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Startup forklift service company
  • adept
  • Colorado, United States
I have been throwing the idea around of starting a forklift/industrial battery service company and was wondering if anybody that has done this has any advice. What did you not expect, were you successful, how much money was needed to start up? Any advice or suggestions are welcome and greatly appreciated.
  • Posted 21 Oct 2009 12:11 PM
Total replies: 13. Showing items 1 - 13 of 13 results.
Hey Adept
We started approx 3 years ago and the start up cost was about $10K for the first year. We bought two old vans for $900 and did the heavy diff swap and paint ourselves. The workorders (Invoices, IC & Electric pm, LDI) and of course the biz cards, printer, laptop, office accounting programs etc... are where the real money was spent. We also bought a box of shirts, embroidered coveralls, pens to hand out and golf prizes as we grew. I visited every customer that I'd ever met the first month and gave out cards. We followed up with a monthly newsletter to keep customers informed of our progress as we grew. We now have well over 100 forklifts that we service and we treat our customers like family. Last year we took all our customers to supper and had one big party. nobody abused the open bar and it was a total success. This year was not so good but we blame a weak economy for the slow down. All indications are that things have turned around and next year will be back on track. One other thing, get a good accountant for sound advice and help come tax time. Good Luck!
  • Posted 23 Dec 2009 10:15 AM
  • adept
  • Colorado, United States
Thanks for the input. I am still unsure if what I am going to do. I have 2 kids and only 3 years of experience and do not want to put that kind of pressure on my family. Although your input is extremely valuable I am not quite ready to take the risks involved.
  • Posted 23 Dec 2009 01:42 PM
I was in the same boat but with a lot more time under my belt and fairly loyal list of customers. It is a big risk. The insurance is expensive, etc... but after a few years it really pays off. You need to actually do a mock up on paper and price everything out first to see if you can swing it. I wished I'd had some schooling in it but maybe it worked better that I didn;t know how hard it was going to be. The lack of scheduled holidays *** sometimes too but the money is awesome baby! Pay attention to how your current boss does biz and make notes on his mistakes and save this for your own venture. Good Luck!
  • Posted 23 Dec 2009 09:50 PM
I spent 10 years as a road tech at dealerships and then went out on my own. One big account that I was doing loved me but didn't like the management of the dealership I worked for and reassured me that they would be my first customer.
25 years later and I'm still doing it. A one man forklift service company that does most everything right at the customers place, motor removal, tranny jobs, mast repairs, etc.
I just needed a truck and I few hundred dollars for special tools to get going. Insurance may be a shocker, but mine has come down over the years.
The cons: I have to do everything by myself no matter how physically or mentally difficult it is. I have laid awake at night wondering how the **** am I going to get someone's forklift going again after just spending the afternoon trying to figure out what's wrong and not getting anywhere, but things have always worked out the next day. I also worry about my customers having a accident. I think there has been 3 that I remember, 2 smashed fingers and a real bad smashed foot from a stand-up truck. No law suits against me, thank God. I also don't get a vacation so I just do 4-5 days off at a time. I've had other companies fill in for me when I'm gone.
The pros: I'M FREE. I do what I want, when I want. Nobody tells me nothing. I work an average of 6 hours a day. My customers love me and are my personal friends. I make a good living at it, all the money that comes in is mine.
The advise I would give is if you're going to fix forklifts, you better know how to, or have someone that does. Like I said, I spent 10 years doing it before going out on my own. You can have my company in 5 years because I'll be all done doing this then !!
  • Posted 23 Dec 2009 10:40 PM
  • • Modified 23 Dec 2009 11:01 PM by poster
Hey Adept -looks like you may have a good mentor here!
  • Posted 24 Dec 2009 10:47 AM
We have been is business for 30 years now and have grown to include rentals, construction equipment, telehandlers, manlifts and more. if i could offer any advice in addition to the other good input, it would be to sit down and decide what you want your company to end up as. ie. do you want to stay a single man operation with some office support from home maybe? or how big do you want to get? if you get lots of work, can you deliver the repairs timely enough to keep all your customers happy?
  • Posted 1 Jan 2010 04:27 AM
  • dutch
  • California, United States
With lift truck manufacturers increasingly going the way of proprietary ECM's etc., probably not a smart time to get into this type of business. 5 - 10 years from now you will be completely locked out by manufacturers and authorized dealers, as you will not have access to service software as an independent.

Rom. 10:9-10
  • Posted 27 Apr 2010 09:15 AM
Any input on options or availability of service software, where could we get them. we are facing difficulty in getting software for Toyota Electric & Crown.
Any advice & leads will be appreciated
  • Posted 13 Jan 2011 10:58 PM
Go to Liftow and Ryder and line a mechanics pocket with money -beer works too!
  • Posted 13 Jan 2011 11:18 PM
[url removed] we'll never be "locked out by manufacturers" for long anyways. I hate that dealer mentality. Remember David vs Goliath? ha
  • Posted 14 Jan 2011 09:30 PM
Try to network meet some "partners" in the business that can help you get things started, you help them they help you kinda deal.

Free Quotes from Multiple dealers
  • Posted 21 Jan 2011 03:33 AM
  • adept
  • Colorado, United States
Here we go... Nervous as heck right now.
  • Posted 3 Feb 2011 11:19 PM
Good Luck!
As the follow the Japanese taught me the Plan - See - Do approach can help you be successful.
Set a Plan execute the Plan - See (measure) the results - Do it again or make adjustment to the Plan and start the process over again and never stop the process as you will always face changes (competition, economy, etc. etc.) over again.
Without a plan or target any level of performance is successful and/or acceptable.

"Have An Exceptional Day!"
  • Posted 4 Feb 2011 03:16 AM
Total replies: 13. Showing items 1 - 13 of 13 results.

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