Five questions to ask before buying or hiring a forklift

Buying or hiring forklift for the first time can seem overwhelming, especially when you don’t know what questions you should be asking to get the answers you need. 

Asking the right questions at each stage of your forklift hunt can significantly increase your chances of getting the best value for your money and securing the right forklift for your business. 

To help get you started on your search for the perfect forklift, here are the answers to our top five most frequently asked questions. 

How do I know which forklift is right for my business?

From a first glance, deciding what forklift is right for your business can seem complicated. If you are buying or hiring a forklift for the first time, seeking one-on-one advice from an experienced dealer can help ensure their recommendations are tailored to your situation.

You can expect to be asked questions regarding your workplace conditions. This may include whether you will be operating the forklift indoors or outdoors, the type of terrain you will be navigating, the maximum load & capacity, aisle width and height you will need to reach. 

Once the forklift expert has a good understanding of your business, they can recommend a suitable forklift. Some forklift dealers offer free on-site consultations where they will inspect your workplace and advise you of the best machinery for your environment. 

In the meantime, our perfect match tool will provide a strong indication of which forklift model will best match your business needs.

How can I minimise the risks associated with a second-hand purchase? 

One of the most important decisions for a first-time forklift buyer is whether to purchase new or used. 

Buying a second-hand forklift can be significantly cheaper upfront, however, there are risks associated with second-hand purchase. This includes ongoing maintenance costs and an increased likelihood of a breakdown. To minimise the risks, we recommend buying from a certified forklift dealer and conducting thorough research before purchasing. 

When conducting your research, here are some simple things to keep in mind: 

  • Does the company promise regular safety checks? 
  • Does the forklift have visible damage, including cracks? 
  • Are the tyres still in quality condition? 
  • How old is the battery when buying an electric forklift?
  • Does the engine sound normal?
  • How long is the second hand warranty? 
  • What is and isn’t covered by warranty? 

Used forklifts always come with a service history report which lists the hours worked and the general condition of the forklift. No service history report is generally a red flag and will increase the likelihood of expensive future repair costs.

What safety guidelines do I need to be aware of? 

Each time you operate a forklift, you will need to conduct a pre-start safety check. This involves checking that both the forklift and any attachments are in peak condition. A pre-start safety check is necessary every time and involves checking the steering, brakes, operating controls, fluid levels and tyres.

Secondly, it is vital to be aware of the maximum lifting capacity for each forklift. The capacity is the maximum weight that the forklift can safely carry. This will be printed on the forklift itself or you can ask the forklift expert during the product demonstration. 

Lastly, you need to undergo adequate forklift training before you buy or hire a forklift. Training will ensure you understand all the necessary safety protocols. Frequently refreshing yourself and your work team on relevant safety procedures will help prevent forklift-related injuries. 

Do I need to do anything before I can buy or hire a forklift?

To be eligible to operate a forklift in Australia, you will need to have the correct forklift licence. A forklift license is your physical proof that you have completed adequate training and have a thorough understanding of the associated risks, safety precautions and operation procedures. 

There are two types of licenses, a Licence to Operate A Forklift Truck (LF) and a (LO) Licence To Operate An Order Picking Forklift Truck. If you already know which forklift you will be operating, you can view our recent blog post to find out which license you will need. 

Finally, before operating a forklift you will need to be familiar with the equipment’s capabilities and features. Take the time to understand how to maneuver your machine and recognise how to prevent any safety hazards. This includes wearing your seatbelt at all times.

What does the Hyworth ‘try before you buy’ option involve? 

Our ‘try-before-you-buy’ option is an opportunity to test out our fleet before you are locked into a purchase decision. In a nutshell, we will transport your chosen forklift to you and demonstrate operation in your workplace environment. You then can hire a forklift for a set length of time until you decide whether or not it’s right for you. This removes any uncertainty and gives our customers peace of mind. If you are unhappy with the equipment, you have the option to try a different model. 


The answers to our customers most frequently asked questions are designed to get your forklift search underway. For more personalised advice, call us today on 1300 499 678 or visit us at our Peakhurst location. Our team is always happy to answer any of your questions and can provide tailored advice. 

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On the hunt for a forklift?

Download your free guide to avoid being “ripped off”.