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Maximising Your Forklift Trade-in Value

Filed under: Used Forklifts

One end of life option available to forklift owners is to trade-in existing units towards new and more advanced equipment.

This blog looks at the factors that help determine and maximise a forklifts trade-in value.


One of the most common factors determining the trade-in value of a forklift is its age. Like most things, a forklifts value depreciates the older it gets. A unit that is only three years old will have a higher trade-in value compared to a fifteen-year-old unit. This is mainly due to the amount of work the forklift has done, obviously a fifteen-year-old forklift would have been operating for a significantly longer period than a three-year-old, and the wear and tear on the unit and its components will be significantly higher, leading to the possibility of significant servicing and parts replacement.
Factors such as these should be considered in order to bring the unit up to a safe operating standard by the dealer before they can resell the unit or the end buyer.

To assist in maximising the trade-in value consider succession planning for when you would like to trade-in an existing forklift at an age where it still has a significant amount of service life.

Fuel Type

With environmental concerns becoming more prominent due to issues such as global warming, the fuel type of your forklift can also have an impact on the trade-in value of a unit. With many owners and operators placing significant emphasis on corporate social responsibility and being seen to contributing to cleaning up the environment battery electric forklifts are the environmentally friendly option.

When it comes to trading in the more environmentally friendly option, a battery electric forklifts may have a higher value as opposed to older combustion engines that do not meet newer tighter engine emission standards enforced worldwide.

Operating/Niche Capabilities

A basic forklift with limited operating abilities limits the potential market of buyers it can be resold to. A forklift that can be used for a diverse range of purposes will have significantly higher trade-in value as it provides added value to the dealer or buyer when it is resold.

Niche capabilities such as the ability to work both indoors and outdoors, operate in narrow aisles or over rough terrain or to lift heavy loads with high lift heights can all increase your forklift trade-in value.

niche operating capabilities increase a forklifts trade-in value

Service History

Just like purchasing a second-hand car, a potential buyer places a higher emphasis on the service history of the vehicle, factors higly considered such as: has it been serviced regularly?, or has it been significantly damaged in an accident? play an important role in descision making.

When trading-in a forklift, dealers or potential buyers ask the same questions. A forklift that has been well maintained, operated correctly and serviced on a regular basis will have a significantly higher trade-in value as it means there is less repairs or servicing a dealer must complete before being able to resell the machine. For piece of mind as well, buyers are assured that the unit will function correctly and not have significant problems down the track that may lead to expensive repairs needing to be carried out, that’s if they purchased a well-maintained machine.

To maximise your trade-in value always have your forklift serviced at the manufacturers specified intervals by a qualified technician. Always ensure the unit is operated within it’s operational limits and avoid accidents.

regularly carried out maintenance and servicing ensures a forklifts functionality increasing its trade-in value


The first thing dealers and potential buyers see and evaluate when determining trade-in value is the unit’s appearance. A poorly maintained unit with dents or paint missing is not as visually appealing and will result in a lower trade-in value. This is due to the fact that the price any potential buyer willing to pay will decrease due to the poor appearance. Dealers will be less inclined to offer a high value as they will have to undertake repairs and spend money to fix or repaint the unit before they can offer it for resale.

Before attempting to trade-in your unit some simple smartening up of its appearance such as removing any minor dents or scratches as well as repainting the unit can lead to a significantly higher trade-in value.

a forklifts appearance greatly affects its trade-in value


If the unit is in a high demand area it will be easy for a dealer to resell the unit, compared to a low demand area. The ease with which a dealer can sell for profit will likely yield a higher trade-in value. In areas where there is low demand for second-hand forklifts, the dealer will offer lower costs due to payment of transport and the hasstle of moving the unit to a high demand area, and all this can be timely and costly. Another major factor to consider is the extended period of time in which the unit is idle where the value is depreciated over time.

Understanding the factors above across the life of your forklift can significantly improve the trade-in value of your existing unit.

If you are looking to update, upgrade or add additional handling capabilities to your fleet contact Adaptalift to discuss available options or to discuss the true trade-in value of an existing on 13 22 54 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

If you are looking to purchase a quality used forklift, Adaptalift have a significant range of used forklifts that cater to almost all materials handling requirements. Our full range of used forklifts can be found here.

Reference List

  1. Reddon, T. (2018). What Is Your Forklift’s Trade-In Value?. [Blog] National Forklift Exchange Blog. Available at: [Accessed 28 Feb. 2018].

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