Your business might be in need of a forklift for operation. As with any large machinery, it can be costly to purchase a new or slightly used forklift in great condition. If you have spent hours researching how much forklift rentals are for your business, consider these figures.
On average, you should expect to pay $512 per day to rent a forklift. Some forklift may cost as much as $800 per day. On a monthly basis, you can expect to spend on average $2100. While the average timeframe for forklift rental is two months, the prices vary from $1,000-$3,200 per month depending on the size of the machine. There are numerous additional figures to include, such as delivery and take-away fees, damage fees, and operational costs. Aside from money, forklifts must be used safely, compiling with all legal safety regulations. There is a lot more to consider aside from rental costs.
- Average Forklift Rental Cost – Industry Standard
- Hourly Forklift Rental Rates
- Specific Examples
- Daily Rates vs. Monthly Rates
- What to Consider When Renting a Forklift
- Forklift Rental Basics
- The Benefits of Renting a Forklift
- Cons of Forklift Rental
- Types of Forklifts
- Why Renting is More Efficient
- Are You Ready to Rent a Forklift?
Average Forklift Rental Cost – Industry Standard
Holding other factors constant, the cost of renting one will depend on its capacity and how long you would like to have it.
Bearing these in mind, here are the industry average rental rates for forklifts:
Low Capacity Forklifts (3,000 to 5,000 lbs.)
The smallest of forklifts in the market today is capable of lifting between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds.
As such, these units tend to attack the lowest rental rates. With daily rental plans, you should expect to spend between $250 and $360 a day on such a machine.
The leading rental companies will charge you between $750 and $1,000 for such a forklift with monthly rental plans.
Medium Capacity Forklifts (6,000 to 10,000 lbs.)
As you can imagine, these are larger in size and even more powerful, as compared to the low-capacity forklifts. As such they will cost more to rent. On average, a medium-capacity forklift costs between $350 and $700 a week to rent.
Should you decide to opt for monthly rental plans, the leading providers will charge you between $1,000 and $2,000 per month. Some of the best forklift rental companies are also known to offer daily rental plans. In this case, you will be required to pay between $150 and $300 a day to rent the machine.
Large Capacity Forklifts (10,000 to 30,000 lbs.)
Machines within this range are some of the largest forklifts you can find today. This being the case, the various makes and models within the range come at higher rental costs. For instance, daily rental plans for these machines cost between $200 and $700 a day.
With weekly rental plans, most companies will charge you between $500 and $2,000 a week. For monthly forklift rental plans, machines with this capacity often cost between $1,500 and $4,500 a month to rent.
Hourly Forklift Rental Rates
While there are many forklift rental companies in the industry, only a few offer per-hour rental agreements. This is one of the reasons why they charge a comparatively high cost for such rentals.
For instance, you may need to rent a low-capacity forklift, say a 5,000-pound capacity forklift, for just a few hours.
Some of the leading rental companies would be willing to rent it to you for about $124 for an average of two hours. If you would rather rent a higher-capacity forklift on an hourly basis you should be prepared to spend more.
On average, a two-hour rental for an 8,000-pound forklift would cost you about $163 per hour. You should also read the agreement to know whether the company will charge you penalties if you happen to return the machine late. If so, the cost of renting a forklift will be higher for late returns.
Now that you know a little bit about forklift specs, we can examine the costs. Each cost will depend on a number of factors, mostly determined by lifting capacity.
For a 3,000-pound electric forklift, one might expect to pay $100-$150 per day, $350-$450 per week, or $750-$1000 per month.
Renting a 5,000-pound fuel-powered forklift would run you $175-$250 per day, $425-500 per week, or $1,200-$1,300 monthly.
An 8,000 pound diesel forklift may cost $225-$275 per day, $525-$575 per week, or $1,550-$1,650 per month.
Lastly, a 15,000 pound diesel forklift can run $400-$500 per day, $1,200-$1,300 per week, and $3,000-$3,200 per month.
The larger capacity you need, the more you’ll pay in the end. Forklifts heavier than 15,000 pounds tend to be the most expensive option. Always choose the rental option that is in the timeframe most realistic for your project.
These fees only represent rental fees and do not include other additional costs, such as:
- Delivery costs
- Pick up costs
- Damage fees
- Forklift operational training
The rates above are an average of nationwide forklift rental costs and may vary depending on a number of factors. None of the figures above are going to be exact, they are just meant to give a solid price range.
Daily Rates vs. Monthly Rates
As you can see from the rates listed above, it is much more cost-effective to rent a forklift for one month rather than four straight weeks. If you have an uncertain end date, pick a rental plan that covers the minimum and ask about the rental companies’ extension policy. That said, you’ll see hourly rates add up to the least cost-effective approach. The shorter the rent time, the higher the fee in total.
What to Consider When Renting a Forklift
Here are a few additional tidbits to think about before making your decision.
Forklift Truck Insurance is a great investment whether you rent or buy your forklift. It protects both you and your company from liability for worker injury or death while operating the machinery. The insurance will also pay for any potential property and equipment damage.
Length of Rental
Check with your local rental companies to see what timeframes they offer in regards to renting a forklift. Different dealers offer different deals, so choose one that best aligns with your specific project. If there is a chance you need a rental extension, go with a dealer that is okay with amending the terms.
Hiring a Trained Operator
To comply with official safety protocols, each forklift operator must be a trained professional. While there is not a license exclusively for forklift operators, they still need certification training before working on any project. These machines are heavy and can be dangerous, so you must be in compliance with every security measure.
Additional Damage Charges
Any damage sustained to machinery while under your rental contract is subject to additional damage charges. These damage charges are set by the dealers and may be higher than the cost of the actual repair. Ask your dealer about their specific damage fees. Be sure to include this potential charge in your budget.
Work with the Rental Company
The forklift rental company is there for you! Share as many project details as you can to ensure you have everything you need to complete your tasks. They can help you with details such as size, type of machine, and any other small details. They are the experts, after all.
In any project where a forklift is necessary, the operator must be legally certified to operate the machine. This certification includes attending several days of instructional classes, hands-on training, and passing a final exam of all material learned.
If you are hiring someone who needs this training before using the forklift, your business may be stuck with the training costs. Depending on your area, forklift certifications can range from $50-$200 per person.
Forklift Rental Basics
You will have to evaluate what will be best for your business; renting a forklift on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, or purchasing one.
All rental companies offer daily rates, weekly rates, or monthly rates, which will depend on the length of your project.
Maintaining a lift truck is a large and expensive responsibility. Many businesses choose to rent their forklifts to save on costs, especially if their needs are short-term.
If buying, a brand-new medium-capacity forklift starts at $32,000 with smaller capacities starting at $10,000. To comply with safety regulations, operators should complete forklift operator training before use.
Before giving more exact figures, we will need to examine the types and sizes of forklifts. The cost will depend greatly on the needs of the business.
The Benefits of Renting a Forklift
Renting over buying is popular when it comes to large machinery for a number of reasons, with cost being a large factor. Buying a forklift outright would cost you about $30,000 or more. This is why many forklifts are leased or financed. Consider these benefits when renting a forklift.
Seasonal businesses may only need a forklift for a few seasons out of the year, making renting very appealing. There is no need to worry about storage costs during the off-season or the depreciation of an owned forklift.
In addition, renting allows you to try out a forklift model before making a big purchase. If you have a forklift but it is out for repairs, renting another would allow for your operation to run smoothly in the interim. The low commitment is appealing to many small businesses.
Saves Money in Long-Term
With renting, your money is not tied up in a high-cost purchase. If you are only utilizing your forklift a few hours per day, renting is the most cost-effective decision for your business. Hourly or weekly rentals are better for your pocket than a brand-new purchase.
With owning a forklift, you are responsible for all transportation, repairs, and maintenance. Renting takes that weight off of your shoulders. If something goes wrong with a rented forklift, you simply contact the rental company and they take care of the rest.
Cons of Forklift Rental
Although there are tons of benefits of forklift rentals, there are also some cons to consider before committing.
Uncertain Job Length
If you need your forklift for a long time without an end date, it may be better to buy a forklift. If the date fluctuates, you must be sure your rental company can accommodate your timeframe, otherwise, you may be stuck with buying as your only option. Be upfront about your timing with the forklift dealer.
Equipment Can be Customized When Bought
If you are in need of a specific or customized machine, buying may be better than renting. Many forklifts require additional accessories for a range of jobs, which rental companies may not offer. Even if you rent a machine and buy an accessory, you are stuck with that accessory which is rendered useless after returning the forklift.
Tough Jobs Need Tough Machines
The tougher your project, the tougher it may be to find a rental forklift. The largest capacity possible may not be available where you live, so check with all local forklift renters before committing to a large purchase. If your job is an outdoor job, assume that you will need one of the largest available diesel forklifts.
Types of Forklifts
There are two types of forklifts that are available for rent or purchase. One is a rechargeable electric battery and the other requires fuel.
These forklifts are mostly used for indoor purposes. They have smaller lift capacities from 3,000-5,000 pounds, however, some models can lift up to 15,000 pounds. This lower-emission option features a battery as both the power source and counterweight for the machine’s lifting abilities. Electric forklifts are rechargeable, quiet, and stable but cannot be used in the rain, making them optimal for indoors.
Internal Combustion (IC) Forklifts
IC forklifts are heavy-duty machines mostly used for outdoor projects. Their lift capacity ranges from 5,000-35,000 pounds or more. They are powered by diesel fuel, gasoline, or liquid propane, as their engines are similar to that of a car.
Use this forklift for all large outdoor projects. Fuel adds an additional cost when renting this type of forklift.
Why Renting is More Efficient
There are pros and cons to both renting and buying large equipment for your business. Many different factors should influence your decision, so here are the top reasons to rent vs. buy a forklift.
Fewer Upfront Costs
When buying a brand-new forklift, you will need to have the capital at hand upon purchase. With renting instead, you are only paying for the amount of time in which you will use the machine.
This is great for businesses with a low starting income. $5,000 for project use vs. $35,000 for a new forklift is a huge difference, especially for a new business owner.
Rentals are Taxable Income
Equipment rentals can be classified as an operational expense, meaning you will be able to apply that against your taxable income. This is much more simple than owning a depreciating asset at the start of your company’s success.
Lower Maintenance Costs
Likely, the rental company will cover all costs should your forklift break down. After all, a rental fee is going to be cheaper than an out-of-pocket repair cost. However, damage fees may accrue if operators are reckless or if the machine sustains preventable damage.
Rental companies have the capacity to pick up and deliver their forklifts. If your business or operation is spread across multiple locations, transporting the machinery is easier and more affordable when using your rental company’s resources. Otherwise, large machinery transport costs must come out of your company’s pocket.
Rent for Most Current Technology
New technology is released each year with improvements to last year’s model. With renting each season, you are consistently keeping up with current technological advancements in the forklift industry, making your operation more efficient.
Limited Credit is Fine
Especially for businesses just starting out, owners may have limited credit due to early business loans and expenses. Forklift rental companies are happy to rent to anyone, regardless of credit standing, as long as you commit to their fees.
Are You Ready to Rent a Forklift?
Forklift rentals can range in cost depending on exactly what you are using the machinery for. Smaller, battery-powered forklifts tend to be cheaper but can only perform smaller-scale tasks.
The more power you need, the higher the cost of the rental. In contrast, the shorter the rent time, the higher the rental fee for the forklift.
You may also accrue additional charges such as training costs, damage fees, delivery, and pick-up costs, among other charges. Be sure to factor in more money than you think to cover any unexpected fees.
Finally, know the length in which you need the forklift. Base all rental agreements on the most comfortable end date so there are no timing discrepancies later.
In the end, renting a forklift is the most cost-efficient way of obtaining a forklift and completing a heavy-duty project. Save yourself time and money by renting large machinery to complete large work projects. If you prefer buying a Toyota forklift, Nissan Forklift or Hyster check out our buyer’s guide.