How to Get Maximum Trade-in Value for your Forklift

Finding a Maximum Trade-In Value Forklift

There is an older used-forklift sitting in the back of your shop. You thought about selling it, but you also pondered trading in the unit for a competitive forklift. Maybe you read our “5 Reasons Why You Might Want to Trade In your Forklift,” or maybe you know this is the path you want to take. Either way it is important to maximize your total trade-in value to get the most competitive-branded forklift or profit. Here are several ways to make sure you will receive a maximum trade-in value forklift.


What year is your forklift? Just like a brand new car, a forklift’s value depreciates as soon as it leaves the factory and enters your fleet. A forklift from 1980 might have little to no value, and most likely will not provide you an opportunity for a nice trade-in. However, a forklift only 10 years old can still be profitable.

Hours on Unit

The amount of hours used by a forklift goes hand-in-hand with its age. A forklift with a high amount of hours is going to have a lower resale value than one with a low amount of hours. A key number to focus on is 10,000. A forklift with less than 10,000 hours will have a higher trade-in value than one with 20,000 hours. Click here for guidelines surrounding a forklift’s age.

Fuel Type

There are different types of forklifts and many have different sources of fuel. The most common are propane, diesel and electric. The LP (liquid petroleum gas or propane) units are the least valuable due to its excessive accessibility in the market. Gasoline powered units, although cheaper with upfront purchasing, have higher costs in both fuel and maintenance, but drives a stronger value in the marketplace. Electric units are the most valuable trade-in units. But there are some considerations, is the battery included and does it carry a charge? Is there a charger with the unit that helps the battery hold a charge and operate? If so, you have a very valuable piece of equipment. Yet, if the battery and charger are dead, then the forklift is dead.

Appearance of the forklift

The proper appearance will generate the first valuable impression of your forklift. It seems simple, but the look of your forklift can really be a difference-maker when it comes to fulfilling maximum trade-in value. Make sure you clean, paint, and fix as many dents, scratches and rust as possible. The more you are able to make your forklift look brand new, the better the value. Now, there are many times this is not as probable. These are machines and damage is likely. If you are unable to clean or fix the physical issues, you still can get a good value if your forklift works properly. Just be ready to describe what instances caused the physical damage to your forklift.


The last factor to consider is the maintenance or service costs your forklift has possessed over the years. A forklift that is kept well-maintained can expect a much higher value than one that is barely running. Before you decide to trade-in your machine, have a TMHOH technician come by for a tune-up. Our service technicians will be able to give you a quick diagnostic of the forklift and provide an idea for what value your forklift will dictate on the market.

So, if you are planning on trading in your forklift, please remember these several tips. Maintain it well, keep the appearance clean, check the hours, understand the fuel type and lastly provide information about its age. Prepare to trade your forklift in or let it go before the 10,000 hour/10 year mark. Older forklifts are not typically worth as much because the lifts have a difficult time meeting EPA standards. Thus, being considered a safety risk.

If you are still not sure about the benefits of trading in your equipment, check out our next article feature “Why a Trade-In can be better than selling or wholesaling.”

If you have a piece of equipment ready for a trade-in, please contact us. Currently, we are running a promotion. The “Trade Up To Toyota Sales Event.” If you trade in any sit-down competitive forklift, you will receive a $2,000 factory rebate. Click here to check out the promotion.

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