Choosing a manufacturer and dealer is a critical a step in the whole car lift purchasing process. While low-quality manufacturers or dealers might be able to offer you a cheaper price, the person you want to do business with will be able to give you a higher level of customer service, a better buying experience and a much lower overall cost of ownership.
Shopping around is always an excellent strategy, regardless of anyone’s guarantees. Finding key information about the manufacturer and the dealer should take little more than a Google search. If a brand name or product is worth being proud of, companies will overwhelm you with detailed information and have it prominently displayed where everyone can see it. If instead a dealer or manufacturer forces you to call in for more information, then it’s likely a technique to just get you on the phone. Other information such as manufacturer of origin, company reputation, ALI / ETL membership status and customer support numbers should all be equally simple to find.
Experience can also make all the difference. The longer a company has been in business, the more opportunities it has had to perfect its art and make a name for itself. The world of automotive lifts is very competitive, so the fly-by-night companies are unable stay in business long. Where does that leave all of their customers for support and parts? Don’t be caught in that trap. Take a hard look at how long the company’s doors have been open. That goes double for a car lift manufacturer.
See What Others Say
It’s also a good idea to speak with other hobbyists or shop owners who own and operate car lifts on a daily basis. Who do they buy their automotive lifts from? Why? The internet is an incredibly powerful resource and has given voice to formally silent consumers. Searching car enthusiast and mechanic message boards is a great strategy for getting first-hand information about the product, the dealer and the manufacturer.
Another solid strategy is to check out Ripoff Report to see if anyone you’re planning on doing business with has been accused of shady dealings in the past. Ripoff Report isn’t a definitive source for reliable consumer information, but it may make you think twice.
In State vs. Out Of State
Sometimes you’ll find that the right dealer for you is outside of your state. Don’t be intimidated; many car lift owners have discovered that there are tangible benefits to purchasing their garage equipment out of state.
When you purchase a lift outside of your state, local sales tax no longer applies to the purchase. This can mean big savings for the consumer, especially if the dealer offers free shipping.
After Sales Support
How the dealer and manufacturer act towards you after they have your money in hand is one of the most telling signs of a company’s priorities. Find out how comprehensive their customer service is. Do they provide inspection and maintenance for their auto lifts, or do they refer you to someone else? These questions are important to ask before you decide to buy.
Without regular maintenance, your car lift will age three times as fast as a well-serviced unit. Shop owners know that when their automotive lift malfunctions, every minute is revenue lost. You need a dealer that recognizes the importance of timely, courteous support and will respond accordingly to each situation.
It should be noted that few dealers will service the equipment they sell. Instead, the car lift manufacturer should contract with local installers and service centers to make sure a qualified specialist is nearby to handle your maintenance needs.
The qualifications of the actual technicians who will be servicing and repairing your car lift are worth taking a look at. See if you can meet them before money changes hands. Make sure they are factory trained and close enough for quick-response, regardless of whether you’re going to buy your new car lift through a distributor or a manufacturer.
You can find more great tips on choosing a car lift dealer or manufacturer here.
Your Final Answer
Reputable manufacturers and dealers will provide you with nearly identical tips contained in this car lift buyer’s guide. If the information doesn’t match up, buyer beware! The car lift dealer or manufacturer should ask you about your specific automotive lifting needs, where you plan on installing your car lift and any special circumstances you might have before they give you their recommendation. Aggressive salesmen may try to upsell you on a much larger capacity car lift or hastily explain that their square peg fits all round holes. But by now you know better.
If possible, see if someone in the organization is willing to come out and inspect your proposed automobile lifting bay. Not only will this give the dealer a solid idea of what your specific situation is, but you’ll also get to meet him or her face to face.
As soon as you have narrowed down your list of manufacturers and dealers, it’s time to start gathering quotes. This is also the time to look into what is included in each proposal. Make sure you get quotes for warranties, maintenance plans, training, installation and finally delivery from each dealer. Keep organized notes, so it’s easy to compare the different prices in the next step.