Comparing prices is one way to use your money wisely. You may have noticed that prices for similar items can vary widely from brand to brand. Whenever you are purchasing something, especially an expensive item like a lift truck, it is to your benefit to carefully check the price of that item with more than one supplier to find the best deal.
While shopping strictly by price will undoubtedly be the least expensive way to acquire an asset, how do you know if you are getting the best value? When comparing bids from multiple suppliers, there are both tangible and intangible items you should evaluate.
Intangible items are harder to identify, as what is important to one person or company may not be as relevant with another. Additionally, once these items are identified, they are typically more difficult to quantify. Items you may want consider include:
- Integrity – Do the companies being considered have a track record for delivering on what is being promised?
- Passion – Do they want to work with you because it’s a decent job for them, or because they are on fire about supporting you?
- Customer Care – Evaluate response time, attitude of the support staff, how completely they answer an inquiry, and professionalism.
When comparing bids side by side, there are many tangible items within the quote to compare as well. In today’s market, many companies purchase strictly on “low-bid,” which has created a race to the bottom with many vendors. In order to cut costs, many vendors choose less expensive options, which in the end, may not be the best solution for the customer. Some items we typically see manipulated in order to lower the costs include:
- DC Lift or Drive Motors –AC Systems deliver significantly more uptime, lower maintenance costs, and helps you move more product faster. An AC System is very energy efficient, which lowers your battery recharging costs and increases the useful life of your battery.
- Forklift Voltage – Often times lift trucks can be configured with different voltages (e.g.: 24 volt Reach Truck vs 36 volt Reach Truck). Typically, the higher the voltage, the higher the performance. In order for lower voltage units to keep up, if possible, with the higher voltage units, the lower voltage units need to draw more amps, creating more heat. Amps and heat hurt electronic parts. Fewer amps equals less heat, which equals less down time and a more efficient and profitable piece of equipment.
- Forklift Batteries – Batteries are a major component in any lift truck purchase. Compare the size of the batteries. Vendors often use smaller, less expensive batteries, with a weighted spacer in the battery compartment. Then determine if you are being quoted the same quality of brand. Low quality batteries can create a maintenance nightmare for electric lift trucks in the long run.
- Forklift Options – A seasoned account manager will take the time to learn your operation and determine which forklift options are of value to you. For example, a lift limit with bypass may be included so operators minimize the risk of hitting the roof, where it slopes in the corner. Other options may include a strobe light for visibility, or a reverse horn for awareness. There are many additional options to choose from, but an all too common approach is to quote the stripped down piece of equipment, as it is least expensive.
As you can see, there are many items to consider when purchasing a lift truck. Many customers will go straight to the bottom line and only compare sell prices. However, are you really comparing “apples to apples,” and should you really be looking for the least expensive unit, or the unit with the most value?
Find a supplier you can trust and takes the time to understand your operation. Have them develop your requirements and then go get comparative prices. That way, you are ensured of getting what you really need, at the best value.