Masslift Africa

8 Things You Need to Know Before Renting a Forklift

Below is a guide on how exactly to go about hiring your next forklift.

1. 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 weight. 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 supports that capacity.

2. 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 to. This is very easy; you just determine the height of your tallest rack. So, if you know 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.

3. 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 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 forklift’s nominal capacity. The lifting capacity of a forklift will be affected by the lifting height; the dimensions of the load (with the load length being most important) and the use of any attachments. Contact Masslift for more information on calculating your specific application de-ration.

4. 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:

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

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

4.3 What is the minimum aisle width the forklift will need to be able to right angle stack in?

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

5. 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 require any special forklift attachments or what length forks you need.

6. 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 maximize 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.

7. Understand the Fine Print

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 full maintenance agreement. It is key to understand what your obligations are throughout the maintenance agreement. Making sure your drivers do daily checks is an example of a customer obligation.

8. 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 old machines as possible. And with anything in life, you generally get what you pay for. Make sure you rent a forklift from a reputable company. A few ways you can ensure this is to ask the following questions:

8.1 How long has the company been renting forklifts for and do they have any references?

8.2 What service level agreements do they have in place?

8.3 What rental footprint is available?

8.4 What is the condition and age of the forklifts in their rental fleet?

8.5 How many forklifts are available in their rental fleet?

8.6 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 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 and passionate company, then please contact Masslift today or get a quote online


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