Forklift trucks, also known as ‘lift trucks‘ or ‘fork trucks,’ are essential if your business involves lifting pallets in a warehouse, factory, or on a construction site.
The main problem with owning heavy equipment like this is their cost. Luckily, renting a forklift is an ideal alternative if you only need the trucks for a short time.
Forklift rental prices vary with the specifications. But, if you reckon that on average, the daily rental ranges from $150 to $800/day, $350 to $2,500/week, or $1,000 to $5,000/month, you won‘t go far wrong.
Remember, only use these figures as a guideline because the real average cost of renting a forklift depends on factors that we‘ll talk about later on.
Also, there are many confusing online resources you can draw from when discussing forklift truck rentals. In this guide, we condense the information into easily absorbed chunks to guide you when making a decision.
How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Forklift?
The comparison table below gives a quick overview of different capacity forklifts and their respective daily rental rates.
|Forklift Capacity||Size (lbs)||Average Daily Rate|
|Low||3,000 to 5,000||$100 to $200|
|Medium||6,000 to 10,000||£150 to $300|
|Large||10,000 to 30,000||£200 to $700|
Don‘t forget that fork truck rental costs vary throughout the country, so contact us for accurate rates for your forklift hire needs. We can probably offer you a very competitive deal.
Low Capacity Forklifts (3,000-5,000 lbs)
The lower end of this range often uses electricity as a fuel. The rechargeable batteries go on charge every night to be ready for the next shift. In contrast, the upper end of the scale commonly uses LPG or gasoline. Generally, we use forklift trucks of this size range in small factories and warehouses, with smooth floor surfaces. They tend to be the cheapest on the market and, although very useful, are limited in their applications.
Typical forklift rental prices range from:
Medium Capacity Forklifts (6,000-10,000 lbs)
These fork trucks use LPG or diesel as fuel. They don‘t need a battery recharging period, and so you can use them almost continuously. This capacity fork truck has pneumatic tires and can be used outside on soft and muddy surfaces.
Typical rental rates for this size machine range from:
Large Capacity Forklifts (10,000-30,000 lbs)
The fork trucks in this range are some of the largest you on offer today. So, it comes as no surprise that they are also the most expensive to rent.
Generally, these machines exclusively use diesel as a fuel, to be used almost continuously 24/7 if necessary. They come with a range of different wheel sizes and tire types suitable for most terrains.
Typical forklift hire rates for this category range from:
Short-Term Hourly Forklift Rentals
This type of agreement isn‘t very common, and so the rental rates are usually comparatively expensive. Look at the various advertised durations and their rates very carefully, because you might find it cheaper to rent a machine for a day rather than a few hours.
For example, the cost of renting a forklift with 5,000 lbs capacity from some of the leading rental providers might be around $130 for two hours. Whereas, for a few dollars more, you can have it for the entire day. Furthermore, you probably won’t notice much difference between a low and medium capacity machine’s hourly rate, so choose the larger of the two.
Heavy equipment rented by the hour often has large penalty payments if you return the equipment late. So, read the paperwork carefully, and make sure it‘s returned on time.
Usually, you won‘t have possession of an hourly rental machine for long durations. Therefore, providers don‘t expect the machines to have continuous use. And they might use older machines nearing the end-of-life. Therefore, if you decide on an hourly rental, check the fork truck’s bodywork and engine condition before you agree to accept it. Otherwise, you might have additional charges for damage that wasn‘t your fault.
Forklift Rental Cost Factors
Not all forklifts are the same, and their costs vary accordingly. We should now look at the factors that affect your rental plan.
Probably, you already know what type of forklift you need to hire. Maybe, your purchased one needs a service, and you need a replacement, like-for-like for a couple of days. But, if this is the first time you‘ve used one, you need to know the types of job you expect the machine to do before choosing a rental.
There are two basic types of forklifts. All other differences in specifications are variations on these.
- Electrically powered forklifts use rechargeable batteries and are usually designed for indoor use. The majority are of low capacity, from 3,000 to 5,000 lbs; however, some have a significantly larger capacity, typically up to 15,000 to 20,000 lbs. But, at the time of writing, the largest electrically powered forklift made by Raniero has a capacity of 32 tons (about 64,000 lbs).
- Internal combustion forklifts use gasoline, diesel, or LPG. Typically, their capacities range upwards from 5,000 lbs. They are almost exclusively for heavy–duty and outdoor use.
You need to know the approximate length of time you want to hire the machine. This is important because going over your rental term can attract high penalty costs.
3. Reach Height
How high do you want to reach? Are you just carrying pallets from point A to point B at ground level, or do you intend to place the pallet into a tall rack or shelf?
4. Delivery and Pickup Costs
You always pay for delivery. Most providers charge delivery depending on the mileage and size of the load. A typical local transport charge could be around $100 to $150. But if you want the lift truck delivered outside the local area, expect to be charged significantly more.
5. Fuel Costs
Fork trucks use various fuel types; electricity, gasoline, diesel, and LPG. And, each fuel costs different amounts.
Typically, a forklift truck rental provider provides the machine with a full tank of fuel. In addition to the fuel you use during the hire, you should refill the tank before collection at the end of the rental period.
If you don‘t bother refilling the tank, don‘t be surprised when you receive a bill for fuel and labor charges on top of the hire costs.
6. Service Plan
Usually, the rental company covers basic day-to-day breakdowns. However, if you use the machine more than normal, or rent the machine long-term, take out a forklift rental service plan to cover extensive repairs and spare parts. You can either pay a lump sum or a small monthly charge for a service plan.
7. Operator Costs
Unless you have a qualified forklift truck operator as an employee, the rental company usually sends one with the machine and adds the operator‘s costs to the hire charges. But, if you don‘t need their operator, you should have a significant discount. Bear in mind that the operator‘s charges won‘t cover overtime. So, you‘ll have to compensate the operator separately for this. Overtime fees might cost anything from $5 to $30/hour. But, on average, expect to be charged around $15 to $20.
Pros of Renting A Forklift
- Lower upfront costs – Renting a fork truck needs no upfront expense, except for insurance. You can hire just about any expensive equipment you need without spending tens of thousands of dollars to purchase it.
- No long-term commitment – Not only is renting an easy way to use expensive equipment in the short term. It‘s also a great way to “try out” a forklift you might buy.
- Newer models – Renting, as with a lease, allows you to upgrade your forklift for a newer model every few years.
- Saving Money – If you only need a forklift truck for a specific one-off job, it makes sense to keep your company‘s money in the bank and hire someone else‘s machine.
- Better backup – Renting a machine means you have a fairly new model with modern features to make the workplace safe and enjoyable. You also have the added advantage that if the machine breaks down, you won’t be stuck with the problems of having it mended.
Type of Forklift
Firstly, let‘s look at the common denominator between all forklift trucks.
The lifting method incorporates a counterweight system. So, the truck‘s weight counterbalances the load on the forks. Therefore, you often see a fork truck‘s capacity specified in pounds, kilograms, or tons. If you disregard these capacities, you risk causing severe damage to the truck‘s motor and its stability. Trying to lift more than its design specification can result in the machine tipping over and causing injury to the operator.
There are many types of forklift, and each one has been adapted to suit its particular industry:
- Warehouse forklifts are the most recognizable and have many sub-categories.
- Side loaders move sideways between racks.
- Telehandlers have a boom and extendable arm.
- Rough terrain forklifts have heavy–duty pneumatic tires for rough ground.
- Pallet jacks or pump trucks keep their load close to the ground. At the same time, a walking operator steers and controls them. They can be pushed by manpower or with an electric motor.
For a full list of the fork truck categories, look on the OSHA website.
Do you need a license to operate a Forklift?
OSHA requires that forklift truck operators are over 18 years of age and have completed appropriate training and are certified.
To make things easy for employers to know the law, download this OSHA Quick Card.
By now, you are aware that a forklift truck is indispensable in a warehouse and factory environment. However, they don’t come cheap, so it makes sense for companies to rent as many as needed for a safe and efficient workplace.
Generally, the cost of renting depends on the lifting capacity and rental period. But, there comes a time when leasing makes much better economic sense.
If you need to rent or lease a forklift truck, get in touch with us. We have a good range to choose from, and our forklift rental prices won’t break the bank.
Jason is a B2B sales veteran spanning 3 decades and Founder of ApprovedCosts. Jason has scaled sales and marketing teams at a variety of enterprises and is a recognized expert in the field. Jason holds an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business.