What You Need To Know Before Renting Your First Forklift

by Mark Wilson, on January 26, 2024 at 3:49 PM

What You Need To Know Before Renting Your First ForkliftWhether you have a job that requires specialized equipment, need to temporarily expand your fleet, or simply want to try before you buy, a forklift rental is a cost-effective alternative to ownership. But renting a forklift isn't quite as simple as renting a car. Here's what you need to know before you rent a forklift for the first time.

Forklift Rental: What You Need to Know

What size forklift do you need? 

Do you need to rent a small forklift or a big one? Or maybe something in between...

The forklift dealer can help you choose the best rental forklift for your operation, but they'll need to know:

  • How much weight do you need to lift?
  • How high do you need to lift your lightest load?
  • How high do you need to lift your heaviest load?
  • Do you need to lift anything that isn't secured to a pallet?

Forklifts have different lifting heights and capacities. How much a forklift can lift changes with the lift height. Additionally, forklifts generally use forks designed to lift pallets. However, there are lots of specialized attachments that allow them to lift specialized loads.

What is the working environment?

Where you plan to use your rental forklift makes a big difference. For example, diesel forklifts produce fumes that can be harmful in indoor facilities that handle food. Likewise, some forklifts are better equipped to handle cold environments (such as refrigerated facilities) than others.

When discussing your rental forklift needs with your dealer, come prepared to answer the following:

  • Will the forklift be used indoors, outdoors, or both?
  • What types of surfaces will the forklift traverse? Dirt? Polished cement? Asphalt?
  • How wide are your warehouse aisles?
  • What are the height restrictions in your facility?

Knowing this information will ensure your forklift rental is up for the job.

How long will you need the forklift?

You can rent a forklift by the day, week or month. The most common forklift rental period in Washington state is about two months. Generally speaking, renting for a longer period reduces the average daily cost.

Forklift Rental Responsibilities

Every dealership has a different rental agreement. Make sure you understand each party's responsibilities, including insurance, training requirements and maintenance.

Forklift rentals typically include a service plan that covers most routine maintenance. However, some parts may be excluded from that plan, making them your responsibility to replace or maintain.

Operator Training

Per OSHA regulations, no one can operate a forklift without proper training. Your operators must have the appropriate training, including any refresher training, for the forklift(s) you rent.

It's your responsibility to know what training your operators currently have and schedule any additional training they may need. That said, a reputable dealer can usually provide any required training for the forklifts they rent.

Avoid Two Common Delays

The two most common hold-ups in any rental process are the credit application and delivery of the forklift. To avoid delays:

  1. Have your credit application ready to go.
  2. Communicate clearly with the dealer where you want your rental delivered.

Those sound like easy things to avoid (and they are). But these issues are surprisingly common. 

Research the Forklift Rental Company

Your forklift dealer should be a trustworthy partner who anticipates your needs and makes the forklift rental process as smooth as possible. Unfortunately, not all dealers are created equal. Some untrustworthy operators offer poorly-maintained forklifts at rock-bottom prices. Others take advantage of first-time renters by renting whatever they have left on the lot.

Before you rent a forklift, read reviews, ask around and contact potential dealers for answers to the following questions:

  • How long has the company been renting forklifts?
  • Do they have references they can share with you?
  • How large is their rental fleet?
  • What condition is their rental fleet in?
  • How old are their forklifts?

Mid Columbia Forklift has been supporting business in Washington State since 1978. Our extensive fleet of rental forklifts are exceptionally well-maintained we have a variety of large, small and specialized forklifts to meet many needs. We also offer flexible financing on both short-term and long-term rentals. To learn more about our forklift rental options, contact us online or visit one of our locations throughout Washington State.

Auburn 253-854-5438
Pasco 509-547-7413
Wenatchee 509-663-9009
Yakima 509-457-5137

Further Reading
How to Plan for Your Seasonal Forklift Rental
Rent Vs. Buy – Do You Know The Magic Number?
Forklift Purchasing Options: Buy, Lease, or Rent

Forklift Rental - WIDE

Topics:ForkliftForklift Rental

About This Blog

Material handling articles to help answer the questions you have about forklifts, aerial equipment, utility vehicles, warehouse optimization, and safety.

Download Forklift Leasing Options eBook

Subscribe to Updates

New call-to-action