Forklift Costs

Forklifts are valuable (and potentially costly) pieces of equipment. But today's marketplace offers a breadth of product offerings and pricing options that put even the more sophisticated forklifts in reach of the average small business.

Many business owners are amazed by the features and benefits they can get from today's forklifts.

From small, electric lift trucks to 35,000 lb. capacity behemoths, modern forklift vendors offer something for every business. - Many business owners are also surprised by the cost of today's forklifts. At the upper end of the spectrum, high payload forklifts can run $100,000 or more. But don't let the price tag intimidate you. Vendors and dealers offer pricing plans and options that minimize purchase pain and make it easier to achieve a decent ROI.

Forklift Pricing Structures

Forklift pricing is directly affected by factors like fuel, capacity and accessories. However, for a 5,000 pound capacity forklift (the most common model), new electric pricing is in the $18,000-$25,000 range plus an additional $2,000-$5,000 for the battery and charger. Internal combustion 5,000 pound capacity forklifts are generally less expensive, falling in the $16,000 $28,000 range.

As your forklift requirements increase, so does the cost. To give you an idea about pricing for larger capacity models, a new 10,000 pound diesel forklift has a price tag of $28,000-$45,000. If you require the industry's largest available model – a 35,000 pound capacity lift – you can get it, but it will cost you $100,000 or more.

Forklift Purchase Strategies

  • Used forklifts are a viable option for most small businesses. A 3,000 pound electric forklift costs between $5,000-$10,000 while a slightly larger 5,000 pound internal combustion model comes in at a reasonable $10,000-$11,000.
  • Most dealers offer financing or leasing plans to minimize the upfront cost. Some companies also offer the option of a long-term rental that differs from a lease in that it can be canceled at any time after a minimum number of months (usually 12).
  • Service plans and operator training are standard expenses that are often associated with a forklift purchase. Negotiate with your vendor to minimize the cost of these services, especially if you are purchasing a new piece of equipment or multiple forklifts.
  • Once you have selected a brand of forklift that you trust, try to stick with it instead of purchasing multiple brands. In the end, you will benefit from lower overall pricing and service costs in return for your brand loyalty.

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