8 Things You Need to Know Before Renting a Forklift

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Renting a forklift is a fairly simple exercise. You open up Google, search for “Forklift Hire”, click on a few links and then you contact the companies you like. Seems straightforward, doesn’t it? Well, it is, sort of. However, by following that method you could be losing time and money.

The right way to rent a forklift starts before you have even picked up the phone or searched for anything on Google. We have dealt with thousands of forklift rental customers over the years and have analysed the questions these customers have before and during the rental process. Using this data, we decided to create this guide to help prospective customers like yourself make better and more informed decisions when renting a forklift.

So, read the below guide of how to go about hiring your next forklift.

One: What is the Maximum Weight You Need to Lift?

The first question you need to ask yourself when deciding to rent a forklift is regarding the weight of what you want to pick up. You don’t want to go through all the trouble of renting a forklift only to realise it doesn’t have the ability to lift your cargo. Determine the maximum weight you would need to lift with the forklift and rent a forklift that has that capacity.

Two: What is the Maximum Height You Need to Lift to?

Next you need to figure out how high you will need to lift your cargo. This is very easy, you just determine the height of your tallest rack or where you want to place your cargo. So, if you know that you may need to store cargo on that 8m high rack in the corner of your warehouse then you know your rental forklift would need to have the ability to lift to just above 8m high. Ideally add 150mm to your top beam height to account for the pallet.

Three: What is the Maximum Height You Would Need to Lift the Maximum Weight to?

This is where it may get tricky. Even though a forklift can have a capacity of 2.5 Tons and a lift height of 5m, you may not be able to lift all of 2.5 Tons to a height of 5m. This is where de-ration comes into play. De-ration or “de-rating” is a term used to describe the decrease in a forklifts nominal capacity as it lifts higher. It consists of the lift height, load centre and the attachments. Contact Masslift for more information on calculating de-ration.

Four: What Environment Will the Forklift be Used In?

The environment in which you will be operating the forklift dictates the type of forklift you will need to rent. For example, diesel forklifts aren’t a good fit for indoor applications where food is being produced due to the emitted fumes.

Below are four important questions to ask about your environment:

-Will you be using the forklift indoors, outdoors or both? This will assist in deciding if you need to rent a diesel, petrol / LPG or electric forklift.

-What type of surface will the forklift be used on?

-What is the minimum aisle width the forklift will need to be able to manoeuvre through?

-Are there any height restrictions when entering or exiting the facility?

Five: What Type of Cargo Will You be Lifting?

How is your cargo packaged? What type of pallets are used? Is your cargo wrapped or uniquely shaped? These questions will give your forklift rental supplier an idea about whether you may need any special forklift attachments or what length forks you may require.

Six: When and For How Long Will You Need to Rent a Forklift For?

Determine when (the preferred date) and for how long you would need to hire a forklift. To maximise the value of your forklift rental and reduce the monthly charge, it helps to rent for longer periods. Keep in mind that if you are a new customer that it would take up to a week to get approved for a rental contract.

Seven: Understand the Fine Print in Your Forklift Rental Contract

Always make sure you understand the rental contract. Ask your forklift rental supplier to explain the contract to you. Ensure you understand who is responsible for the cost the insurance of the rented forklift and the transportation of the forklift to your site as examples. Other areas to confirm is what does your maintenance plan include and exclude. As an example, wear and tear items such as tyres are generally excluded from a rental.

Eight: Know the Company You are Hiring Your Forklift From

Before you go searching for forklift rental quotes you need to know how to properly vet a company. There are tons of fly-by-night middle men or small businesses that focus on renting out as many cheap machines as possible. And with anything in life you generally pay for what you get. Make sure you rent a forklift from a reputable company.

A few ways you can ensure this is to:

  1. Find out for how long the company has been renting forklifts?
  2. What service level agreements do they have in place?
  3. What rental footprint is available?
  4. What is the condition and age of the forklifts in their rental fleet?
  5. How many forklifts are available in their rental fleet?
  6. What questions do they ask you when you enquire about renting a forklift?


Renting a forklift has many benefits over purchasing one. By following this simple guide, you will be sure to always get the best forklift for the job at the right price.

If you are looking to hire a reliable forklift from a dependable company then please contact Masslift today or get a quote online.