Forklift Acquisition 101: Buying vs. Renting

Not sure whether to buy, rent, or lease a forklift? ExpressForklift.com is part of the U.S. Forklift Network, a forklift procurement company that operates dozens of dealer and broker websites for providers in every state. We have a nationwide network of dependable forklift dealers who are willing to compete for your business. Our service can help you analyze the various considerations a company should weigh before deciding whether or not they should rent or buy a forklift. We can help you find local dealers in your area and compare several quotes for the forklift sales and services you require.

Buying a Used Forklift

In many cases, good arguments can be made for having a combination of both new and used forklifts in a business. Good management will include decisions about short and long-range equipment rotation that involves both new and used forklifts. If your equipment planning includes the purchase of used equipment, what are some of the factors to consider?

Your initial consideration should be to determine how much usage the pre-owned forklift has gone through. The secret is not to just look at the age of the vehicle. Age is certainly an important factor, but the amount and nature of usage on the forklift is a better indicator because use equates with wear and tear. Ascertaining how much work – and what type of work – the forklift has performed in the past plays an important part in its overall operational capabilities and life expectancy. Try to purchase a used forklift from a company that has maintained some kind of use and maintenance log of its operational life. Was it used solely indoors in a warehouse? How heavy were its normal loads during its previous work life? How was it maintained?

If purchasing your used lift truck through a forklift dealer, your next hurdle is to find a reputable dealer that is selling equipment that is not outdated, nor forklifts that have been abused or neglected in their previous work life? It is generally recommended that the safer decision is to buy locally, but only after first doing your homework on the Internet to determine what is selling and at what cost, then go shopping locally. If you are augmenting your fleet of new machines with used forklifts, we recommend that you buy the same brand of used forklift as your new machines in order to economize on the maintenance and parts issues of both.

Be sure to check out the required safety equipment when examining your prospective used machine. Concentrating only on the operational, performance and productivity aspects of the vehicle, while overlooking the safety features, can still lead to purchasing a lemon. Bringing along a company operator to perform a test drive which includes a few basic high and low tasks is recommended. And when calculating your cost, remember also that transporting a forklift to your warehouse from a distance can prove costly, so try to include free delivery in the deal. Buying used forklifts means that you can get more for your money in terms of features than you would if you spent the same amount buying a new forklift.

By taking these few precautions you can enjoy peace of mind that you are buying a top quality piece of machinery that will not break down as soon as you take delivery. Another aid in preventing a poor choice of product would be to take advantage of the consumer advice available through the US Forklift Network’s multiple websites aimed at helping the Forklift purchaser make the right choice as an informed and knowledgeable consumer.

Buying a New Forklift

The decision to buy a new forklift is an important and expensive business investment. The first aspect of that decision is whether or not it will be “new” as in brand spanking new – off the showroom floor. The criteria for purchasing a brand new forklift are very basic and a bit different than buying a used forklift. Simply put, if your business only uses a forklift for a few hours or less a day, it would be more economical to buy a used forklift. That’s material for another article. Likewise, if your work requiring a forklift is seasonal, you may want to consider renting or leasing one. That, too, will be addressed in another article.

Once you decide on going with a new forklift, you have to settle on what type of forklift you need. Forklifts vary in brand, size and purpose. How much weight does the forklift need to lift? Always purchase a lift that can handle at least the heaviest load, even if you rarely lift that much weight. What is the maximum height the load will be lifted? Forklifts vary in how high they can lift a load. Again, think in terms of at least your maximum height. Will the forklift be used outdoors or indoors? Engine forklifts are typically used outdoors and electric lifts are used indoors. These questions only deal with the very basics of forklift ownership.

Once you’ve decided on your basic needs, a great way to continue your search is to navigate the US Forklift Network – particularly ForkliftArticles.com, to see the features of the leading Forklift manufacturers. After you’ve reviewed the appropriate models and their unique features and matched them with your needs, explore the “value added” benefits of going with a particular brand or dealership. Service, parts, operator training, and warranties play a big role in your final decision. Here, again, the US Forklift Network provides numerous resources to help you zero in on the best match for your company’s needs.

Renting a Forklift

You may consider renting a forklift rather than buying one because it requires a much smaller capital expenditure or you may just need some supplemental lift. Now what are some of the steps you should take before you make your final forklift rental choice? Your accountant will advise you to create a budget and plan of action which, in the long run, will save you money, time and headaches.

The basic prerequisites for your plan are to determine your weight capacity and lift height. While an average forklift has a 5.000 lb. weight capacity, you may find that you need a more customized capacity. Likewise, make sure you match the product that will be handled to the design of the equipment, because you may require special fork attachments to handle your product. Regarding the height, remember to approach the design of your potential rental forklift with the ability to lift the weight to the appropriate height within the limitations of your facility.

Other important considerations are related to the environment and ground surfaces the forklift will be driven on, as they make a difference in determining the type of tires the forklift will need. Required turning radius and minimum aisle width are important physical considerations that will also impact your choice of rental equipment.

You should next calculate a rental budget. It is not inexpensive to rent a forklift, especially on a daily or weekly basis. Be prepared to spend at least $100 per day for a standard 5,000 lb forklift. In addition to rental rate, there are also operating costs such as fuel (LP or Diesel). Calculate the amount of time the forklift is required to complete the job. The per-day rate is less when you rent for longer periods of time. Ask about overtime charges, too. The costs for most forklift rentals are based on a regular 8-hour day/40-hour week/160-hour month.

Before you finalize the deal, be sure to inspect the forklift. It is your responsibility to examine the forklift for signs of damage before you rent it. And be sure to read the rental agreement. Ensure you agree with all aspects of the rental agreement and keep a copy for your own documentation purposes. Also, check your personal or your company’s insurance policy to verify coverage. The dealer insures the equipment, but you or your company must cover the operator, other workers and the facility itself in case of an injury or property damage when using the rented forklift.

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