what issues arise.
9. What Brands Do They Carry?
The forklift dealer you choose should carry a nice assortment of machines from a wide range of brands. There’s a lot of competition among forklift manufacturers, and each company promotes their positive features and benefits. A reputable dealer that’s been in the forklift business a long time will help you sort through the brands. They’ll identify the exact equipment that fully supports your unique needs.
Your forklift dealer’s professional sales team will be able to recommend top forklift brands and help you choose the best model. They’ll know which brands are top performers and which manufacturers’ equipment will offer the greatest value for your workplace needs. Here is a look at some of the top forklift brands your dealer may carry:
- Hyster forklifts: Hyster is one of the best-known brands in the forklift industry. Their reputation for long intervals between service and dependability is first-class. They distribute millions of lift machines across the world, and they’re popular for their user-friendly features and controls.
- Toyota forklifts: Toyota is a recognizable name for good reason. For over 50 years, they’ve been supplying the world’s warehouses with high-quality and reliable material-handling equipment.
- Crown forklifts: Crown has been manufacturing forklifts since 1945. They’ve earned a reputation for providing heavy-duty forklifts for both the warehousing and agricultural sectors.
- Yale forklifts: Yale is a global supplier of forklifts for diverse uses. Their forklifts are popular within the agricultural, construction and warehousing industries.
- Komatsu forklifts: Komatsu is a Japanese forklift manufacturer. The company has grown extensively throughout the United States and is known for its technological advancements. You’ll find Komatsu forklifts on constructions sites, on farms, in warehouses and at military installations.
- Mitsubishi-Caterpillar forklifts: Two of the world’s most well-known machinery brand names have teamed up to offer Mitsubishi-Caterpillar forklifts. Known for their durability, dependability and outstanding value, Mitsubishi-Caterpillar provides a range of forklifts from light- to heavy-duty.
In addition to these well-known lift truck brands, your dealer may also carry other reputable forklift options from brands like Genie Aerial Lifts, Hotsy Pressure Washers, Factory Cat Sweepers & Scrubbers and Columbia Personnel Carriers. They’ll also provide the certified parts for each of the brands they carry.
10. How’s Their Sales Team?
Your dealer’s sales and customer support team have to be there when you need them. A truly professional sales team is hard to find in any industry. The forklift business is no different. However, you don’t have to settle for second-class service. Uncertainty shouldn’t be part of any sales package.
A good sales team responds to inquiries quickly and fully. They represent themselves in a knowledgeable and helpful way. They should also be able to listen to your needs and make excellent recommendations on products that are right for you, without being pushy.
When partnering with a reputable forklift dealer, you can rest assured you’re getting a professional, knowledgeable and helpful sales team. Trustworthy dealers will always make sure your customer requirements come first.
11. Do They Offer Financing and Leasing?
Financing and leasing is another value-added benefit you should expect from your ideal forklift dealer. Making an expensive purchase like a new or slightly used forklift is a big financial outlay. It’s your valuable cash, and it needs to be stretched to your full advantage. That’s why it’s important to shop around for the best financing rate before choosing your forklift dealer.
Many forklift dealers specialize in financial assistance. They can work within your budget and assemble a financial package that’s flexible and meets your needs. Financial services typically include leasing arrangements as well as short and long-term rental agreements.
The right forklift dealer for you will offer financial support programs tailored to your individual customer needs. They’ll work with you to conserve capital while keeping your interest burden low. They’ll also develop custom agreements like conditional sales contracts and supply used forklift financing.
Contact McCall Handling for All Your Forklift Needs
Your search for a reputable and full-service forklift dealer ends when you partner with McCall Handling. We are known for meeting each of these criteria. At McCall Handling, you’ll find new forklifts from top brands, a wide rental assortment and an excellent selection of used equipment. We’re also a full-service dealer, and we offer training services and a custom blend of financing as well.
Since 1948, we have partnered with folks like you to satisfy their forklift needs. To complete your dealer search, contact McCall today at 1-888-870-0685. You can also reach out to us online.