Motorised scissor lifts are tremendously versatile and practical pieces of equipment, and their ability to raise both workers and cargo on their platforms simultaneously makes them particularly useful for the garden centre industry. Stacking, shelving and storing bulky earthenware pots, heavy bags of compost, large mature shrubs and other unwieldy objects can be far easier and safer if your employees have a scissor lift at their disposal.
However, not every scissor lift is well suited to the unique demands of working in a garden supply centre, and whether you intend to purchase or hire a new scissor lift, you should ensure the model you choose is up to the task. To help steer you in the right direction when choosing your lift, keep the following questions in mind:
Is your garden centre predominately indoors or outdoors?
The vast majority of motorised scissor lifts are powered by either conventional petrol or diesel engines or electric motors, and while both power sources have their pros and cons, the power source you choose will largely depend on how your garden centre is structured. If most or all of your garden centre is located on an outdoor plot, a diesel-powered scissor lift is your best bet; they are cheaper to hire and buy and tend to have a higher maximum load than their electrically powered brethren.
However, the noxious emissions emitted by petrol- or diesel-powered scissor lifts make them unsuitable for use indoors, so indoor garden centres should stick to electric scissor lifts even if the building is well-ventilated. Most electric scissor lifts, while not as powerful as liquid-fuelled alternatives, still have more than enough oomph to deal with the loads they will be expected to carry, and finding ready sources of electrical power in an indoor location will not be a problem.
How high will your scissor lift need to raise workers and cargo?
Scissor lifts can also be divided into two groupings depending on the maximum heights of their lifting platforms. Low-level scissor lifts generally top out at around 20 meters, while high-level scissor lifts can reach heights of 30 metres or more depending on the model you choose.
Low-level scissor lifts are generally capable of handling the lifting requirements of most garden centres and are generally cheaper and more mechanically reliable than high-level scissor lifts. However, you may wish to invest in a high-level lift if your garden centre is particularly large or attached to a warehouse or distribution centre that stores garden supplies for several centres, as you may be required to stack items on particularly high shelves, especially during overstock periods.
Should you choose an all-terrain scissor lift?
All-terrain scissor lifts are pretty self explanatory; they are fitted with chunky off-road tyres and powerful, high-torque engines that allow them to traverse unpaved and uneven terrain more easily. If you run a conventional garden centre that is mostly or entirely paved and floored, these all-terrain lifts are generally unnecessary.
However, all-terrain scissor lifts can be more useful for specialised garden centres, such as centres that grow their own plants and trees or centres that use demonstration gardens to show off their wares, as these centres tend to have larger sections of unpaved ground. They are particularly useful for garden centres with attached tree nurseries, as they can be driven onto unpaved plantations and used to maintain and prune mature trees before they are sold.