Renting Vs Buying A Forklift

16 Feb 2016


Forklifts can be either hired for short and long term periods or purchased, depending on the customers needs. When considering whether it is the best option for you to purchase or rent a forklift, a number of important factors come into play. So after weighing up the financial aspects, maintenance and upkeep, frequency of use and safety requirements, should you buy or rent a forklift? This post discusses some of the pros and cons of each.

Upfront costs:

One of the benefits of renting over buying is that there are no large upfront costs involved. Purchasing a material handling equipment of any kind is going to set you back a significant amount. These large upfront expenses can be avoided by renting the forklift only for the required period of time. Don’t forget to consider the fact that frequent renting will eventually catch up to the purchase amount.

Maintenance expenses:

In most cases, rented equipment is maintained by the supplier. These costs may include anything from tax costs, registration fees, mechanical upkeep, general maintenance, and the asset depreciation. Something else factor in when renting a forklift is that you are usually expected to return the equipment in the same condition that you received it. This means you must be more cautious of external scratches, dings and dents which are fairly likely to occur on any worksite.

Safety issues:

An extremely important requirement when owning a forklift is ensuring it meets the minimum safety standards. If you own the equipment, you are responsible for the necessary safety upkeep, whereas if renting, the supplier is typically responsible.

Safety is always a possible issue with any kind of industrial vehicle or materials handling equipment. The mechanical and physical standard of the equipment must be maintained as it gets progressively older. Forklifts have a recommended life cycle and usage expectation, and when owning the machine, you may be more inclined to continue use beyond this cycle for financial convenience. Safety and reliability should always be considered above cost.


Renting a forklift offers more flexibility than buying. If your business undertakes a diverse variety of jobs, it is possible that certain models may perform better for certain tasks. Purchasing your vehicle likely enhances reliability, though you would typically own fewer, or even only one model. Having the ability to switch up your equipment based on the specifics of a task could prove very convenient for the productivity of your business.

Whether it is better to rent a forklift or buy a forklift is completely specific to the needs of your individual business. Consider these factors when making the decision, but be sure to speak directly to an industry professional for advice before making any purchases. Good luck with your decision!


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