When considering a rental forklift there are many things you must take into account to ensure your rental experience is safe, cost effective, and gets the job done. Here’s  several things to consider:



First, there are many types of rental forklifts available so do your homework and make sure you get a rental unit well suited to your particular job.

  • Electric Rider Forklifts

These are available in both sit down rider and stand up configurations. While Sit-down riders provide operator comfort, stand up trucks are better suited to applications where operators are getting on and off the trucks many times an hour.

  • Narrow Aisle Forklifts

If you’re renting with inside or warehouse work in mind, a Narrow Aisle Truck is the way to go for spaces under ten feet. As always, safety is priority number one. Narrow Aisle Trucks greatly mitigate the risk of injuries to the operator as well as damage to property while working in tight spaces. 

  •  Motorized Hand Forklifts

These are generally operated from a walking position or from a stand up position. These trucks can be set up with work-saver forks which are approximately 9” wide and the trucks only lift pallet a few inches off the ground. These trucks, also, come in configurations with vertical masts with ITA (Industrial Truck Association) carriages for forks which vary in size and length. A typical ITA fork would be 4” or 5” wide and 42” long.

  • Sit-down rider forklifts with internal combustion engines (ICE)

These Lifts come with one of two types of tires: ICE Cushion Tires for indoor concrete surfaces in good condition. ICE Pneumatic Tires are better suited to outdoor applications or indoors where rougher surfaces will be encountered. ICE trucks are available in several fuel types such as LP Gas, Diesel, Gasoline and CNG (Compressed Natural Gas).

  • Vertical Masted Rough Terrain Forklifts

These are best suited to outside applications with rough, uneven or muddy surfaces due to their large high flotation tractor type drive wheels. Where as a Telescoping Boom Lift is best suited to outdoor construction applications where reach is required to place loads on top of structures under construction.

  • Piggy Back Lifts

These Lifts are designed to be able to lock on to the back of large over the road delivery trucks so they may be transported to work sites and then be able to off load product being delivered utilizing side offloading of the delivery truck. Each of these types of lift trucks have many configurations to meet the need of your specific application. You forklift rental supplier and searching the internet can help you narrow down exactly what model best fits your application.


Second, you need to make sure you request a rental unit which has the specifications best suited to the loads you are trying to move. Let’s start with maximum fork height which is critical to getting our work down. You may only need to lift your loads a few inches to allow them to be transported around the warehouse or into a tractor trailer. If you need more lift, make sure you account for “lift off”. In other words if you are unloading pallets from racking and your top beam is at 144” you will need a lift truck that has a maximum fork height of a few inches higher to ensure you will be able to lift pallet above the rack and then remove the pallet from the racks. When masts raise above roughly 170” your rental lift trucks lifting capacity is reduced.

Next, make sure you get a rental truck with enough lifting capacity to lift your loads safely. Trying to lift loads too heavy for your forklift creates a great risk of a tip-over accident, this can also risk damaging product and plant facilities. Fork length is critical. Get the right length fork for the load being raised. You’ll want to have forks that are at least two thirds the length of your load. Also, note that loads longer than 48” will extend your load center  beyond the standard rating of a 24” load center. This is critical because loads longer than 48” will reduce the rated lifting capacity of your rental forklift.

The overall height raised and lowered of your lift truck is important to take into account. Make sure your truck is not to tall to go through plant doors and be mindful of overhead obstructions such as lights and pipes in your facility. We already mentioned two types of tires, Cushion and Pneumatic. Make sure your rental unit has the parts and tires that suit your needs.  Make sure you specify your special needs. Just because a particular tire is standard at your plant does not mean it is a standard for the type of truck you are about to rent.

With that in mind many other features may be common or even required at your work site, but it does not mean it is a manufacturing standard feature. If you need headlights, rear work lights, strobe lights, back up alarms, mirrors, cab with heater, etc., make sure you request these options up front in the rental process so you avoid getting a rental you cannot use and incur additional transportation or other set up charges to correct the situation.


Third, understand what your rental charges will be up front. Of course there will be a rental charge for the use of the truck, battery, charger and attachment. These fees are based on the length of the time you have your rental. Do not forget to call your rental supplier when you are done with the equipment. Even if you specified you would need the rental for a specific amount of time, i.e. 2 days, it is the renters responsibility to make sure the equipment is returned. Charges will continue until the equipment is returned to the rental supplier and the equipment is available to be rented to the next customer.

Fuel Charges will apply if you rent a truck with a full tank of diesel or gasoline or full LP tanks. You can avoid these charges by utilizing your own LP Gas tanks or filling up the fuel tanks prior to returning the rental equipment. Make sure you request an extra filled LP Gas tank so you can switch out the tanks when one runs dry and avoid down time. If you are renting an electric truck, and do not have the time to idle the truck for charging request a second battery. Make sure you have the training and equipment to switch out the battery if you choose this option. If you will be renting a charger with your rental equipment, there are many factors to consider. What power will you be able to supply to the charger? Single phase or three phase? 110 Volts, 220 Volts, or 480 volts? Amp Hour draw to match charger requirements? If the charger needs more draw than your electrical supply can deliver you will be popping circuit breakers and not getting your truck charged.

We recommend multi-chargers for many short term rentals. These chargers may be set to a variety of voltages which makes them ideal for charging different types of trucks. Multi-chargers generally will not be able to put energy back into the battery as fast as a charger made for a specific battery voltage, amp hour rating and cell configuration. In general a multi-charger will take more than 8 hours to fully charge a dead battery. Longer term rental equipment is better addressed with a charger that will need to be wired in at your site by a licensed electrician. Properly sized chargers will general charge a fully discharged battery in 8 hours.

Transportation charges will apply unless you have the ability to transport this heavy equipment yourself. Make sure you ask how the charges will be calculated so there are no surprises later. Delivery truck fuel surcharges are very common today. Ask if these will appear on your rental bill. Environmental recovery fees and other fees may also apply. Ask about these fees and any other fees your supplier may be charging you before you accept your rental.

Drive and operate your rental equipment safely. Avoid additional charges for any damages made or caused by the wrong use of the rental equipment under your care and custody.  When you are finished with the rental it is a good idea to properly clean the forklift. This will prevent unexpected equipment Cleaning Charges. 

As a renter it is your responsibility to make sure you only assign operators you have certified to operate the rental equipment. OSHA requires these operators are properly trained to safely operate the rental equipment. Your rental supplier can provide you with operator training for an additional fee if you require this training for your drivers. Think safety first. We all want every operator and pedestrian to go home healthy at the end of each work day.


Fourth, make sure prior to your rental requirement you set up an Account with your rental supplier. It’s always a good idea to make sure your account is in good standing with an existing supplier. You do not want to have the delivery of your equipment delayed because your account is not in order. If you are using a new rental supplier they will generally need three documents from you: a Completed and Signed credit application, a W-9 form and a current certificate of insurance. The insurance is critical as you will be responsible for the care and custody of the rental equipment while you have it. Long-term rental agreements generally require the insurance certificate to name the supplier as an additional Insured.



Fifth, know your supplier. You don’t want a supplier who does not have the resources to supply you the right rental equipment when you need it. Of course, the more advance notice you can give your rental supplier as to when you need the rental unit delivered and later picked up the better. You want to select a supplier who has the resources to be responsive to your rental needs. Ask potential suppliers what their fleet size is relative to the types of equipment that you will be renting. Ask how this Fleet breaks down between long-term rental units and short-term rental units. Forklifts are generally supplied by full service equipment dealers or by rental houses. While rental houses are focused on renting equipment they excel at having a large quantity of rental equipment and attractive transportation rates. They generally have a more limited range of types of rental equipment.  Equipment dealers generally have a much wider range of rental equipment to meet a broader range of applications. They excel at having the best matched rental equipment for your application. Do some research to find out which suppliers are easier to do business with. You can request references, check Google reviews, look at other website sources such as looking for testimonials on the dealers website.

Make sure you advise your rental supplier of a contact person on site, his/her mobile phone or the mobile phone of the site coordinator. This is especially important if the delivery address is an empty warehouse that will require you to have your site contact meet the delivery truck. This will improve communications and go a long way to ensuring you have a great rental experience.


Finally, make sure you know your application. The more you tell your rental supplier about your application the less likely you are to be disappointed with your choice of rental equipment. Let them know why you are renting the equipment. This might include reasons such as your equipment is down for repairs, you are taking inventory and need additional forklifts, or this is your peak shipping season and you temporarily need additional forklifts. Let your rental supplier know the specifics about site delivery. Will it be unloaded at a dock or you will need direct to ground unloading?

When renting forklifts these points will help ensure your rental experience is safe, cost effective, and gets the job done. 

%s thoughts on "6 Things to Know When Ordering a Rental Forklift"

  • Scott Adams says:

    I like that you mentioned having all the paperwork ready when starting with a new rental supplier. I have been wanting to hire a forklift, but I didn’t know you needed a certificate of insurance. I can see how that would be important for them to have. I’ll make sure to get all the required documents ahead of time. Thanks for the advice!

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  • I like your recommendation to get to know the rental supplier when looking to get a piece of equipment. It makes sense that this is important to ensure you’re able to get the piece you need with the terms that work for your situation. Thanks for the post; this could be very helpful advice whether you need a forklift or some other expensive piece of equipment.

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  • Phillip says:

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  • Dick says:

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  • Thank you for this excellent guide. I enjoyed reading it. There is so much information about renting a forklift.

  • Specifications are something you really can’t afford to ignore when your choosing what kind of lifting equipment you need to rent. Every business has different product that they need to lift and move around and those products are going to have wildly varying weights. Because of that, you need to make sure that the lift equipment you choose can safely handle that weight without tipping over or breaking.

  • I like that you mentioned ensuring you know what the rental charges are up front. Checking for all rental charges up front is something I do not think about. Thanks for sharing!

  • I like your recommendation to simply talk to the renter about what you need the machinery for. It makes sense that if there’s a better machine for the job, a rental company could have access to it allowing you to rent the proper equipment. Thanks for the post; these tips could be helpful for any sort of tractor or equipment rental because you never know if there’s a new machine that could do the job quicker or easier.

  • It’s interesting to learn that when it comes to renting construction equipment that there are some things that need to be considered when choosing the right one. I like how you mentioned that one needs to make sure that they consider the specifications needed to get things done. This is something that I believe that they all need to look into to make sure that they get the right one.

  • I like that you mention how some forklifts work better outside size they have wheels that are more suited to it and have the length to reach the top of structures. Hiring the right equipment for the type of project you are working on would probably be important to ensure that you can get everything done properly without any mistakes or accidents. In order to do this, you’d probably want to figure out what features it needs by looking at the work you want it to do, such as being outside or carrying a certain amount of weight, and then comparing these requirements to the capabilities of each type of forklift or other construction equipment and talking to a professional to make sure you choose the right one.

  • Hi there to all, the contents existing at this web page are in fact
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  • Deb Pearl says:

    I didn’t know that there were so many different types of lift trucks available. My husband and I have some heavy things we really want to move in our yard, and someone suggested getting a forklift for the job. Thank you for mentioning that vertical mastered rough terrain forklifts are best suited for outside applications. We will have to look into those kinds of forklifts.

  • Duncan Lance says:

    This was a fantastic article; after all, if you are planning to rent a forklift for your construction project then there are a lot of factors to consider. It is especially great that you bring up transportation of the forklift. After all, if you’ll need them to deliver it to your site then you’ll need to be prepared to pay for it.

  • Gary Puntman says:

    I might need to hire some construction equipment for big projects next spring. It’s good to know that there are different forklifts to choose from. An electric rider forklift might be a good option for me. It seems like this would be very effective and not hard to use since you can sit down and ride it, like you said.

  • joy butler says:

    Thanks for your advice on how to handle rental equipment. I think that knowing your supplier as mentioned is a great point. I think that it makes you more responsible for your rental and forms a good relationship with those you do rental business with. I will have to be aware of that the next time I need to rent something.

  • Michael Lee says:

    At work, we have a project that will require a forklift. I did not know that there were so many types of forklifts before this article. I know that I need to look for a Komatsu forklift and that is all.

  • teresa says:

    Great Post. I really appreciate. The information is very informative. Thanks for the advice on how to handle rental equipment.

  • Thanks for mentioning that Narrow Aisle Forklifts are useful when dealing with projects that are inside or in a warehouse. My uncle is thinking about working in a warehouse and wanted to know what kind of forklift the company would need to rent in order to efficiently move their supplies. I will let him know that they should look for a Narrow Aisle Forklift to ensure that it fits inside the warehouse.

  • I like how you mentioned checking the specifications needed to get things done. My dad has invested in a few heavy tools for his hardware store. He has been thinking of renting a forklift, but don’t know much about these machines. I will go help him find the one he needs.

  • Ron Booker says:

    I like that you suggested making sure that you rent your equipment with someone that is responsible for all your rental needs. My friend told me that he was going to need to rent a forklift to move some items out of his small warehouse. I’m going to share these tips with him so that he can find what he’s looking for.

  • I like what you said about getting rental equipment that has the right specifications for the loads you’re moving. My boss has been telling me about how he wants to make our warehouse more efficient in the coming year. I’ll share this information with him so that he can look into his options for renting the right equipment.

  • jack stiles says:

    I thought that it was helpful when you suggested to know which equipment a supplier is able to rent out. My boss and I are going to need to get a forklift temporarily while our old one is being repaired, and it will be important for us to know that we could find the right rental company. When we look for one, I will be sure to choose a company that will be able to rent out the type of equipment that we will need.

  • Riley White says:

    Thanks for sharing the informative blog to choose a good quality forklift. It is difficult to choose a highly reliable and experienced forklift brand. Your blog is really helpful for the people who are looking to rent a forklift

  • My mom is planning to excavate the land that she inherited from her parents and put it up for business. Thanks for your tip about asking the rental owner of the unit which has the specifications best suited to the heavy loads that we will move. Moreover, I’m looking for a rental company that offers affordable but quality forklift equipment.

  • Megan Alder says:

    My father told me that he is thinking about renting a forklift because he will need it for a remodeling he’ll do to our house. I like that you said the importance of making sure that you know what type of forklift you will need and for what task. I will make sure that I ask him that information so that I can help him to look for the right construction equipment rental.

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