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:
TYPES OF RENTAL FORKLIFTS
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.
RENTAL EQUIPMENT SPECIFICATIONS
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.
SET UP ACCOUNT WITH RENTAL SUPPLIER
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.
KNOW YOUR RENTAL EQUIPMENT SUPPLIER
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.
KNOW YOUR APPLICATION
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.