How to Evaluate Labor Rate

Are you looking for the cheapest forklift labor rate out there? Are you shopping for the lowest number? Are you looking at other metrics when you evaluate forklift repair? Let’s explore the right way to evaluate labor rate. 

The labor rate is the hourly charge to maintain and repair a forklift. As you might expect, rates vary between repair companies. What is often misunderstood is how to evaluate a rate to determine which is the best value. 

First of all, what is included? At Allied Toyota Lift, we include:

  • Warranty on repairs – Ask your non-Toyota Dealer Repair technician what their warranty is on the quoted repair before awarding the business. It should be important to your evaluation. Note that the Toyota Warranty covers both Parts and Labor for 2 years, when installed by an Allied Toyota Lift Technician, which is unmatched in the industry.
  • Onsite repair – We come to you. You do not have to bring your unit to the dealership as you would your car.
  • Professional van – Our vehicles are safe, fully marked, and well maintained.
  • Van parts inventory – Each van is stocked with thousands of dollars’ worth of parts. We invest in this parts inventory in order to maximize the chances that our tech can fix your unit right then. In fact, we measure First Time Fix Rate for every road technician. Last month, we completed 84% of our service calls
    on the first day!
  • Offsite parts inventory – For the less common instance where your repair parts are not on the technician’s van, we maintain a $1 million parts central inventory. And if our warehouse does not have it, 99% of parts can be obtained with a 1-day turnaround from Toyota… even for non-Toyota units. 
  • Trained technician – Our technicians are certified by Toyota after hundreds of hours of specialized training. We have three trainers on staff who ensure that every technician is qualified to maintain and repair your equipment.
  • Professional technician – Techs wear stylish Toyota uniforms and are trained to operate safely
  • Experienced technicians – our technicians average over 10 years of forklift repair experience. Our trainers and parts/service managers average over 25 years’ experience. 
  • Toyota Advantage – All our technicians have access to Toyota diagnostic support and the Toyota hotline. Additionally, every technician works side-by-side with our Field Service Coordinator several times each year to ensure that each technician’s procedures are up to Toyota standards 
  • Paperless service system – Our technicians use internet connected tablets to access all customer information including forklift history and parts lists. This speeds up the billing process and makes same day parts ordering a breeze.


We often hear from folks that wished they hadn’t chosen the cheaper repair guys. Here’s why…

Cheaper labor rates might mean:

  • Technicians with limited capabilities and inadequate parts 
  • Unsafe maintenance and repair procedures
  • Slow, expensive, incorrect diagnoses
  • High equipment downtime due to repairs taking several days
  • Lost time and more expense due to poor quality repairs performed several times
  • Costly repairs due to inefficiency of a poorly trained technician

Let’s look at an example of two labor rates. 

                            Cheaper Guys:                         Allied Toyota Lift:

Diagnosis…               1.5 hours                                            1.0 hour 

Parts acquisition…   2.0 hours                              0.5 hours (parts on van)

Perform repair         1.5 hours                                              1.0 hour 


                                   5.0 hours                                       2.5 hours

Warranty                     Any?                               Two Years on Parts & Labor


So, even though the quoted labor rate might be cheaper with another company, Allied Toyota Lift will do the repair work correctly the first time and provide a 2-year warranty, which will guarantee your company will save money and reduce downtime. That is the best deal.

Need help evaluating what labor rates work for you? Contact Allied Toyota Lift today. We’re happy to talk you through it. 

Best Practices for Forklift Battery Maintenance & Handling

Maximizing the economic life of a forklift battery is highly dependent on maintenance procedures and maintenance frequency. Few companies have mastered those maintenance processes to their own satisfaction and the resulting shortfall is costly.  Below are starting points for you to develop your own “best practices”.

Proper Handling

Forklift batteries are very heavy and are always dangerous when being moved outside of the forklift in which they are installed.  Educating associates in proper handling techniques are critical.  Insist on having your forklift supplier and/or your battery supplier provide OSHA Certified training on battery handling “best practices”.  A brief outline is below:

  • Use dedicated and customized equipment, such as a walkie pallet with a transfer carriage installed, to maneuver the battery. Even the lightest forklift batteries weigh hundreds of pounds.  Larger batteries weigh several tons.  No single person should attempt to move a forklift battery. Always task 2 or more folks and they should be wearing steel toe shoes and eye and hand protection.
  • Position eye and hand washing stations nearby battery changeout areas. Batteries contain sulfuric acid and any splashes of liquids should be neutralized quickly.  And should be reported to safety team management.
  • Because of the Sulfuric Acid water mix in a battery protective gear should be worn during any maneuvering of batteries. Chemical-resistant gear should also be worn to protect skin and clothing. You can obtain the correct safety glasses, gloves, and from your local forklift dealer and/or battery dealer.
  • Remove watches, metal jewelry, necklaces, and body piercings when handling and charging or servicing batteries.

Proper Charging

Maximizing battery life is about charging at the right time and for the right amount of time. A brief outline is below regarding tips about charging your forklift battery:

  • Battery Charging areas should be well lit and well-marked. This is an OSHA-recommended best practice.
  • Lead acid batteries can develop a “memory” and should be charged only when they drop below 80 percent depth of discharge. Charging prior that point can result in reduced battery life depending on the type of battery.  No battery should be over discharged.  That would be below 20% of capacity.
  • Over watering your battery can cause it to overflow.  Take time to neutralize the overflow and then dispose of the waste product in a safe container.  Keeping your battery clean after a spill/overflow will help prevent corrosion and extend battery life. Any spill that reaches the floor should be reported to the Safety Management Team at your facility.
  • Batteries, and the charger paired with them, should be matched and approved by your local forklift or battery vendor. Matching the charger should include verifying the voltage/amperage needs of the battery and the capabilities of the charger and the facility power supply. One method used to help simplify the matching process involves color coding the connectors between the battery and charger.  Additionally, clearly labeling the chargers prevents operator confusion. Proper training is also important and should be done no less than annually.
  • Older and obsolete chargers can allow for overcharging the battery. Modern chargers have battery management systems that will prevent overcharging. Ask your battery vendor or forklift supplier to review your equipment for modern safeguards so you can weigh the risks.  A $7,000 battery can be ruined by an obsolete charger.  A modern charger is more efficient and can cost as little as $2,500.  A great investment in productivity and safety.
  • Battery charging areas need to be in areas with approved temperature ranges. Extreme cold or heat can cause reduced service life and longer charging times. Battery types (lithium, lead acid, etc.) and charging requirements may vary.  Contact your forklift vendor or battery vendor for the approved charging temperature range.
  • Water of batteries should be done after the charging cycle. Adding water to a wet-cell lead acid battery prior to the charging cycle the battery will often result in creating spills. If available pure/distilled water should be used and the watering should occur after a full charge cycle to bring the electrolytes to the proper level. If the water level is not visible to the person charging the battery the battery should not be charged. You should contact your forklift vendor or battery vendor for remedial steps.
  • Modern chargers (less than 10 years old, most commonly) will not create “safety hazard events” if plugged in or removed from being plugged in improperly.  Older chargers will require you to ensure that the charger is turned off before connecting/ disconnecting the battery.

Need someone to review your battery charging and care operation for OSHA compliance and safety? Contact the professionals at Allied Motive Power today!

The Unique Allied Toyota Lift Maintenance Plan

Our first two blog posts in the maintenance plan series, Part 1 and Part 2, walked you through what a planned maintenance is and what the benefits are. Our blog series continues this week  with our final planned maintenance post – Allied’s unique planned maintenance process.

Each forklift follows Allied Toyota Lift’s 3-part planned maintenance process.

  1. Operation – Does the technician uncover any issues while the forklift is being operated?
  2. Physical Inspection – Does the technician see any wear, tear, or replacements needed?
  3. Fluids & Filters – What can the technician check, add, or replace to make sure your forklift is running smoothly?

Allied’s technicians have been uniquely trained to follow a consistent process for planned maintenance. Using one of Allied’s state-of-the-art vans as home base, the technician drives the forklift from its location to the van. While driving the van, the tech completes the Operation checklist while in-use. This process allows the tech to experience the forklift in a real in-use setting, making sure any problems are detected and your unit is running in top-notch condition.

Once the tech reaches the van, the tech performs the physical inspection portion of the maintenance process. The focus of this portion is safety. Our techs have an inspection checklist unique to your unit, making sure that each and every part is checked. This keeps your forks the appropriate thickness, chains from breaking, and each and every part checked to prevent any accidents from happening.

Lastly, the fluids and filters are checked either adding or replacing as needed.

The forklift is driven back to its working home with the tech making sure its back to perfect working order.

Each of Allied’s technicians has an internet-connected tablet operating a paperless service system that gives them immediate access to the background and repair history of every unit they maintain. They also have online and telephone access to Toyota support for tough to diagnose problems. This paperless service system tracks this whole process electronically so there is a record of every maintenance and every part checked. Read more about our system here (link to past paperless blog post).

Allied’s technicians also have a voluntary turnover rate of only four percent per year. Our 39 technicians have a total of more than 325 years of experience with Allied (over 8 years on average), not counting experience prior to Allied. That’s a lot of experience coming to check on your forklift!

When signing up for planned maintenance, ask about their planned maintenance process. Do they have a checklist? What are they inspecting? What do they check for? What kind of technician will be performing the planned maintenance? With Allied Toyota Lift, you can be sure that we’re taking the steps to keep your employees safe and your forklifts running.

Want more information? Contact Allied Toyota Lift today.


Benefits of Planned Maintenance

Your forklift works hard. Reward it and keep it working hard for the years ahead.

Planned maintenance isn’t just a reward for your forklift, it is a reward for you. Planned maintenance helps alleviate the stress of surprise break-downs, costing you and your business money. It can also help boost your productivity.

Consider these additional benefits:

  • Helps reduce accidents due to component failure
  • The ability to budget for repairs
  • Better operational availability (The amount of time that the equipment functions as needed)
  • Increased safety
  • Increased efficiency
  • Your forklift will be properly maintained on a fixed maintenance schedule giving you the ability to plan ahead and adjust workload schedules
  • Maintenance plans can be financed with your purchase

With Toyota, you can also be rest assured that a technical expert will be servicing your forklift. Toyota has stringent training standards requiring numerous on-line and classroom courses. Training includes planned maintenance (PM) performance, IC and electric motors, mast operations/mechanics, electronic theory/systems, hydraulic concepts, model-specific operations/repair, safety procedures, and advanced diagnostics. The certification curriculum contains over 100 courses representing almost 200 hours of classroom time and another 100 hours of online training. All Allied maintenance/repair personnel have extensive mechanical education/experience before they are hired. They then achieve Toyota Certified Technician status within their first six months on the job and subsequently pursue Master Technician levels. With this level of training and expertise, you have peace of mind that your forklifts will continue to operate safely and with little downtime.


For more information about maintenance plans, contact Allied Toyota Lift today.

Planned maintenance – What is it?

What’s inspected during planned maintenance?

Toyota’s maintenance plans offer you unmatched peace-of-mind and protection of your investment. Toyota maintenance plans provide ongoing upkeep of your forklifts and help detect any problems before they turn into something that negatively impacts your business. Depending  on the maintenance program you choose – full maintenance or planned maintenance – you can rely on Toyota.

Planned Maintenance gives forklift owners the opportunity to be proactive and budget for repairs. Each time a forklift goes through Planned Maintenance at Toyota, the following things are inspected:

  • Mast, lift chains, forks, hydraulics
  • Running and braking system
  • Control system
  • IC engine or electric motor
  • Vehicle body and safety components

In addition to inspections of the above items, each forklift follows Allied Toyota Lift’s 3-part planned maintenance

1. Operation – Does the technician uncover any issues while the forklift is being operated?

2.Physical Inspection – Does the technician see any wear, tear, or replacements needed?

3.Fluids & Filters – What can the technician check, add, or replace to make sure your forklift is running smoothly?

All of our technicians are insured, certified, and are enrolled in Toyota developed technician classes that focuses on expert trouble shooting techniques that allow for quick identification of a problem and lift truck repair. Should you need to send your equipment to one of our shops for more complex forklift repairs, you can be confident that our state of the art facilities equipped with the latest diagnostic equipment will repair your equipment back to OEM factory specifications quickly.

Planned Maintenance is a thorough inspection made to keep your repair cost low and surprises minimal. For more information on Planned Maintenance, contact Allied Toyota Lift or visit our repair site here.

Look for our next blog post: What are the benefits of planned maintenance?


Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., Inc. (TMHU) recently launched a new AC-powered walkie pallet jack under the brand Tora-Max. The 4,000-pound lift capacity walkie, built for customers in search of an entry-level walkie, provides a simple solution and solid performance. The Tora-Max walkie has a target delivery time of four weeks or less and retails for $2,999.

The new product serves small businesses and hand pallet truck users who are ready to step up to powered equipment. Tora-Max also provides a solution to manufacturers with a “no forklift policy” on the plant floor. Tora-Max walkies are available now at Allied Toyota Lift.

“Tora-Max is the walkie for customers who want a fast, easy, turnkey solution,” said TMHU’s electric product planning specialist Martin Brenneman. “It’s the right no-frills product for the value buyer.”

The new Tora-Max walkie features include:

  • Single point watering system with tool-free cover removal for simple battery maintenance
  • On-board battery charger
  • Standard wet-cell battery pack
  • Standard turtle-mode button for pinwheel turning in a 93-inch space
  • Multi-functional control handle with ergonomic grips
  • 4 mph travel speed
  • 12 month, 1,000 hour, parts-only warranty

Other important benefits include:
1. Improved ergonomics, protecting the health of your workforce
2. Increased productivity of your workforce
3. Improved storage densities in your warehouse



About Tora-Max
The name Tora-Max is derived from the word Tora, which means tiger in Japanese. Max stands for maximizing productivity, which is the result of using an AC-powered electric walkie in many applications. To learn more about the new Tora-Max walkie pallet jack, visit

Forklift Abuse

Are you wondering if you have higher than average forklift repair costs? Do your forklifts seem to take a beating by your operators on a day-to-day basis? You may have forklift abuse happening in your workplace.

It’s not easy identifying forklift abuse, but with these tips and observations, you can cut down on costly repairs.

Common Causes of Forklift Abuse:

  • ISSUE: Substandard Floor Conditions
    • Description: Debris on the floor can cause damage throughout the forklift.
    • Tip: Make sure your floors are clean and dedicate a resource to monitoring floor conditions throughout the day.


  • ISSUE: Inappropriate Operating Practices
    • Description: Improper operator behavior such as impacts, pushing pallets, and losing control of your forklift can all lead to costly repairs.
    • Tip: Safety training is a great idea to address inappropriate practices and can help your operatorsunderstand better safety practices.


  • ISSUE: Unsafe lifting and traveling speeds
    • Description: Unsafe traveling speeds can cause accidents both on the floor and by raising heavy loads improperly.
    • Tip: Slow down while lifting loads, going around corners, and make sure to sound your horn.


  • ISSUE: Incorrect Equipment
    • Description: Incorrect equipment can cause premature wear, failures, inefficient usage, and high maintenance fees.
    • Tip: Not sure what equipment you need? Ask an expert to help you figure out exactly what you need for your unique job.


Most cases of forklift abuse can be prevented by properly training your operators with the appropriate safety procedures. Not only is it beneficial to your bottom line, it’s required by  OSHA! Allied Toyota Lift offers a comprehensive listing of onsite safety classes.

Toyota’s proprietary T-Matics system can also be a great monitoring tool for your business. T-Matic
s is a fleet management tool that tracks and reports operating behavior of the forklift and operator. No more wondering how,
where, or when your forklift is being used! Read our blog post here to discover more about our T-Matics program.

Want to find out more? Contact us today or visit our safety training page.

Forklift Safety: OSHA/CCOHS Forklift Training & Regulations

In a workplace environment, most employee injuries and property damage can be attributed to a lack of, or inadequate, training. A comprehensive forklift safety training program is one of the most effective ways to combat workplace injuries.

There are specific rules set forth by the Occupational Safety & Healthy Administration (OSHA) concerning forklift operator training and licensing.

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.178(1) requires that employers provide forklift operators training for vehicle inspection and maintenance. Operators must be over 18 years of age and be recertified at least once every three years.

Busiesses are required to develop and enforce a written program that includes, but is not limited to:

  • Forklift Operator training
  • Licensure
  • Review/renewal program

This is an OSHA requirement for every forklift operator within an organization. Every aspect of the forklift operation must be covered, from setting the parking brake to forklift speed.

Forklift training is available online; however, an operator cannot be certified to operate a forklift through an online course. OSHA certification requires:
1.Formal instruction in any combination: lectures, discussions, online courses, video presentation, written material

2.Demonstrations performed by a certified trainer and then exercises performed by the trainee

3.A thorough evaluation of the forklift operator’s performance on the job

OSHA has a 10-hour and a 30-hour forklift training. The 10-hour forklift training focuses on training the forklift operator and the 30-hour training is geared toward management, safety individuals, supervisors, and other individuals who are responsible for workplace safety. One of these trainings will be required for anyone who operates a forklift.

Allied Toyota Lift can provide your forklift operators with one-on-one forklift training onsite at your location or at our dealership. For more about our training options, visit our training site here or contact us today to schedule your safety training class.

Forklift Inspections & Pre-Operation Checklist

Material handling best practices, tips, information, and more


Forklifts are a common sight in many industries. Whether used in warehouses, manufacturing plants, retail applications or elsewhere, forklifts are crucial tools in the daily operations and supply chains of most businesses. Because of this frequent level of use, many operators and nearby pedestrians can become complacent regarding safety protocols. This complacency can have many ill effects, including asset damage, employee discipline, fines, injury, and even death.

According to the Operational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an average of 100  employees are killed each year in forklift accidents, and as many as 95,000 total forklift accidents occur on an annual basis. In many cases, these accidents are avoidable. While Toyota forklifts are carefully manufactured with safety top-of-mind, safety protocols must be followed correctly for operators and pedestrians to be protected.



Beyond behavioral causation, injuries and fatalities also stem from detectable equipment failure when employees do not properly inspect and assess equipment before use. Safety regulators, forklift manufacturers and many companies encourage that forklifts be inspected before operation, but these inspections are often neglected or poorly documented. Safety is an obvious reason that these inspections should be conducted regularly, and so is compliance – thousands of dollars in fines could occur based on failure to determine forklift safety prior to operation.

Protecting company reputation, finances, property and lives against this sort of failure and related accidents typically requires only one measure be taken – pre-operation forklift inspections carried out according to a thorough checklist. In addition to the safety and compliance related aspects of regular forklift inspections, there is also a cost-savings component related to proactive discovery of issues and predictive maintenance. Discovering problems, or festering problems, sooner helps limit and plan downtime and can be an easier, less expensive repair than a full blown issue. Creating and adhering to a pre-operation inspection regiment is not inherently difficult, but it does take continuous corporate support and a high level of operator discipline.



In its 29 CFR 1910.178 standard language, OSHA states that forklifts must be inspected either daily, or after each shift in cases where vehicles are in round-the-clock use. If problems are discovered, they must be reported and the forklift must be removed from service immediately. While there are no mandates in the standard as to precisely how the inspections
must be conducted, there are suggested best practices readily available.



If you do not have a pre-operational checklist for your forklifts established, do not worry – they are fairly intuitive. Manufacturers often provide sample checklists that are updated and customized as necessary. Referencing these directions are your best bet. If you wish to create your own checklist, though, the following is a list of the kinds of items that should be included:

  • Check fluid levels (oil, water, and hydraulic fluid, for example)
  • Check for leaks, cracks, and visible defects everywhere on the forklift
  • Check mast chains visually; avoid use of hands
  • Test mast chain tension by lifting the load backrest to eye level – the mast chains should be level and any tilting may signify stretching or broken rollers
  • Check tire condition, pressure, and look for any cuts or gouges
  • Determine fork condition, remembering to check the top clip retaining pin and heel
  • Ensure load backrest extension functions properly
  • Check functionality of finger guards
  • Ensure safety decals and nameplates are legible and match the forklift model
  • Check that the operators’ manual and log book are present and legible
  • Ensure the operators’ manual compartment is clean of debris
  • Test all functional safety devices, such as seat belts and horns
  • Check the brakes, steering controls and other operational items for proper function

Depending on the type of forklift you are using, there may be other propulsion-specific aspects to check:

Electric Forklifts 

  • There is no fraying or exposed wires in cables or connectors
  • Battery restraints are functional
  • Electrolyte levels are proper
  • The hood latch is operational

All Internal Combustion Forklifts

  • Engine oil and engine coolant levels are proper
  • Air filters are clean and in place
  • The radiator is free of cracks or other defects
  • The hood latch is operational

Liquid Petroleum Gas (LP) Internal Combustion Forklifts 

  • The tank is properly mounted, fits with the vehicle profile, has all restraints and brackets attached, and has no dents or cracks
  • No leaks can be detected
  • The pressure relief valve is facing upward
  • Hoses and connectors are attached and functional


Proper pre-operation inspection protocols are vital in helping avoid workplace injury, and they should not be difficult to manage.

Need help creating your own checklist? Contact Allied Toyota Lift today!

Commitment to Customer Service: Paperless Service System

Allied Toyota Lift has long had a commitment to the customer. Since our inception almost 50 years ago, we’ve stood by our superior products by using the best parts and technicians Toyota has to offer. Not much had changed over those 50 years in the service department…until now.

In 2017, Allied instituted EveryWare, a paperless service system. Saying goodbye to the days of paper work orders and manual updates, the service team now uses tablets and electronic information to manage their day-to-day service requests. Not only can technicians continue to provide that top-notch service you’ve come to expect from Toyota, but now it’s faster, more efficient, and better communicated to every customer we interact with.

The Paperless Service System is a field service solution for smartphones, tablets and laptops which completely integrates with Allied’s equipment management system. Technicians can use this service feeling confident that all the data behind it is up-to-date from Allied’s home office. Not only have the technicians noticed an increase in productivity, but our customers have noticed as well.


Check out just a few of the top benefits of the new paperless system.



Customer benefits of a Paperless Service System:


1.Faster service

  • Electronic work orders – Technicians can easily find work orders in the system. Whether it’s planned maintenance, repairs, or a search by customer name, information is accessed quickly and easily making for a faster service experience.

2.More efficient service

  • No lost paperwork – Because all of the information is electronically stored on the system, there is no more lost paperwork. Gone are the days of writing carbon copy work orders for our customer records.
  • Complete information at hand – Techs have all the information they need at hand. Where a phone call to home office asking for past service history used to be an everyday occurrence, now all it takes is a touch on the tablet for the tech to have everything he needs for the job.

3.Better information

  • Comprehensive equipment information – Everything about the units is accessible on one screen. Equipment information such as hours, warranty information, year, serial numbers, etc. are all easily accessed on one page. No more confusion about equipment details.
  • Complete service history – The unit’s complete service history is saved in one place. Now customers can see exactly what’s been done to each unit and when. What were the hours when it was last serviced? Is there a problem that continues to pop up on a unit? When was its last planned maintenance?
  • Parts history – Now technicians can see every part that has been replaced on a unit and when. Has that bypass hose been replaced more than once? Now we know to take a deep look.
  • Technician history – We can see who has worked on units and when.
  • Reason for service – Was the service for planned maintenance or for something unexpected? This helps build the story of how we can best service customer equipment.

4.Better communication

  • Parts requests – A request can now be done in the system instead of a phone call.
  • System “stories” – Techs can choose from thousands of pre-populated service issues to enter as service stories, cutting down on confusion or handwriting mistakes.

5.More consistent experience

  • Planned maintenance checklist – A checklist ensures equipment’s critical parts and processes are being checked every time.
  • Mandatory customer reviews – When techs review the checklist, customers have the option to reject, quote, or repair each service issue. This decision record is saved into the service history so there’s an exact record of what each customer chose to do and when.
  • Better quotes – With an exact understanding of the problem and parts involved, our quote experts can better address just exactly what needs to be fixed.

6.Faster billing

  • Because we have eliminated paper tracking, we can get you your bill faster. No more waiting on our invoicing department to shuffle around those work orders.

The Paperless Service System has allowed our service team to spend less time on administration and more time on servicing and maintaining our customer’s fleet of equipment. Allied is committed to our customers and this new system is just one more way we show customers how serious we are about service. Just like Toyota’s quality products, this new system is not easily replicated and we are proud to say is a unique way that we can serve our customers.

Find out more about our Paperless Service System or the repair services we offer by contacting Allied Toyota Lift today.