3 Questions to Ask Before Renting a Forklift

Construction equipment rental is on the rise, and forklifts are no exception. If you're starting a construction project or you need something for regular use in your warehouse, do you know what to look for in a truck? Here are three general questions to ask before renting a forklift so you get the right one for the job. 

What kind of forklift do you need?

It's hard to know what kind of forklift you need without an understanding of how the different ones operate.

Industrial reach forklifts have a high lift capacity, so they're great for warehouses with high pallets. Some are stand-up models and are ideal for single-load bays, but they also come as double-deep models with extra-long forks if you have more than one load per bay.

Three-wheel forklifts are preferable in tight spaces as they provide a lot more maneuverability. But you can also look at a side-loader forklift with forks on the side of the truck. They're good for long or wide loads.

If you're doing outdoor construction on uneven ground, you'll probably want a rough-terrain forklift. They're incredibly sturdy and they can handle a lot of weight.

Telescopic forklifts are often mistaken for cranes. They're also generally referred to as cherry pickers, and they're used frequently in the agricultural industry to move loads that are otherwise unreachable with a regular forklift. They might also be used for trimming trees and placing construction items on top of roofs.

What are your required specifications?

To narrow down your options even further, you need to know if the forklift you rent will meet the requirements of the job. The following are some individual specifications:

  1. Fork height. Every forklift comes with a maximum fork height, so you need to know how high your products need to be lifted.
  2. Lift capacity. How much do your loads weigh? Exceeding lift capacity can cause the forklift to topple, injuring others and damaging your goods and the equipment.
  3. Fork length. How long are the loads to be carried? Fork lengths don't have to exceed the load length, but it's good to know the size of your product so you can check the specs on the desired forklift.
  4. Forklift height. Be aware of the dimensions of your warehouse and any overhead pipes or other obstructions. You don't want to rent a forklift that won't fit through the aisles or other parts of your indoor space.
  5. Other specs. Do you need a forklift with headlights? Do you need attachments like sideshifters or fork positioners? Be sure to ask the rental company if the forklift you're renting comes with any needed extras.

What will you be charged for?   

Most places charge by the day, week, or month, and the prices vary depending on a number of factors. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $750-$4,500 per month, with rates dropping for long-term leases. Specific things that can additionally affect the price include:

  1. Gas charges. If you rent a forklift with a full tank of fuel, be sure to refill it before returning it so you aren't assessed additional fees.
  2. Batteries. If you rent a battery-powered forklift, you may need to rent extra batteries so you don't have to stop working when the battery dies. You'll also need to rent the charger unless you have your own.
  3. Delivery charges. If you can't pick up and return the forklift on your own, you'll pay extra for delivery.
  4. Cleaning fees. Make sure to clean your truck before returning it so you aren't assessed cleaning fees.
  5. Operator training. If you or your employees need to be trained, a lot of rental companies offer classes. OSHA doesn't require certification, but everyone who will be driving the forklift should be trained on how to safely use it.