Skip to the main content.
Warehouse Automation
Dock & Door Solutions

3 min read

Top 4 Reasons to Rent Vs. Buy a Forklift

Top 4 Reasons to Rent Vs. Buy a Forklift

Top 4 Reasons to Rent a Forklift You May Not Have Considered

Many people think the only reason to rent a forklift is to meet a temporary need. For example:

  • There’s a seasonal spike in business or a one-off job
  • A forklift that hasn’t been maintained properly has a major breakdown

The examples above are the most common, but there are other reasons to rent a forklift. A short or medium-term forklift rental can make your business more profitable in the long run.

Top 4 Reasons to Rent a Forklift You May Not Have Considered

#1 Avoid Buyer’s Remorse
Renting gives you enough time to thoroughly evaluate a piece of equipment before you spend many thousands of dollars. Is it the right capacity? Does new technology significantly improve productivity? Do operators show up early so they can call dibs on the new rental forklift or (to use a sports analogy) is it the last one picked for the team? 

Many buyers are too quick to commit. This is risky, especially if you’re buying something for a specific job. Renting allows you to make an informed buying decision and avoid spending hard-earned money on equipment that rarely gets used.

#2  Conserve Capital  
This second reason may seem strange because renting equipment long-term is more expensive than buying or leasing. The key word here is long-term.

Many experienced managers are surprised when we show them a comparison of the monthly cost to rent versus owning a forklift. 

When you rent a forklift, you get everything for a predictable monthly rate. There are no surprise expenses.

  • Maintenance and service is included
  • There are no insurance or licensing fees
  • You don’t have to pay for service maintenance

A forklift rental also gives you the flexibility to cut costs during slow periods. Why make monthly payments on equipment you’re not using?  Would you pay a warehouse associate to stand around and do nothing? No, you’d send them home.

Take a Decision-Making Shortcut
There’s a magic number that can help you quickly decide whether to buy or rent a forklift: the utilization ratio. Generally speaking, if the equipment will get used at least 60% of the time (24 hours in a 40 hour work week), it makes sense to buy. If the utilization rate is less than 60%, renting may save you money. 

We can help you calculate your utilization rate and compare financing options.
Contact a forklift expert at The Lilly Company online or by phone at 800-238-3006.

#3 Lower Upfront Cost, No Capital Financing
Renting allows businesses with limited credit or cash reserves to get the equipment they need. A forklift rental is also better for your balance sheet because it’s considered an expense, not a liability.

A used forklift may be the best option if your utilization rate is more than 60% (see “Take a Decision-Making Shortcut” above). Check out our article about How to Buy a Like-New Used Forklift.

#4 Get the Equipment You Need, Where and When You Need It
The Lilly Company has a massive rental fleet. Whatever you need, forklifts, aerial lifts, yard trucks, we probably have it. If we don’t, we’ll get it for you. 

We also deliver, which saves you the time and expense of moving equipment from one job site to another. Need to exchange equipment?  No problem. The equipment comes to you when and where you need it.

When to Buy Instead of Rent a Forklift

  • If your operation has a steady stream of business with minimal seasonal fluctuations, buying a forklift makes sense. That said, adding a forklift service plan can help you avoid surprise expenses and increase the forklift’s resale value.

  • Another reason to buy instead of rent: a rugged work environment. When you rent, you’re responsible for the cost to repair dings, scrapes or other damage to the forklift. If you own the forklift, you can let it get a little ugly.

  • Lastly, if you have a small team of operators who switch equipment throughout the day, keeping the same forklift can help them stay productive. Every time you bring in a new machine, the learning curve will cause a temporary slow down in efficiency.

Think of the last time you borrowed a friend’s truck or drove a rental car. You have to adjust the mirrors, figure out how the cruise control works, and where’s the darn button to open the gas tank door? Material handling equipment operators have the same issues with new equipment.

Forklift and Material Handling Equipment Rental in The Mid-South 

The Lilly Company has a massive forklift rental inventory including:

  • 3000-5000 lb. electric, LP gas or diesel forklifts for warehousing or outdoor use
  • 6,000 lb. (up to 40,000 lb.) high-capacity forklifts
  • Forklift attachments

Our rental fleet includes other material handling equipment including aerial lifts, yard trucks and more. Rent by the day, week or month and get your equipment delivered fast. 

The Lilly Company is an authorized forklift dealer for Toyota, Clark, Linde and Komatsu with used and new forklifts for sale in the Mid-South. Our experienced and friendly forklift experts will take the time to get to know your business and help you choose the right option.

Contact us online or by phone at 844-LILLYCO, with any questions you have. Or visit us at one of our 13 locations across the Mid-South.

Arkansas - Jonesboro
Alabama - Birmingham, Dothan, Irondale, Madison, Mobile, and Montgomery
Mississippi - Tupelo, and Richland
Tennessee - Jackson, Kingsport, Knoxville, and Memphis

Further Reading:
How to Buy a Like-New Used Forklift
We Rent It All, Even Heavy-Duty, High-Capacity Forklifts
5 Signs It’s Time to Update Your Forklift Fleet

Forklift rental equipment