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Purchasing lift equipment is a big commitment that can come with a big price tag. Saving money by investing in lower-priced used machinery can be a wise move by some businesses. In particular, start up companies, and businesses looking for lift equipment to use on an intermittent or short-term basis can often benefit from the purchase of used forklifts and other equipment.


However, used lift equipment is not always reliable, or in good condition. These tips should help you to find pre-owned lift equipment that you can use inexpensively and safely for years to come.

Buy pre-owned lift equipment through a reputable dealer.

When you go looking for used forklifts for sale or other types of used lift equipment, you have several options. For example, you can go on Craigslist, scour the Internet for private sellers, or attend an auction. However, if you want to ensure the purchase of a reliable machine, you should go through a reputable dealer (like Darr). 

There are many reasons that dealers (and manufacturers) are the best (and lowest risk) choice for purchasing pre-owned lift equipment. Probably the most important is that they typically know the history of the machinery they sell you. These machines have either been leased or pre-owned through the dealer or they have undergone a mandatory reconditioning and recertifying process so you receive a comprehensive look at the machine’s history and current operational state.

In addition, dealers offer comprehensive maintenance and repair services and even a warranty on their used forklifts for sale and other pre-owned lift equipment. As a result, you receive access to all of the information you need to make a purchasing decision now and all the support you need to keep the machine in top working order after the purchase is complete.

Avoid pre-owned lift equipment that is exceedingly inexpensive.

Because saving up to 50 percent off the cost of a new piece of equipment is one of the major reasons for buying used forklifts (and other types of lift equipment), it can be tempting to snap up the lowest-priced deal you can find. However, if the price seems oddly low or an unbelievable deal, especially if you are working with a supplier other than a reputable dealer, there is probably a reason. It may be in poor condition, have had its odometer reset, or harbor an unreported problem. 

In any case, it is likely to cost you more money down the road in repairs than a higher-priced but reliable piece of machinery. As a result, when purchasing used equipment, look for machinery that is reasonably priced. Or, take extra time to ensure the quality and performance of a bargain-basement priced piece of machinery before you complete the purchase.


Examine the history of the pre-owned lift equipment before purchase.

Accessing and studying the history of any piece of used lift equipment is important in determining its usefulness for your needs. This is where the histories maintained by reputable dealers can be such an advantage when purchasing used forklifts and other machinery.

When looking at a piece of pre-owned machinery’s history, there are three areas in particular you should consider: Age, hour meter, and environment.

  • Age

Often, pre-owned lift equipment will be more than 5 years old, but you can find newer lift equipment, as long as you are willing to pay a higher price as a result. 

  • Hour Meter

More important than the age of the equipment is the usage it underwent. For example, a 5-year-old forklift for sale with 12,000 hours on it is likely to be more worn out than a 5-year-old forklift for sale that only has 6,000 hours on it. 

When looking at the hour meter, a good rule of thumb is to purchase lift equipment that has undergone part-time usage. In addition, make sure to look at not only the key hours (the time      the machinery was turned on) but also usage hours (the time when the machine was actually in use). These two different types of readings will give you a good picture of how heavily the piece of lift equipment was used.

  • Environment

Learn what type of environment the lift equipment was used in. Clean, controlled environments like warehouses will produce a machine that is in better condition than harsh environments such as a work site.

  • Maintenance

Make sure to purchase used forklifts and other lift equipment that have undergone regular maintenance throughout their history.


Examine the current condition of the pre-owned lift equipment.

Regardless of the history of a piece of pre-owned lift equipment, you will want to conduct your own inspection of its current condition. This means that you will need to see the machinery in person, and preferably bring an experienced mechanic to look it over for you. Important areas to consider include the condition of vital areas (such as a forklift’s forks), potential leaks, condition of the brakes, cleanliness and condition of the engine, wear on the tires, and the overall operation of the machinery. If any major issues are identified, or you see signs of excessive wear, it may be best to move on to another used forklift, crane, backhoe, etc. that is in better overall condition.


Purchase pre-owned lift equipment that comes with a guarantee.

Finally, even after you find a well-priced and high quality piece of used lift equipment, you will want to protect yourself for the future by obtaining a warranty or guarantee and by getting a maintenance and repairs package. This is also where purchasing from a dealer can be a prudent choice. Reputable dealers, like Darr, usually provide warranties and guarantees on their pre-owned equipment. And, they offer skilled maintenance and repair services as well as high quality parts to back up the machinery they sell.

While the warranty you get may not be as comprehensive as the one you receive when you buy a new piece of equipment, it should protect you against unexpected breakdowns that would otherwise create expensive headaches for your business. And, with access to maintenance and repair services, you will always be able to keep all of your machinery, not just the used one, in top working order.

When you choose to purchase a piece of used lift equipment, taking steps to ensure you receive a high quality piece of machinery is vital. Start with a reputable dealer; be careful of any deals that seem too good to be true (especially if they are not coming from a reputable dealer); examine the history of the equipment; examine its current condition; and look for machinery that comes with warranties, guarantees, and/or maintenance and repair packages. If you need a piece of reliable, pre-owned lift equipment, consider Darr, where we offer only high-quality machinery and stand behind our equipment with a warranty and comprehensive maintenance and repair packages. 

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